Rocks under wooden shed ramp?

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-11-15, 12:02 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Rocks under wooden shed ramp?

I was hoping I could get some feedback on whether my idea makes sense.

I have a wooden shed ramp that is not attached to my shed. It's pressure treated 2x6 planks nailed to triangular wooden supports. It's a very solid ramp that I use to drive my lawn tractor in and out of the shed as well as my snow blower.

I originally dug a 2 inch deep trench under each support and placed bricks in each trench so that the ramp supports would not be laying directly on the soil. The problem I am having is that every winter when the ground freezes, the soil heaves up and the ramp rises about 4 inches, preventing me from opening the shed doors.

My idea for this spring is to outline the footprint of the ramp, dig down a few inches and remove the soil from where the ramp would sit and then put down a layer a few inches deep of some type of gravel or stone which the ramp would rest on. Would this solve the problem or would the stone and the ramp all heave up together next winter?

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-11-15, 12:32 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
Your heaves come from moisture in the soil freezing and expanding. Correct the drainage problem and you correct the heaving. This is why footers need to be dug so deep in your neck of the woods to get below the freeze line to negate the frost heaves. I'm afraid you idea will do little more than give you a good workout.
 
  #3  
Old 02-11-15, 12:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Czizzi....thanks for the response!

The area where my shed is is totally flat, so I'm not sure what I could do to correct the drainage. Do you have any ideas for a solution? The ramp is fairly heavy, so having to lift it completely out of the way every time I need to open the shed doors is really a pain in the neck.
 
  #4  
Old 02-11-15, 02:06 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
It may better help the community if we had a picture of what you currently are dealing with. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rt-images.html

Is the ramp not fastened to the shed for a reason? Seems to me the shed should heave as well, unless it has proper footings that extend down past the frost line. Bolting the ramp to the shed may stabilize it so the back end doesn't lift.
 
  #5  
Old 02-12-15, 07:52 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I can't get a picture right now because the ramp is covered with a foot of snow, but I'm attaching two pictures I found online that are almost identical to what I have.Name:  FJU1HSAGDM786BE.MEDIUM.jpg
Views: 13650
Size:  33.4 KB
Name:  ramp.jpg
Views: 18749
Size:  19.6 KB

The ramp only pic is exactly the same ramp I have.

I got the ramp after the shed which is why it's not fastened. The shed itself rests on a bed of white marble chips. I'm not sure how deep the bed is as it was there before I bought the house 10 years ago. The shed is only 3 years old as it replaced a shed that got crushed by a falling tree. If the shed itself is heaving, I've never noticed it. It stays perfectly level.
 
  #6  
Old 02-13-15, 04:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 1,334
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
2" deep in ny ? a couple more inches might help,,, NOT ! your frost depth could be 4' or 1' so a couple inches is about a waste - same w/rocks ( marble chips ) you must be in the city
 
  #7  
Old 02-13-15, 04:43 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
No one would dig below the frost line for a shed ramp. I think the gravel will help substantially.

This is the same principal behind laying pavers. You have compacted gravel or DG, above that you have sand. This does a lot for any drainage and reduces heaving. I would dig at least 8" and have 6" of compacted DG.

My area is notorious for ground heaving (not because of earthquakes), bricks can be laid that last for decades or centuries provided there is a proper base.
 
  #8  
Old 02-20-15, 08:01 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
stadry.....I'm assuming the "2"deep in NY" that you're referring to is what I said in the original post. That trench with bricks was strictly to keep the ramp supports from laying directly on the soil to keep them from rotting away as quickly. I wasn't even thinking about frost heaves when I did that. I'm thinking that another advantage of having the ramp on gravel would be that it would do what the bricks do as far as keeping the ramp from direct contact with the soil. And I live far North of the city in a rural area, small town (population 2,350). No city guy here lol.

Handyone....Thanks for the info. At the risk of sounding dumb, what is DG? My thinking is that if I do have gravel under the ramp and the ground starts heaving up, I can shift some of the gravel around to get the ramp lower and then smooth it out again in spring.
 
