Trying to build a dog ramp leading to window. Several questions.

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Old 08-04-16, 11:31 AM
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Trying to build a dog ramp leading to window. Several questions.

Hello! Sorry in advance for this being so long. I've got no one around me who I can talk to so I'm running through everything on here, trying to make sure I don't fail on my project. I'm so glad a forum like this exists so I have somewhere to turn.

Okay, this project will probably seem weird. In a nutshell: Soon going on vacation, need to separate one of my dogs from the others, trying to save money (boarding her would be about $440), plus trying to reduce stress on her by keeping her home. So I put a doggy door in my window and then I'll have a ramp leading up to it, then another ramp outside leading down into a chainlink kennel run. That way she'll have access to outside, yet separated from all my other dogs, and also access to inside to escape the summer heat.

2 quick notes:
1. I actually don't know what I'm doing, pretty much just winging it.
2. The only power tools I own are a circular saw, a jig saw, a power drill, and a small Black & Decker mouse sander.

My project seems to confuse people, so here's basically what I'm doing.
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Then on the outside of the house will be a duplicate ramp leading down from the window.

I'll be attaching slats across the 12x6 board in 12" increments to give her, my dog, something to grip onto. I'm planning on adhering the slats to the board with wood glue. Then, from underneath, driving a set of screws through to better secure the slats. Does that sound good so far?


Now about attaching the supports... I've cut a 2x4 to make 2 long legs to attach to the highest point of the board on either side.
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Do I drive the screws from the top of the ramp down into the 2x4? Or is there a way to drive the screws in from the bottom/side to keep the cleaner look? (Btw, must I make pilot holes or can I simply drive the screws directly into the wood?) Could I or *should* I drive the screws in at an angle instead? I saw one person on YouTube using a Kreg Jig K5 Master Sustem with Pocket Hole Screw Kit. Which I thought was super neat! But then I saw the price. I mean, I *could* get that but it's not ideal for right before the road trip.

Those last few questions also apply to the other supports I'm trying to make. All together I think I'm going to have:
2 long legs running from top of ramp to floor
1 small piece of 2x4 connecting the legs in the middle for support
On either side, 2x4 running from bottom of leg to bottom of ramp

Does that sound sufficient?

I'd also like to add another piece of 2x4 infrot of the ramp at the bottom (on the "outside") that is longer than the width of the board for a little bit of extra stability. Meaning the board is 12" wide and the 2x4 piece would jut out on either side about 4" or so. ...Would maybe also add pieces in the back, onto the legs, to create "feet" for extra support there as well. I'm trying to make sure the ramp won't tip over and fall while she's using it.

Other things I've notice that need to be addressed:
I need the ramp(s) to be protected from weather, especially the one that will be outside. I have no idea if the wood is already treated. I didn't learn about that until just now. I'll swing by Lowes and ask them, but not really wanting to buy all new lumber. Before I knew that, I was already planning on staining the wood and then using a sealer. Um, does it matter what kind of stain I use or am I just picking whatever color I like? Silly question, I know, I'm sorry. I've never bought stain before so I didn't know if it mattered. And then of course I see that there are plenty of sealers to choose from. Crud. Any guidance there? On the board, I noticed some significant knot holes in the wood. One of which, the knot hole creates a small opening thought the entire board. Along with that, I've noticed some splits in the wood. All of those obviously won't be able to be sanded out. Do I need to do something about the deep knots and/or the splits in order to or before applying the stain/sealant?

...I think that's all. I appreciate any and all help!
 
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Old 08-04-16, 12:30 PM
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1. Slats can work but the dog's foot tends to slip until it hits the slat. For a small dog 12" is a long way to slide. Stapling old carpet or a towel can give them a good grip.

2. Just run your screws down through your top horizontal (angled walk board) board. Pilot drilling will help prevent splitting. And, if you cover the top with something non slip it will conceal the screws.

3. Bracing is hard to describe. Basically do whatever it takes to make it sturdy. You should not be able to push it over or slide the ramp around. An easy brace to prevent your ramp from falling over would be a scrap of plywood about 4' wide screwed to your vertical 2x4 but diagonal bracing can be used.

