How to Build a Ramp

Ramps are convenient, inclined access points connecting one end of structure to another. They are especially useful in public places such as sidewalks and beside short flights of stairs for those needing to get from point A to B on wheels. Ramps can be made out of a variety of materials, and is usually made to fit cohesively with its surroundings.

Materials

  • Pressure treated wood
  • Posts
  • Pre fabricated railings
  • Cement blocks
  • Galvanised nails
  • Screws
  • Cross joists
  • Bolts
  • Concrete mix
  • Sona Tube

Tools

  • Hammer
  • Shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Screw drivers
  • Saw
  • Paper
  • Pencil

Instructions

  1. Design the layout for your ramp; keep in mind that there are no specific dimensions for a ramp, as it can have any degree of slope or inclination. However, if making a ramp for people to cross from one location to another, take disabled persons into account when making note of the dimensions.
  2. Ensure ramp area is cleared and level. Pour cement mixture over the area and level it off. Wait approximately 24 hours for it to dry completely before continuing.
  3. Create the footing for the ramp from either cement blocks, wood or bricks. Following your dimensions and design, cut and saw them appropriately. Ensure footings are placed at a minimum of five feet apart, regardless of the length of your ramp.
  4. If cement was poured on the area as stated in step two, hold each post or footing in place with cement anchors. However, if no cement was poured on the ground, dig a hole a few inches deep and place the footing into it.
  5. Put posts at turnarounds or curves. For added support, place a Sona Tube in the support hole and pour mixed cement into it.
  6. Install cross joists onto each post before fitting the deck.
  7. Use pressure treated wood to create the deck a few inches thick to withstand heavy weights. Place galvanised nails between the board pieces and utilise the necessary screws and bolts to fit them securely together.
  8. If appropriate, add railings for extra support following your area’s safety codes regarding them. Pre fabricated railings are available commercially, and you can also make them yourself with pressure treated wood.
  9. Install prefabricated railings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For wood railings make it yourself, use bolts and screws to fit them into place.
  10. Paint or stain the completed ramp to your liking and allow to dry before putting it to use.

Tips and warnings

  • There are certain principles that must be considered when building a ramp, regardless of how simple the process appears to be. Keeping these principles in mind will make the difference between a well made and poorly made ramp.
  • Railings are essential if the platform is high and the ramp will be used by people, especially disabled persons. If your ramp has a 180º turn, pay extra attention to the dimensions of your design.
  • Use your drawing as a reference while working on the physical structure of your ramp. This will help you focus on cutting and shaping curves and transitions accurately.
  • Wear protective gear when cutting wood, to prevent injuries.
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