Installing a shed ramp provides an incline that makes it easier to get equipment like lawnmowers in and out of your shed.
Building a shed ramp prevents injuries and damage that can occur when lifting heavy objects down from a shed floor that is too high off the ground.
Selecting the Right Location
When deciding where to build your shed ramp, consider how you will be accessing the shed most often. The ramp should lead directly to the shed’s entrance door for convenient access.
Make sure the location you choose allows enough space for the ramp itself plus any landings. The landing is the flat space at the top and bottom of the ramp. These provide a transition space between the incline and the shed floor or ground.
Consider which way the shed door opens. Allow clearance so the door does not hit the ramp when opened.
Choosing the Correct Size
Measure the rise, the vertical distance between the ground and the shed floor. The shed ramp length depends on the rise.
As a general rule, make the ramp at least 1 foot long for every inch of rise. For example, if your shed floor is 24 inches off the ground, you’ll need a ramp at least 24 feet long. This maintains a gentle incline that is easy to use.
The width of your DIY shed ramp should match the shed entrance, generally 3 to 4 feet wide. This provides adequate space for moving equipment in and out.
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Calculating the Slope
The slope, or angle, of the ramp greatly impacts how easy it is to use. A gentle slope is ideal so the incline is not too steep.
As a guideline, the ramp slope should not exceed 1:12. This means that for every 12 inches along the length of the ramp, the height increases no more than 1 inch.
For a 24-inch rise, a 1:12 slope would require a ramp at least 24 feet long (24 x 12 = 288 inches). Longer ramps make the slope more gradual.
Selecting Durable Materials
Pressure-treated lumber is a good DIY choice for building a shed ramp with a solid, long-lasting surface. Use 2×6 or 2×8 boards to construct the framing and deck boards.
For ramps longer than 8 feet, you may need support posts beneath the ramp. Install posts every 6 to 8 feet along the ramp length to prevent sagging.
Outdoor-rated plywood at least 3/4-inch thick also works for decking a DIY shed ramp. Coat all wood with water-sealer or exterior paint.
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Building a Secure Frame
Construct a sturdy frame to support the full weight of any equipment using the ramp without flexing. Follow these steps:
- Cut two side beams from 2×6 lumber to the total ramp length.
- Cut several evenly spaced crossbeams extending between the side beams.
- Attach the crossbeams using exterior wood screws or galvanized nails.
- Add diagonal crossbracing between the beams for reinforcement.
Installing Deck Boards
With the ramp frame complete, attach deck boards across the top using galvanized screws. Follow these tips:
- Space deck boards no more than 1/4 inch apart for a smooth surface.
- Stagger the end joints between alternating deck boards.
- Use at least three screws across the width of each deck board.
- Bevel the lead edges of the boards for a tapered transition.
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Adding Railings for Safety
It’s important to install secure ramp railings on both sides for safety and stability when moving up or down the slope. Here are a few railing guidelines:
- Use pressure-treated 4×4 posts for railing supports, sunk into the ground.
- Set posts 3 to 4 feet apart along the full ramp length.
- Run a 2×4 handrail along the top of the posts at 34 to 38 inches high.
- Add a second 2×4 mid-rail halfway between the handrail and ramp.
Proper railings provide an important handhold for maintaining balance on the ramp.
Creating a Gradual Slope
One technique to create a longer, more gradual shed ramp slope is to build two connecting ramp sections. Build one section from the ground to a 4-foot high intermediate landing. Build a second ramp section from the landing up to the shed floor.
The landing splits the total rise into two shorter ramps. This allows you to use an optimal 1:12 slope on both ramp sections.
Adding Non-Slip Surfaces
It’s important to create a non-slip ramp surface for safe footing, especially when transporting heavy loads. Here are some options:
- Attach grit tape strips across each ramp board. The grit provides traction.
- Coat ramp boards with exterior non-slip paint for durability.
- Attach thin battens across boards to create gaps for drainage.
- Lay rubber mats or outdoor carpet over the wood surface.
Proper drainage and materials that prevent slipping reduce the risk of injuries when navigating your shed ramp.
Installing a well-built shed ramp provides easy, safe access for moving equipment and items in and out of your storage shed.
Paying attention to the ramp location, size, materials, and safety features ensures your DIY ramp will provide years of problem-free use.
In conclusion, constructing a well-designed shed ramp is a crucial addition to any shed. It ensures safe and convenient access for moving heavy equipment and prevents potential injuries.
By carefully considering factors like location, size, slope, materials, and safety features, you can create a durable and reliable ramp that will serve you effectively for years to come.
Don’t overlook the importance of non-slip surfaces and sturdy railings to enhance safety. With attention to detail, your DIY shed ramp will be a valuable asset to your storage space.