4. Unless you are going to be gone for a year I wouldn't worry if the wood is treated or not. Even untreated wood will survive for a year in the weather. You may want to build a small roof or cover over the window and doggie door to prevent wind driven rain from getting into the house.
 
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Old 08-04-16, 12:47 PM
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How high off the ground will this be? I'm thinking about whether you should have some kind of railing.
 
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Old 08-04-16, 12:48 PM
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I know you already have the materials and are cost conscious but have you considered premade doggie steps? Some would look nice inside and some would hold up okay out side though you would want to anchor them outside to prevent theft. https://www.google.com/search?as_st=...IZWUvI8S2GM%3A

Remember no particle board outside but something like this which apears to be plastic should be okay. http://www.petsmart.com/dog/ramps-st...pfm%3Dcategory
 

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Old 08-04-16, 01:49 PM
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Seems a little narrow. How big is the dog? Have you tried to have the dog walk on a board this narrow?
 
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Old 08-04-16, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

The window is 3.5' high from the floor. Just a little higher off the ground on the outside. Saphira is a 45lb dog. I haven't had her walk the board to the window yet but we've played around with the dogs and she has (as well as my other dogs) walked on the board just fine. (They're all between 45lbs - 55lbs.) The "dog walk" in Dog Agility is just as wide as the board I'm using - and the dog walk is 4' high off the ground. So I feel the width is fine. Here is Saphira on the dog walk in the agility practice field.
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The premade doggy steps wouldn't be tall enough to reach my window.

The dog kennel fits under the overhang of the roof of the house. The dog kennel rests about 3 inches from the house. Not really a lot of room to work with building a roof or cover. I'm only going to be gone for 2 weeks but I wanted it to last so I could use it anytime I have to leave my dogs with a sitter. (It'll be stored in the garage while not in use.) That's why I was going to stain it and seal it. I didn't think about stapling towels on it. It's been raining a lot and it seems like the towels would hold moister to it though.
 
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Old 08-04-16, 05:14 PM
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They make non skid additives for paint. Example: Seal-Krete 3.2 oz. Clear Grip - Anti-Skid Additive-402002 - The Home Depot I believe clean sand is also sometimes used.
 
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Old 08-04-16, 05:46 PM
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I also would focus on steps and modifying it as needed to get correct height. JUST my .02 cts.
Anyway for grip you could use rubber, outdoor carpet (like astro-turf and such), or you could also use an additive of sand (very fine) and after you stain or paint sprinkle some on the surface. I believe they sell a specific product that can get mixed in with solution. I remember using it when I made some dock ramps many moons ago.
But the best solution would be a very good product called "Anti-Slip tape" that has a sand like grip on the top side! That seems like it would be the easiest solution! Though a bit pricey?
Anti-Slip Tape - 4" x 60', Black S-7188 - Uline
Good Luck! Have a good vacation!
Let us know how you make out!
 
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Old 08-05-16, 08:25 AM
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What is the surface of the dog walk in the picture? Looks like vinyl? Padded? Why not use the same material?
 
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Old 08-05-16, 08:46 AM
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The dog might be agile but you're not going to be there if something goes wrong so I would build a little more safety into it - either quite a bit wider or some kind of railing system.
 
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Old 08-05-16, 09:01 AM
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Just out of curiosity, how do make sure that your dog is the only animal using the ramp and door to get into the house?

- Peter
 
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Old 08-05-16, 10:27 AM
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You put a sign over it that says "dogs only". LOL

I'm still chuckling cuz I have this picture in my mind of the dog going up this thing with one paw holding onto the railing... sorry stickshift, I have a weird sense of humor. LOL
 
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Old 08-05-16, 10:27 AM
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Other animals are a huge issue at my house. We have an electronic door that locks and the cat wears an RFID chip on her collar that unlocks the door.

---
The funny thing is our cat figured out that she can unlock her door while carrying a "toy" (squirrel, rabbit, mouse, bird, vole...) in her mouth so she can bring it inside to play with.
 
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Old 08-05-16, 10:56 AM
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Stickshift - I guess that's a valid point. I'll keep that in consideration.

