Storage shed ramps are a part of life that people don’t think about until they need to use them. Kind of like a toilet but not quite as serious. Not being able to use the toilet results in certain catastrophic implications whereas not being able to use a shed ramp means rolling your lawn mower into the garage where its biggest crime will be to compete with the car for valuable storage space.
Shed ramps are built by running boards on edge from the shed wall under the door, down to the ground. These boards are called stringers. I don’t know why they are called stringers, they just are. I know string is not very strong, surely not strong enough to hold a lawn mower, so it does not come from string. But when you put a board on its edge and use it to support a ramp or stairs, it’s called a stringer. Anyways, after running the stringers from the shed floor level to the ground level and then putting deck boards on them you will have a shed ramp. It’s that simple. The only hard part is figuring out the shed ramp slope and the resulting cuts on the wood stringers.
A good shed ramp has the perfect slope. Not so steep that you need to check and see if you are pushing the lawnmower up a cliff and not so shallow that it sticks out into the yard far enough to set up lawn chairs and have a barbecue on. The perfect slope is about 3 inches of rise for every foot of run. What this means is that a shed floor that is 12 inches from the ground would have a ramp that is 4 feet long. Of course this slope is purely personal. I have had good luck with it and so I am preaching it as the “law of the shed ramp slope”. So after you get the slope of your shed ramp determined you can then start to figure out how to cut all those angles to get the ramp’s stringers to sit flat on the ground and to get the upper end of the stringers to sit flush against the shed wall.
The trick to getting these cuts right is to have someone else do the math for you and then use their knowledge to build your ramp. Using a chart that has all the ramp slopes figured out is one of the simplest ways to get a perfectly sloping shed ram. You simply figure out your floor to ground height and then follow the diagram to learn the lengths of the stringer cuts. Then mark the cuts on your 2×6 board and cut away.
After you have cut out the first stringer you need to test it by setting it up against the shed wall and checking the cuts to see if they lay flat on the ground and against the shed wall. Remember to make sure that the ground where the shed ramp stringer touches the ground is flat and level, otherwise the ramp will not sit flat on the ground. Once you are happy with the first ramp stringer you will take it and trace its outline on the other stringer boards and then cut those out.
Once the ramp stringers are cut out you are ready to screw them to the ledger board that will hold the stringers to the wall of the shed. They are screwed together before attaching the whole thing to the shed wall so that the connection between the ledger and stringers is stronger than if you screwed them to the ledger after attaching the ledger to the shed wall. Once the ledger and stringers are screwed together you are ready to use 3″ long lag screws to screw the ledger board to the shed wall. Use 1 lag screw about every 12 inches and start them 4 inches from the end of the ledger. This will give you 4 bolts in a 4′ wide shed ramp.
The final step is to attach the deck boards. I would recommend using the 2×6 lumber for the deck boards, just like a deck in the yard. Simply attach them to the stringers using 2 – 3 inch long screws at each stringer. The decking boards should be spaced with at least 1/8″ space between the boards so water can run off the ramp and also so the boards can expand and contract with the weather.
When the deck boards are all installed you are ready to use the new shed ramp. As simple as it is there is a certain satisfaction of rolling your lawn mower up a ramp that you built. I would recommend only testing the ramp a few times because taking the lawn mower in and out of the shed more than 4 times in one day constitutes the need for a bathroom break.