Ramp Surface cutting • grid pattern • Drain holes
Quite often, metal edging is put down first and the skate layer is inlayed within this metal to protect it from chipping. If this ramp will be in a backyard setting and you make it clear not to grind or smash the edges of the expensive ramp surfacing, you can skip the metal edging. To apply the edging, cut the 1/4" thick metal with metal cutting jig saw blades and grind and sand down any sharp corners. The metal edging is countersunk above the studs and secured with screws. The skate layer is now inlayed between the metal. This basic information is explained in greater detail within the template plan booklets.
High quality countersinks are a necessity during the application process of the dense ramp surfacing. The countersink bits that we sell have four flutes that stay sharp for a long time compared to the less expensive single flutes. Two hex bolts securely tighten the lead drill bit to the countersink about 1/2" above the flutes. Expect to use one of these countersinks per four sheets of ramp surfacing. If your ramp takes 16 sheets of Skatelite Pro or Ramp Armor Deluxe, you'll want to order a four pack of countersinks. Go to our countersink page HERE to order the proper countersinks for your ramp. These countersinks fit the 2" sheeting GRK screws which are also available. Go HERE to check out these amazing screws.
If the ramp surface you are using has specific instructions for expansion spacing, follow those. Basic recommendations are to apply the skate layer on a hot sunny day. Spread the sheets out on the nearby ground so they will expand in the sun. You may also soak the sheets with a hose so the moisture will expand the sheets to their full-size. If you now provide a small expansion joint (nickel width) between sheets, countersink and screw down thoroughly, your ramp surface shouldn't buckle.
Use a thinner kerfed (skinny) - carbide tipped blade for cutting the ramp surfacing and make sure it is very sharp! You don't need to tape the cut line if your blade is sharp and the blade depth is set just a little deeper than 1/4". Since this ramp surfacing is very expensive, make sure your measurements are accurate.
If the ramp surface you are using has specific instructions for a grid pattern, follow those. The screws should hit the studs below the sheets. Position the countersink holes about 8" apart around the edges and 11 1/2" within the sheets. Click on the layout photo below for an example. Screw in gently to avoid broken screws. Some screws might need to be tightened after a week of skating because the sheets might settle a little. Check often for broken screws or fasten more if a corner lifts.
One good trick for countersinking the upper sheets of a tall ramp is to take a strip of masonite or 3/8" ply that can bend along the radius. Mark where the studs are on this strip and transfer these markings onto the skate layer sheet. Place the sheet on a flat surface so countersinking is easier. After the countersinking is complete you can quickly place the sheet into position and screw down.
Sometimes rain water will collect in a puddle on certain parts of a ramp such as on the deck or where the transition meets the flat bottom. If you've ever drilled in a 3/8" drain hole and expected the water to drain out, you know what happens - nothing. A little trick is to drill a small hole in the middle of the puddle to mark it's location. Now use a towel to dry off the puddle and let the ply and surface air dry. Get a plastic tube from a hardware store (or even a wider straw from Dairy Queen) and cut it to about 6" long. Now cut an extremely sharp angle at the bottom of the straw. Drill out the marked hole slightly larger than the diameter of the tube/straw. Use a small amount of silicon to glue the top 1" of the straw to the plywood layers and skate layer. The added length and sharp angle of the tube will now draw water out of the hole and act as a drain.