Xsleeper - 😂

pjaffe - I don't really have any issues with other wild animals, nor neighbor's cats. I already have a doggy door installed in the back door and have never had any animals, other than my own, use it. I have a lot of animals, so that may be why the wild ones stay away. Out of the 21 years I've lived here, in my yard I have found 1 raccoon, 1 opossum, 1 snapping turtle (no idea how he got there!), and a couple of rabbits. And of my own cats, only the few that are allowed to go outside know how to use the doggy door. Both doggy doors lead to the backyard, just one of them will lead into a chainlink dog run.
 
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Old 08-05-16, 11:30 AM
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Yah, I can see how you got there, Brant

Railing, wall, just something to keep the poor guy from falling off.
 
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Old 08-06-16, 09:48 AM
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Well, I ended up going a different route. With all the concern here, I started to doubt if the ramp would be okay. Honestly, I didn't want to spend anymore money due to the road trip and also because next month another dog of mine will be having an expensive surgery to repair his vision (he has advanced cataracts in both eyes and is only 5 years old).

I started to wonder if I could build staires with the wood I just bought and some plywood pieces that I already had. I was looking on YouTube to learn different methods of building stairs, hoping to come up with an idea. But I'm at my deadline and was stressing out about not having enough time left.

Standing outside, staring at the kennel, I knew I needed something that would withhold against rain, as it's been raining nearly everyday, plus something that would still be stable on wet ground. Then I looked over at the cinder blocks I had used to make a garden. I originally bought those and made a raised bed for a vegetable garden. After a year I read that that was a bad idea because of what could leach into the food. After that I was going to make a sitting garden with flowers (the bricks were aranged in a "U" shape) for my Mom, who lived with me. But then my Mom unexpectantly passed away in Feburary of 2015. I've been to depressed to do anything with it since then.

So I unearthed the cinder blocks and made steps in the kennel to the window. Then I decided why not use the bricks inside as well. Definitely not pretty, far from creative, but a simple solution. The board width measures to 11" (btw, why is it called a 12x12 if it's actually only 11" wide??) and the cinder block width measures to 15.5". So Saphira has a bit more room. Still no railings though. She'll be fine though. The blocks are stacked solid and stable. My dogs have been up and down them like it's a game. And I've been up and down them several times.

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I still really appreciate all the suggestions! Sorry I ended up not getting crafty with the wood, kinda bummed about that. Thank you, Biketrax, for wishing me a good vacation! I'm excited! I'll be leaving Arkansas to Tennessee, then to Virgina, then to Pennsylvania, and then to New York (upstate) where I'll spend the rest of my vacation - then a straight shot from NY back to AR.
 
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Old 08-06-16, 11:10 AM
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I like your solution. Simple and economical. When you get back from your trip you can take everything down and don't have to find someplace to store a ramp. It is funny though that you built the steps for your dogs and I only see a cat using them in your photo.
 
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Old 08-06-16, 11:13 AM
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I almost suggested steps of stacked concrete blocks but after you rejected my dogie stair idea I figured you were locked into a ramp. Very nice job, Even better than I imagined. I like that you alternated the direction of the blocks to help lock them in place. Good thinking.
 
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Old 08-06-16, 01:08 PM
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Pilot Dane - Lol, yeah Siearra (the cat) loved it right away. If you look closely at the picture in the previous post, you can see Toehuntai, one of my dogs, coming down the steps. Here's Toehuntai at the top. Not sure why this site keeps rotating my pictures.
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I always take several shots and the dogs were in a couple of them. I just happened to share the pics that happened to have the cat on it. Here's another one with Kyshawn.
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Ray 2047 - I wasn't trying to totally reject your idea. The only thing I was thinking about were the premade steps. And all that I could find were way too short. The cinder blocks didn't cross my mind until I was standing near them. They were part of an abandoned project so they were out-of-mind. I actually first just stacked them in all one direction. Then noticed they were wobbly and knew that wasn't going to work. Walking back down, one even rolled on me - no worries, I caught myself, I didn't get hurt. I was almost anticipating it to do something like that. That's when I tried alternating them and found out that was way more solid and locked in. Rookie learning curve, lol.
 
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