Ramps are useful for getting a variety of heavy items up to an elevated surface. A basic ramp can be built to meet a variety of slope requirements. When building a ramp, it is important to consider how much weight the ramp will be required to support and to build accordingly. It is advisable to build a longer ramp with a smaller elevation increase for heavier items.
Determine the slope needed for the ramp. A general rule for ramps is that for every inch of ramp elevation, one foot of ramp length is needed. So if the ramp needs to go up 12 inches, it needs to be 12 feet long. The example of a 12-foot ramp will be used for the purpose of this article.
Build the base of the ramp from 2 x 4s. Cut four pieces of 2 x 4 to a length of 36 inches. These pieces will be the cross beam for the ramp.
Attach the first cross beam to the end of a 12-foot piece of 2 x 4 on either end. Use 3-inch wood screws to secure the cross beam. Repeat this step with a cross beam at the other end of the 12 foot pieces of 2 x 4. The rectangular foundation of the ramp is now built.
Measure six feet from one end of the ramp base and insert another 36-inch cross beam between the side pieces of the ramp. Secure into place with wood screws. Measure six feet from this cross beam and install the last cross beam.
Measure and cut two 2 x 4 pieces of wood 14 inches long and place at the corners of one end of the ramp. Secure these pieces into place with wood screws through the standing 2 x 4 and into the side of the ramp foundation. This will be the top end of the ramp.
Measure two feet from these boards and mark with a pencil on both sides of the ramp. Continue to measure and mark two-foot intervals along the length of the ramp.
Cut two pieces of 2 x 4 that are 12 inches long. Attach these boards on either side of the ramp foundation at the marks made. Cut two pieces of 2 x 4 that are 10 inches long, two pieces that are eight inches long, two pieces that are six inches long, and two pieces that are four inches long. Attach the 2 x 4 pieces in the order of longest to shortest at the two-foot marks. Use wood screws to secure the side pieces to the foundation of the ramp.
Attach a 12-foot piece of 2 x 4 with wood screws to both of the long sides of the ramp. Take care to make sure the top edge of the 2 x 4 stays flush with the top of the ramp supports so that the angle of the ramp is maintained.
Cut 3/4-inch plywood to 3 feet x 12 feet and lay it across the top of the ramp. Secure the plywood in place with wood screws that are inserted through the top of the plywood and into the side of the ramp frame. Extend the plywood if necessary so that the end of the plywood touches the ground to allow for a smooth transition onto the ramp.