How to Build a Wooden Ramp for a Shed
Most American homeowners mow and care for their own lawns. This necessitates a wealth of lawn-care equipment, such as lawnmowers, weed eaters, wheelbarrows and miscellaneous hand tools. Traditionally, these are stored in a shed near or attached to the back of the home.
Such sheds are either prefabricated or assembled on site. They're waterproof and keep your outdoor tools safe from the elements. You'll find that the lips of these sheds are rarely level with the ground. It's no great hassle to carry in the hand tools you use, but there's no chance you'd be able to carry in bigger machines like riding lawn mowers. They’re just too heavy. That's why many people have a shed ramp. You could pay a carpenter several hundred dollars to build and install one for you, but why spend the money when you can build your own easily and on a shoestring budget? This guide will explain how to make a quality wooden shed ramp quickly and affordably.
Things You Will Need
- Wood drill bits
- Metal drill bits
- Through bolts
- Two-inch nails
- Circular Saw
- Two wrenches
- One treated-lumber 2X4
- Multiple treated-lumber 4X4's
- Sheet of 3/4" plywood.
- Tape measure
- Wood pencil
- Asphalt shingles (optional)
Use the drill to bore holes into the lip of the shed, about 1" below the door. You'll need to use a specialized drill bit to get through the shed wall if it's made of metal. Three holes equidistant from each other should be sufficient. These holes should be only slightly smaller in diameter than the through bolts you'll be using.
Cut the 2X4 to be as long as the shed's lip is wide. Line up and mark the holes from the shed onto the 2X4 with a wood pencil. Bore holes into the 2X4 of a slightly smaller diameter than the through bolts you have.
Line up the lip of the shed and the 2X4 and attach the two with the through bolts. Use your wrenches to make sure the bolts are as tight as you can get them.
Gather your circular saw, tape measure and your 4X4s. You'll need one 4X4 for every 2' width of the shed's lip, but you should use at least two. The length of your 4X4s is determined by how high off the ground the lip of the shed is. The 4X4s should be at least 1' long for every 3" that the lip of the shed is off the ground. If the ramp is too steep, your heavy equipment won't be able to get enough traction, and will either slip down or tumble off.
When you've cut the 4X4s to length, lay them on the lip of the shed and mark the spots where the other ends touch the ground. Dig a small trench, the full width of the lip of the shed, where the 4X4s will touch the ground. This will help to anchor the finished ramp in place and keep it from slipping away from the shed when under a heavy load. The 4X4s will only embed themselves in the ground more solidly as time goes by.
Using the circular saw, cut one end of each of the 4X4s at a 45-degree angle, so that, instead of a flat end, you have diagonal ones.
Lay the pointed ends of the 4X4s horizontal to the ground. Use your tape measure and pencil to measure 2" back and 1/2" inch down from the long tip of each 4X4. Mark this point and draw a vertical line down, as well as a horizontal line back to the slanted end of the wood. Cut along these lines with your circular saw. This has effectively notched the ends of the 4X4s so they will fit easily over the top of the 2X4 that you have anchored to the shed.
Place each notched length of wood over the anchored 2X4 and drive a few nails into each to hold them together. The other ends of the 4X4s should fit snugly into the ditch you've dug.
Lay your plywood over the 4X4s and mark their dimensions on the plywood with a pencil.
With your circular saw, follow the lines you've marked in the plywood.
Nail the fitted pieced of plywood into place. Your nails should form nice, orderly rows that travel down the length of each 4X4 stud under the plywood. You should now have a practical and very effective shed ramp. You also have the opportunity to take things a step further and increase the traction on the ramp by tacking a series of asphalt shingles in rows along the plywood surface. This is entirely optional.
Once your ramp is complete, you may want to seal the wood against the damp, mildew and mold.
Be careful when working with power tools.
John Albers has been a freelance writer since 2007. He's successfully published articles in the "American Psychological Association Journal" and online at Garden Guides, Title Goes Here, Mindflights Magazine and many others. He's currently expanding into creative writing and quickly gaining ground. John holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Central Florida in English literature and psychology.