Your home needs many adjustments if it's to become easily accessible to a family member who is confined to a wheelchair, and the transition begins at your curb. Maneuvering a wheelchair up and down a curb that lacks a concrete ramp is nearly impossible for someone who's new to having limited mobility, but you can make the adjustment much easier by calling in a specialist in concrete cutting to shave down the curb in front of your home.
Do I need a Concrete Cutter or a Contractor?
Because of their formidable weight, large pieces of concrete must be cut or broken up into smaller pieces before they can be removed and hauled away. If the concrete is being demolished entirely, a contractor might use a jack hammer or similar tool, but if only a portion of the concrete needs to be removed -- or if it needs to be cut into a different shape -- you need the specialized services of a concrete cutter.
A concrete cutter uses a heavy-duty pneumatic saw with a special blade to cut this porous material. The saw itself may be a handheld or a walk-behind version, and the blade is often made of diamond or another abrasive material. In the case of curb-cutting, the concrete can be cut on an angle and formed into a ramp.
While your local contractor may be knowledgeable in the special skills it takes to cut a curb, there's a chance he or she may not. In this situation, it's best to trust the job to someone who is specially trained for this exact situation.
How Long Does It Take to Cut a Curb?
Permit approval for a curb cut typically takes a minimum of 10 days, according to the Trans and Works Dept of Mississauga. Once the permits have been obtained, the curb that borders a residential home can usually be cut and shaped in a single day. Using specialized equipment that cuts or "shaves" the existing concrete at a horizontal angle, your concrete cutter can fashion two styles of ramps.
- Smooth surface
In most instances, a grooved ramp is preferable, because it provides traction under wet conditions. The horizontal grooves in concrete also serve as a safety feature for the blind, alerting them that the curb is about to transition into the street. It will cost a bit more to have your curb grooved, but if you're concerned about either of these circumstances, the investment is worth the extra time and trouble.
What Does it Cost to Have a Curb Cut?
Curb cut costs vary according to region. In Mississauga, for instance, a homeowner is required to obtain a permit from the city before a curb can be cut. Once approved, you'll be charged a curb fee of $58 per meter of curb that's being cut. These fees are in addition to the cost of hiring your concrete cutter.
Once the work has been completed, you may be required to have it inspected and signed off by the city. And if the work performed doesn't meet the local codes, or if you fail to obtain the proper permits beforehand, you could face hefty fines.
Check with your city's zoning department to find out the procedure for filing for a curb cut and to get an idea of what it costs in your area.
Contracting with a concrete cutter to have the curb in front of your home shaved down to accommodate your wheelchair-bound loved one can be a somewhat lengthy process because of the permits involved, but the investment in time and money is necessary to make your home more handicap-accessible.
For more information on concrete cutting in Edmonton and other areas, contact a professional service.