DIY #1a: add ramp to doggie door

After installing the doggie door in DIY #1, I realized that I was going to need to build a ramp, since the outside of the door was much further from the ground than the inside and one of my dogs is fairly old. Here’s how I did it:

1) I already had a big piece of particle board with strips nailed to it that I had used as a temporary ramp before. I decided to use that. If you don’t have something available, you’ll need to get a board of the desired width and length before starting this project. It doesn’t have to have strips on it like mine, but some sort of tread is nice, especially in wet weather.

1 measure inside height

2) First, I measured from the inside floor to the lip of the door, since I wanted the outside ramp to be at the same level as the floor.

2 measure outside

3) Then I measured from the lip down on the outside to figure out where I wanted the top of the ramp to sit.

3 prop ramp at height

4) Next, I propped the ramp up where I wanted it, using pavers I had lying around. Note: this is undoubtedly not the most professional way to do things. I’m sure you should calculate the angle of the ramp and the height of the legs and draw your cut marks that way, but – this is a dog ramp, and I did it the ‘easy’, if less professional, way!

4 tools I used

5) Here are most of the tools I used for the rest of the project.

5 level side supports

6) I held one of the two-by-fours I wanted to use as a leg up against the propped-up ramp and used a level to make sure it was vertical. Then I used a pen to mark the upper and lower contact points of the ramp on the board.

6 cut angle

7) I drew a line between the two marks I’d made and used a jigsaw to cut the slant on the two-by-four. I copied that onto another board for the second leg.

7 install legs

8) Then I inserted the legs under the ramp where I wanted them, leveled them again, drilled starter holes, and installed wood screws from the top down into the legs.

8 ramp supports itself

9) Now the ramp stands by itself, without the pavers for support. You could probably stop here, but I decided to create some more support.

9 lengthwise supports

10) So I used the leftover two-by-fours to create lengthwise supports. I did this by laying the two-by-fours next to the ramp on the ground, standing on their sides. I marked on each board where the board intersected the ramp. I also marked the length down to about an inch from the bottom of the ramp. Then I cut each one to length and drew a line from where I’d marked the intersection to the opposite bottom corner and made the cut. This was a long, difficult cut, would have been easier with a different kind of saw, but it worked.

10 bottom of ramp

11) Here’s what the bottom of the ramp looks like with the lengthwise supports added. You could also add cross-supports between the two legs and between the lengthwise supports. I will eventually also use water seal of some type to extend the life of the ramp.

Page coming out

12) It’s pretty sturdy. Here’s Page coming out the dog door onto the ramp. I’ve seen people add side rails, but I think my dogs would just jump over them. I don’t think they’re necessary in this case.

And here are a couple of other shots of Page using the ramp…just because!

Page on ramp 2

Page on ramp 1