Introduction: Shed Ramp
My garage was starting to get cramped so I decided I needed a shed for the lawn/garden equipment. I thought about building one but bailed and decided to purchase a 10’ x 14’ shed with 6’ wide doors from the nearby Amish community. To not be a total slacker, I decided I could at least build the foundation and ramp. This instructable covers the ramp I built for the 14” height from the ground to the shed floor. I’ve never built a ramp so I did a little research online and found that there are an abundance of styles, both good and bad. Anyway, this is my attempt at ramp design. Hope someone finds it useful.
Video of it in use:
Step 1: Tools/Materials
- Miter or Table Saw
- Hand Saw
- Drill / Bits
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Chalk Line Tool
- Tape Measure
- Level (4’ long)
- PT 2x6 by 8 feet long (x18) *
- PT 2x8 by 8 feet long *
- Deck Screws (3” long)
*Verify the Pressure Treated wood is acceptable for in ground contact (UC4A, UC4B or UC4C)
Step 2: Planning
What is the purpose of the ramp? Is this a ramp to walk up to the shed or a ramp to drive heavy equipment such as a motorcycle or lawn mower? For me, I needed something sturdy enough for a large lawn mower and an adequate angle to clear the mower deck. Since the shed took 6 weeks to be delivered, I started by roughing out a design. Once the shed was delivered, I fine-tuned the layout after the final height was measured. I suggest you wait until your shed is at the final position before building the ramp.
Step 3: Foundation
This type of shed has pressure treated skids that can theoretically sit on the ground. Some people will say this is perfectly fine while most recommend against it. The main reasons are support (level ground) and drainage. I had an 8 inch slope across the shed front (side-to-side) that needed to be fixed to order to have a level shed. I could have stacked blocks on the low side and placed one side of the shed on the high side of the ground. However, I thought it might be a challenge to get support under the middle of the shed using this method.
I decided to take the more elaborate approach and built a frame made from PT 6x6s around the shed. The layout consisted of 16’ long 6x6s for the front and rear and 10’ long 6x6s for the sides. I doubled up the low 10’ side (total height 8”) while placing the other side close to ground level. Everything was tied together with lag bolts and #3 rebar. Holes were drilled through each 6x6 at 3' to 4' spacing and the rebar was hammered through the 6x6s into the ground for extra stability.
Once the frame was finished, 4 cubic yards of gravel (crush and run) was added. The gravel was smoothed out until I had totally level surface for placement.
Step 4: Shed Placement
The shed was delivered and centered on the gravel across the front and pulled within a ½” of the front 6x6.
Step 5: Angle
The angle of the ramp is important and the key decision you must make. Slopes can get slippery if you have northern exposure since algae and moss tend to grow in this condition. Another consideration is the winter months with snow and ice for those that want to store a snow blower. This is important for both a walk ramp and equipment ramp; but if you plan to drive equipment, the ramp slope/angle really matters. The minimum recommended ramp incline is 1” of rise to 4” of run. You will see published ratios from 1:4 to 1:8. I’ve shown these ratios along with the calculated ramp angle. I’ve also included a table for various heights. You can calculate than angle directly using Tan (Angle) = Opposite/Adjacent. Note that I used 1:5.4 ratio (last picture).
Step 6: Strength
I didn’t run through other configurations but I did run hand calculations on this design. The four 2x6s joists are more than adequate to carry the weight of the lawnmower and rider. For the ramp deck, the span between the joists is 22” (20.7" clear) which again is more than adequate considering that the deck treads are made from 2x6s. I would reduce the joist spacing (more boards) if you go with a sheet of plywood for the top.
Step 7: Foundation, Shed and Ramp
You will be building to these drawings. I've included the CAD model images of the ramp and installation. Everything is color coded for reference.
Step 8: Shed Basics
My shed is constructed as shown. The shed floor joists are attached onto the 4x4 skids. The skids are shown sitting on the gravel base as described above. The shed floor is attached to the joists at each joist location. The shed doors overlap the front for weather protection.
Step 9: Ledger Board
The first step is to attach the ledger board to the front of the shed. Make sure to leave enough room under the door for clearance. The recommended distance is between 3/8" and 1/2". Note the rise between the top of the ledger board and the floor. The larger you make the gap, the larger the bump at the end of the ramp.
Step 10: Ledger Board Attachment
I cut down a 2x8 to meet the 3/8" gap. The board rests on the 6x6 and is attached to the shed with 3" deck screws.
Step 11: Joist Support
You have a few options on how to tie the ramp joists to the ledger. One option is to buy angled joist hangers. These cost ~ $7 each and could definitely save you some time. I couldn't fit them in because of interference with the 6x6 frame so I decided to notch the joist rails. I saved about $30 but spent an extra hour cutting notches.
Step 12: Ramp Joist
I used 4 joists for the ramp spaced at 22" (20.67" clear) apart. This allows for 2" of outside overhang for the deck slats. From my earlier calculations, I determined that I needed a 10.5 degree angle (90+10.5 = 100.5 degrees) to hit ground with a 6 foot long ramp. For each joist, I cut the angle then the measured off the distance and cut the notch to rest on the 6x6. Since I had to do this 4 times, I made a template out of scrap wood. I used a hand saw to make this cut.
Step 13: Dig
We (actually my son) dug out the dirt for the joists and end piece. Note that the wood will be in ground. Verify the wood you purchase is acceptable for in ground contact (UC4A-UC4C)
Step 14: Level Check
This was an iterative process to get the ramp totally level. Run a board across the top and place a level on the board. Adjust the hole depth until the angle is correct between the shed and joist.
Step 15: Add End Piece
I pulled the boards out of the holes to add the board to the end. I pre-drilled the holes and then used deck screws for the attachment.
Step 16: Another Level Check
I placed the assembly back in the hole and did a final fit check.
Step 17: Joist Attachment
I used a pocket-hole jig to drill holes through each joist.
Step 18: Joist Attachment
Screws were used to make the attachment.
Step 19: Joist Attached
Step 20: Back Fill the Holes
Use the dirt you dug out to fill the area around the joists.
Step 21: Slats
Cut the 2x6s to the desired width - 72" for me.
Step 22: Add Slats
Do a fit check before screwing the boards to the joist. Note the wet PT wood shrinks as it drys. This length worked out perfectly for me but I expect gaps between the boards after it dries. I used a chalk line tool to mark the joist locations.
Step 23: Screw Slats to Deck
I pre-drilled holes and then added 2 deck screws at every joist location.
Step 24: Final Slat
This is an optional step but I wanted a flush ramp. Therefore, I used a table saw to cut the same 10.5 degree angle on the last board.
Step 25: Done
Step 26: Cleaned Up
Step 27: Detailed Views
Step 28: Conclusion
It cost ~ $100 and as you can see in the video, the mower clears fine. Thank you for reading this far.
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Please be positive and constructive.
Do you feel you have stronger support by notching the joists vs using the joist hangers?
I think either way is fine. My gut feeling is that the notches are better in the vertical direction (more important) but the hangers would provide better side-to-side stability.
Hi! First off, awesome job and great job with the plans! I may have overlooked it, but how did you determine the measurements for the "notches" for the ramp joists?
Thanks. The length of the notch was arbitrary. The angle (100.5 degrees) was calculated as shown in step 5. I practiced on a scrap piece of wood and did a fit check. After that, I copied the notch onto the others boards and made the cuts.