  #9  
Old 02-20-15, 08:23 AM
Handyone's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Decomposed Granite.

The farther you dig down, the better, but I don't think it needs to be to the frost line.
If nothing else, the stone will help in drainage and prevent some heaving if not cure it.

That's my theory, I've been wrong before. It does work on pavers in unstable ground.
 
  #10  
Old 02-20-15, 09:37 AM
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,196
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Decomposed granite would not be my first choice for a base material. It will continue to decompose over time, and under the right (wrong?) conditions can eventually turn into mush. At least that's been my experience with the stuff in the Rocky and/or Sangre de Cristo Mountain regions of the country. For the OP's ramp, it would be better to use something a bit more durable, like washed limestone, marble or even basalt. Installing a bed (or 2 single rows of it) at least 4" thick would do a lot to minimize frost heave. I suspect there's already a thick-enough base of something that allows water to drain under the shed, which is why it doesn't appreciably heave like the ramp is doing.
 
  #11  
Old 02-20-15, 09:47 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 750
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If the land is a flat as you say, I dont think stone will do a great deal to stop the heaving since the water will still have nowhere to drain to. If it were me, I would attach the ramp to the shed so they will both move with the frost at the same rate. You might have the adjust the bottom of the ramp every spring, but at least you will still be able to get your doors open and use the ramp as intended.
 
  #12  
Old 02-20-15, 12:21 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There you go. It helps to have some others thinking on this.
Bridgeman and Keith both have good ideas.
How about combine them?
Stone under ramp, at least the ground level (front) portion.
Attach ramp to shed using some type of heavy duty hinges.
Reconfigure ramp sides to eliminate any contact between ramp and ground except at very front.
 
  #13  
Old 02-23-15, 09:06 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for your input everyone!

My original thought with the stone base was something like pea gravel or marble chips (which I believe are similar to the washed limestone that BridgeMan45 mentioned). I figured the pea gravel would be easy to level out and if one side of the ramp heaves more than the other, I can easily move some pea gravel around.

As far as attaching the ramp to the shed, I'm worried that if the ramp heaves but the shed doesn't, than I'll end up damaging the ramp or the shed doors as the ramp rises. As in the photo below, the ramp is right underneath the doors when it's up against the shed. I'm not sure how deep the marble chip base is under the shed (was there when I bought the house), but just from eyeballing it, it doesn't appear to move at all.
 
  #14  
Old 02-23-15, 09:17 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 750
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If you attach the ramp to the floor structure under the doors of the shed, and take away any supports under the ramp where it is attached, there will be no risk of damage. If the shed moves, the top of the ramp will move with it, if the bottom of the ramp moves, it is not going to affect the top of the ramp. This is really your only option unless you want to dig below frost.
 
  #15  
Old 02-23-15, 01:14 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
Agree that if you attach the ramp to the shed, remove all support from under the ramp except that which would guide the leading edge of the ramp. That way, there is nothing under the majority of the ramp and therefore it is not affected by heave. The only portion that would or could heave is the very front of the ramp. If that is the case, then use a hinged attachment for connecting the ramp to the shed Should the front of the ramp heave, it will simply pivot on the shed.
 
  #16  
Old 02-24-15, 11:12 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm a bit confused. The boards that make up the ramp are nailed into the supports (my ramp is identical to the ramp in the photo). If I took away the supports, I'd be left with nothing but loose boards, unless I'm totally misunderstanding what you're both saying (which, of course is very likely lol).
 
  #17  
Old 02-24-15, 11:31 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 750
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I see what you are saying. your ramp is designed to sit on the ground without anything under it. What you need to do is redesign it so it is a flat shape instead of a wedge shape, then attach one end to your shed and the other floats on the ground.

Best way to do this is run 3 or 4 2x4 from the shed to the ground, like floor joists, and then cover them with your boards. You will want to dig a trench for your 2x4 to sit in at the ground so the top of them is flush. This is where your stone will help slow down any rot. The length of the 2x4 depends on how long (steap) you want the ramp to be. You can probably re-use most of the material in your current ramp to do it.

