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Question on Strength of Rigid Insulation


samdapug's Avatar
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03-14-14, 10:12 AM   #1  
Question on Strength of Rigid Insulation

This is probably WAY off the usual subject, but I don't know where else to ask it. I have 2 20 pound dogs, one with severe joint problems. Vet recommends a ramp. They are way too expensive for my budget and the plans I have found call for plywood, which would be too heavy for me to move. (OK, I'm officially old). I was looking at rigid insulation at my local home depot, and thought it might have possibilities but I am not sure it would support the dogs' weight. I think even this old lady could probably build a ramp with that stuff. Any help would be sincerely appreciated.

 
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03-14-14, 11:39 AM   #2  
Rigid foam can be surprisingly strong depending on how you build your ramp, and I think that will be your problem. Wood can be easily glued, screwed and nailed. Joining pieces of foam strongly gets more technical. Another issue would be the dogs claws, which might dig into the foam eventually wearing it out. I think by the time you buy the foam (about $35 for a 2" thick sheet), tools ($10) and epoxy ($30) to make a decent ramp of foam you'd actually be cheaper spending $70-$80 on a proper doggie ramp.

If you feel creative and want to give it a try be careful which glues you use. Most water based glues will not stick and most solvent based glues will eat the foam. Epoxies work well but are expensive and more difficult to work with. There is glue available in caulking tubes expressly for gluing foam and plastic panels that would work well, or you could try industrial double sided tape.

 
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03-14-14, 12:22 PM   #3  
Thank you for the advice. Home depot has the 2 x4 x 8 sheets for 20.00 and the adhesive for around 3.75. I think I have some old floor mats left over from a collision repair shop we used to have. I can use that on the top to protect the foam and give the dogs some traction. And I think I saw some contact paper at the $ store that I could cover the sides with. So all in all, probably worth the experiment. Or I'll have to keep lifting her, and 20 pounds isn't much but pugs are built solidly and she's like a little tank. Thank you again for taking the time to answer. (Oh, and tools my husband has PLENTY of).

 
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03-15-14, 07:22 AM   #4  
What is the ramp for ?

 
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03-15-14, 09:50 AM   #5  
So the dog can get off and on the couch or the bed without jumping (too much stress on her joints). And without me dropping everything to lift her. (As we stand now, she will howl until I come move her).

 
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03-15-14, 11:33 AM   #6  
Why not a single 1x12 board? Should be light enough to be easily moved. I don't think you will get reasonable durability from the rigid foam.

 
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03-15-14, 12:05 PM   #7  
It might be worth a test, but I'm not sure it would be stable enough to get her to use it. But might have a 1x12 around here somewhere so it won't cost anything to try.

 
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03-16-14, 09:37 AM   #8  
They make portable sets of stairs for just this purpose but I've never priced them. Here's the first hit I got googling Dog Stairs:
Dog Steps

 
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03-16-14, 10:58 AM   #9  
Yes, I've looked at them. The right size is out my budget, I haven't been able to work for 3 years. And the vet recommends a ramp, as going down steps puts a lot of strain on the joints, (as I can personally attest to). I guess the real problem is neither the dog, nor I, is good for much of anything anymore Anyway, thanks for trying to help.

 
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03-16-14, 02:38 PM   #10  
Since your dogs are only 20 lbs. how about a series of cardboard boxes forming a stair step. You could get them for free and would spare your dogs joints the shock of jumping down.

 
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03-17-14, 08:26 AM   #11  
If you support a narrow ramp with triangle sides that extend to the floor YOU could probably walk on it and it still will weigh almost nothing. You can glue it with hot melt glue, and aluminum tape sticks great to rigid foam.
A ribbed runner or strip of carpet is a great idea to protect the foam and give the dogs good traction.

 
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03-17-14, 12:19 PM   #12  
I tried your idea, Boxes began to collapse after a couple of jumps onto them. They were pretty sturdy packing boxes too. Think I'm going to try the foam. Thank you

 
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03-17-14, 03:08 PM   #13  
Yes, I was going to do triangle sides. Just need to research the best slope and try to remember that pesky Pythagorean theorum from my freshman year of high school. (46 years ago). Well, I suppose I can always ask a grandkid. Thank you very much for answering my question.

 
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