Most sheds raise at least few inches above the outdoor grade level. This is especially true for sheds with wooden floor and wooden foundation. This is where shed ramps come in place. You probably have no problems to step inside the shed anyway. But moving heavy outdoor equipment like lawn mowers, bicycles etc, in and out quickly becomes pain without a ramp. Another reason to install a ramp comes the ground around the shed slopes.
Requirements for your shed ramp
Shed ramps are simple constructions. They only need to satisfy some basic requirements:
- To be robust enough to sustain the weight of the equipment you will move in the shed and out of it.
- Not to slip. This is very important. A slippery ramp may cause you fall down with a lawn mover and get severely injured. There are several ways to prevent slippery surface depending on the ramp type (read about them below).
- Not too steep. The most common ratio of outdoor shed ramps is 1 inch rise per 8" length (source. If your ramp is too steep it will make it hard to wheel heaving tools in the shed.
You have the choice to build your shed ramps yourself or simply to buy ready one and place it there. This also depends on the shed ramp type. Let's explore the most common ones:
Shed Ramp Types
If you are lazy like me you might want to just place a couple of planks to use for a shed ramp. I wouldn't really call this ramp although it does the work sometimes. The planks must be very robust. And it's not easy to drive in a lawn mower on such so called ramp. This works as a quick fix only. For something more sustainable consider a wooden, metal or concrete shed ramp.
Metal Shed Ramp
They are made of steel or aluminum. The most robust shed ramps are made of steel and can sustain very heavy load. Due to the curved ends these ramps can be shorter and steeper and save space. Aluminum ramps are lighter but not as robust as steel ones. Both types have holes in them to give grip and avoid slip.
Typically you would buy these shed ramps from the store unless you are experienced in working with metals. They can be quite expensive though, sometimes exceeding 1/3 of the entire shed price.
Concrete Shed Ramp
Their main advantage is long life and durability. If you don't plan to move your shed ever you can consider building such one. The main problem with concrete ramps is once it's there you can't move it. And breaking concrete isn't easy thing to do either.
Building such a ramp is also not a simple thing. You need a well constructed timber mold to pour concrete in it and then to flatten it following the slope. At the bottom ground it's recommended to place compacted stone.
Wooden Shed Ramp
They are everyone's favorite. Cheap and easy to make, easy to detach and move, and easy to fit any ground surface. Of course this convenience has its price. Wooden shed ramps sustain less weight and quickly rot especially if not treated. Their surface becomes slippery when wet so you'll need to figure out some real rubber covering to avoid this.
If you are a DIY shed builder wooden ramp is the choice for sure.
How To Build a Shed Ramp
Don't rush it. First go to the drawing board or load the drawing program on your computer. Figure out the shape and the steepness according to the ground slope, the space you have and how high is your shed off the ground.
The top of the shed ramp should be made of hard-pressed planks or exterior grade plywood. Place 5-6 triangular supports from pressure treated timber under the top surface. Cross braces may be added to ensure the supports stability.
To avoid the ramp getting slippery in wet conditions you need some covering. The best covering is of real rubber. Don't neglect this.
Finally if the ground under the ramp is soft, you'll need some flooring made of gravel and/or concrete like shown here.
Here is an excellent diagram showing you how to add a ramp to your shed in great detail.