Concrete ramps are a solid and nearly indestructible, practically impossible to steal or destroy. They provide assistance for handicapped individuals to access buildings. They are stronger than wood ramps, and can be cheaper to build if you consider the costs for labour and repairs over the life of the ramp. To build one, you need to excavate the ground, build a form and pour a lot of concrete.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Plastic, fibreglass or wood form material
- Concrete mixer
- String markers
- 2 x 4 boards
- Nails and screws
- Power driver
Excavate the ground where the concrete ramp will be built. Dig about four inches into the ground and heavily tamp down the dirt until you have a consistent, solid surface to pour the concrete on.
Mark the top, platform and grade of the concrete ramp using string markers and spray paint.
Layer the ramp foundation with sand or gravel, tamping it down and keeping it level. You can also add a sub-layer of bricks and wire mesh. For larger ramps, this is recommended.
Build your side forms for the concrete ramp. Cut the forms from plywood at least 1/2-inch thick using your exact ramp dimensions. You will need a form for both sides, as well as the rear and the top of the ramp.
Dig deep holes (1 to 3 feet deep) for bracing just outside the string markers to hold your forms in place. Insert the braces into the ground using a rubber mallet to pound them securely into the dirt. Use concrete or gravel to support the braces. They will bear a lot of weight, so be sure they are sturdy.
Slide your forms inside the bracing and securely fasten them using nails or screws. Then get ready to cut and install the forms for the top, which will form the concrete into a grade.
Nail a block of wood a half inch above the top edge of the form on each brace post, where the ramp meets the ground. Then slide your top ramp form (which will form the tip of the ramp) under the block of wood. Secure the other end of this topside form under the next brace up the ramp, and then use a cross brace to secure it to the side forms.
Slowly pour the concrete into the form, watching for cracks in your form or bulges that indicate the form structure is too weak.
Let the concrete dry, then remove your forms and perform any necessary repairs and treading.
Tips and warnings
- For larger ramps, you will need to divide the forms so you are not pouring tons of concrete at once. Use isolation joints of felt or rubber and wood to separate sections of the ramp, then pour the concrete into one section, let dry and pour into the other.
- Working with concrete can be very rewarding or very frustrating. Using the proper materials and higher quality concrete helps to alleviate a lot of headaches.
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