Alternately, You can remove about 6 inches of dirt from under the ramp at the doors now, and attach it, this way the frost cant heave the ramp, or you can just spin your current ramp around 180 degrees, attach the bottom (now the top) to the shed, and dig the other and into the ground do it is flush.

No matter how you do it, the key is to have the ramp attached to the shed so frost will move them both at the same time.

I honestly think you could get away with just attaching it to the shed the way it is and you wouldn't have any issues. Just remove any supports you have under it, as they are probably causing more harm than good.
 
  #18  
Old 02-24-15, 12:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I get what you're saying. I'll have to look into that when all of our snow finally melts. Attaching it may be the way to go. I think czizzi had a good idea about using hinges too.

Thanks again!!
 
  #19  
Old 02-24-15, 01:19 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
The only place the ramp touches the ground it at the extreme front. Everything else floats. THe back is supported by the shed. Bury a 6x6 or 4x6 horizontal in the ground and attach the leading edge of the ramp to it. You can have that setting on some rocks if you like or dig a footer to the frost depth for the front of the ramp and never heave again.

Once the snow melts, send us a picture of the underbelly of the ramp so we can get a better look.
 
  #20  
Old 02-25-15, 11:58 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
czizzi.....I found this drawing online showing a ramp (from underneath) that's constructed exactly like mine. The only difference is that my ramp isn't as wide and has only has 2 supports in the middle.Name:  shed-ramp-bottom.jpg
Views: 8485
Size:  18.8 KB
 
  #21  
Old 02-25-15, 12:04 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 750
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How far is your shed off the ground, from ground to underside of floor joists?
 
  #22  
Old 02-25-15, 02:09 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
You'll want to set your support back toward the shed a little and let the thin point cantilever over it to the ground level. Concerns are that there is not enough material thickness at the leading edge to carry the full load.
 
  #23  
Old 02-25-15, 02:47 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My idea (I think we are all on the same page), is to eliminate the tapered supports under the ramp.
No ground contact except for leading edge, as others have stated.
Leading edge can be 4x4 (flat) resting on stone. Ramp can be strengthened by adding 2x lumber under top layer 2x's and perpendicular to them.
Shed end of ramp can be attached with hinged mechanism or drift pins.
I think a double layer of 2x lumber will support a lawn tractor or other heavy objects.

Edit: Did I just repeat everything Czizzi said
 
  #24  
Old 02-25-15, 04:39 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
LOL , Brian

Edit: Did I just repeat everything Czizzi said
Great minds think alike.
 
  #25  
Old 02-26-15, 10:01 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Keith.....I would estimate about 6" from ground to underside of floor joists. Got about 20" of snow covering all around the shed so can't get an exact measurement now.

Czizzi & Handyone.....I get now what type of ramp you're talking about. That's a pretty good idea that I hadn't thought about. You're plans would require me to build a new ramp, which isn't too difficult, but I'd unfortunately have to deconstruct or get rid of my current ramp for which I paid a decent amount of money. The inconvenience of the yearly frost heave is enough that it would be worthwhile to lose the money I paid for the ramp and build a new one, but I'm wondering what you would do if you had the same issue as me but wanted to try to use the existing ramp as is?

Thanks!!
 
  #26  
Old 02-26-15, 04:29 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
JeffB777 - you do not have to build or buy a new ramp. Just change how you anchor the current one. The wood is very thin near the front of the ramp, so I suggest that you move the support back until you have sufficient wood to support the whole ramp. Kind of like this simple sketch I worked up.

Name:  ramp.jpg
Views: 4792
Size:  11.0 KB

Dig to the frost depth (3ft) set concrete pillars, lay 4x6 or 6x6 across and set the ramp on it. It floats everywhere else. You attach the other to the shed either by bolts or hinge and be done with it.

Does that make sense?
 
  #27  
Old 03-03-15, 08:43 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi czizzi. Thank you for that drawing! That makes it totally clear what your idea is. Having the front of the ramp rest on footings that are set below the frost line would certainly solve the problem.
I've never worked with concrete before. Home Depot rents 1 man augers with an 8 inch diameter. I'm thinking I could just rent that and buy some 8 inch round concrete forms and a small bag of Sakrete concrete mix. Does that sound like the correct way to do this?
 
  #28  
Old 03-03-15, 03:17 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
That will work, make sure that the tubes fit into the holes the auger will dig.

Then work on the math - how deep is the pour to fill the tubes, make them level, make the cross beam be both level and at ground level. At the correct distance from the shed. How do you anchor the cross member to the piers - All the fun stuff that goes into a simple project.

Bag(s) of sakrete, wheel barrow, garden hose, a hoe, and a shovel will be all you need for the mixing part.

Search through this catalog to find an anchoring system for you cross member to tie it into your pier. The box stores carry many popular ones, you can special order others if you like them better. Simpson Strong-TieĀ®
 
  #29  
Old 03-03-15, 06:11 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 750
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I personally think that is overkill for a shed that is not also supported below the frost line. Normally there is never an issue with the lower end of a ramp due to frost heave.

I still think your best solution it to attach the ramp to the building and let the other end free float on the ground.
 
  #30  
Old 03-03-15, 06:24 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
Obviously he has an issue Keith, or he wouldn't have come here for a solution.

the soil heaves up and the ramp rises about 4 inches, preventing me from opening the shed doors.
And the shed doesn't heave on the same soil. He doesn't know how the shed is anchored. But logic says it must be in some way. He also has not provided any pictures of his shed as his is buried under snow right now. His ramp pictures were also representative. A opinion is not a solution.
 
  #31  
Old 03-03-15, 06:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 750
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The shed itself rests on a bed of white marble chips

I have never seen a garden shed that sits on footings below frost.. 99% of them are sitting on deck blocks or patio stones. I have no doubt the frost is moving the shed as well as the ramp, but the weight of the shed helps it settle back down more than the ramp, leaving the ramp high in the spring.

The solution is to attach the ramp to the shed and float the other end.
 
  #32  
Old 03-03-15, 06:42 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Guys, This is not rocket science. We're not building a skyscraper. I said the same thing as Keith in my post #12.
- Stone under ramp, at least the ground level (front) portion.
- Attach ramp to shed using some type of heavy duty hinges.
- Reconfigure ramp sides to eliminate any contact between ramp and ground except at very front.

This is about as simple as it gets.
The shed is stable. The ramp is heaving. If you eliminate ground contact except at very front, the ramp will simply pivot.

2x lumber is more than enough to drive a lawn tractor over it. If there's concern, double it up by securing cross members.
 
  #33  
Old 03-04-15, 03:52 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,376
Received 9 Votes on 7 Posts
Well there you have it Jeff - The scientists and (apparently) the rocket scientists - LOL. Two differing but similar thoughts on how to proceed.

I personally have never used either paving stone or deck blocks as a foundation. Nor have I dumped a bunch of marble chips and called it a finished substrate. For example, the shed I built that sits just in my yard, 10'x12' sits on 12 concrete piers dug to frost depth with 2 additional piers for the steps. All decks I build sit on double poured footers/piers and the stairs on those decks have their own footings/piers as well. So from my perspective, digging a couple of holes is a natural thing.

Then again, I am in a hurricane zone so overbuilding is a good thing.

Fortunately for you, you have a couple of months to think about it before the snow melts.

Unfortunately, you are going to have to wait for a year before you can test whatever theory you choose to follow.
 
  #34  
Old 03-04-15, 09:08 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Wow.....Lot's of differing opinions on this. I appreciate everyone taking the time to weigh in.

I don't know if this will help with the discussion, but while going through my phone to delete some old pictures this morning, I found a pic of my shed that I took after it was delivered. You can see the marble chips that it sits on. This was before I got the ramp. The ramp is now located on the double door end.

Name:  IMAG0139.jpg
Views: 4866
Size:  49.2 KB
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: