Cement ramp advice

Looking to make a four foot handicap cement ramp at the end of the house walkway. The walkway is about 3 feet wide. There will be about a 5 inch drop in those four feet. I am going to remove the last 4 feet of level concrete before I begin.
I was thinking of making a form with 2x4's on the long sides and thinner plywood at each end. Then, nail a piece of plywood over the top. Pour cement into the form and let it harden.
Couldn't find much on how to actually make this type of ramp. From what I read, it didn't say anything about putting a top piece over the form. Rather, (if I remember correctly) it said to make the mix somewhat firmer and start pouring at the lower end.
Which way would be better? Or, should I look at this project differently?
Other questions: Should the flooring be level and just the surface angled? I plan to add some small stones before pouring.
We live in New England. I bought the cheap $3.00 a bag Quickrete Concrete mix from Home Depot. Should I have bought the better mix for the colder weather?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie S. wrote:

Ahh your probably better off building a wood ramp. Sadly house buyers are turned off when seeing a handicap ramp at a home entrance:( Perhaps they fear their time and fear prepping for it. it will be a issue if you ever decide to sell
It will take many baggs of concrete to build what you need.
use treated wood and stain.
hope things go well for you and yours
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie S. wrote:

Forget the plywood over the top. You will never get a good finish that way and it is unnecessary. The concrete can be placed out of level as long as you don't use too much water in the mix.

Can't comment on the cold climate problem, but the better the concrete, the better the finished product.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
concrete exposed to freezing conditions requires air entrained concrete or the frost action damages it. have you calculated how many bags of sacrete that is? plan on a hard day of labor!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

FYI, per the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards:
Ramps for new construction can have a slope no greater than 1:12
Ramps for existing sites can have a slope no greater than 1:10 provided a maximum rise of 6-inches and a maximum run of 5-feet.
5-inches in 4-feet is a slope of 10.42%, which is greater than 1:10. The maximum rise you can have in 4-feet is 0.40-feet or about 4-13/16-inches.
Greg M.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Which means that, if the the ramp is for your own use, you should probably build it out of something easy to remove, like aluminium grating, and if it's intended to be for rental/commercial/permanant use, you need to make it longer.
You're sure you can't sneak out in the middle of the night and steal the drop-gate off someone's trailer?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Way too big a pour for quickcrete. Unless you have lots of helpers, you will never get it mixed, placed, and screeded in time.
Better solution, and less of a turnoff to buyers, is to replace entire sidewalk, and modify yard grading, to make the ramp vanish. If the rise is over the whole length, it will barely be noticable. If that isn't in the budget, just do the upper 7 or 8 feet- four feet is way too short for a 5-inch rise, especially where ice is common. Bust out the existing walk, form up the ramp, with thick edges on the bottom, and maybe curbs on top if there is a dropoff, and get the concrete delivered. I'd use 4" fabric in the slab, to resist cracks and frost heaving.
I haven't looked in a few years, but ADA and AIA used to have brochures about recommended standards for retrofits like this.
aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Didn't think about the icing. I'll do 7-8 feet minimum. Would call in a truck to dump some in if I went that far. The whole walkway is about 30 feet long. If I did the whole thing it could turn into a 2-3 week project. Not what I had in mind.
I could hire someone, but don't want to spend $1000 to have it done. May get a couple quotes and find out what they want for this type of walkway. Thanks for the advice. Didn't think about the length of time it would take to mix it myself. I was planning to rent a mixer.
Just to make sure I understand. You wrote, "form up the ramp, with thick edges on the bottom." By the 'bottom', you are referring to the lowest part of the ramp?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

house
inch
thinner
what
firmer
add
colder
is
project.
take
part
No, to the bottom surface of the new slab. The edges should be thicker to resist cracking and frost heave, and so you don't have a visible gap under it if you don't regrade the yard up to it. This is especially true near the top of the ramp, where the visible edge may be 5-8 inches thick. The part up the center of the ramp doesn't need to be as thick. Is anybody pouring sidewalks near you? Look in the hole- it is deeper at the edges near the form boards. If you have never done or seen concrete work before, I'd buy a DIY book, or look on some web pages. The pictures will make it all a lot clearer.
aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for the clarification. I never knew there was a difference in thickness in edges compared to the middle. I have a book put out by Quickkrete. Didn't have much on ramps. I'll check on what it says about making walkways.
What I've done so far is reposition the end piece of this walkway at a downward angle. It's about 18 inches long. Thought that might let me get away from pouring a new ramp. Found out it is much too steep an incline for a scooter.... never thought about the ice.
I used a long metal bar to help me move this last section. This section is about 6 inches thick. While moving it, the next section of the walkway was exposed. I was surprised how thin a layer of concrete was poured. I think it was only an inch or two. Surprisingly, it's held up well. The walkway is well over 50 years old. They used lots of pebbles and small rocks in the mix. Cracking is minimal. There is only one non-planned central crack in the whole walkway. Whoever built it is most likely long gone, but his work held up.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Woke up this morning with another idea. Let me know what you think.
Each section of the walkway is broken into 3 foot sections with the exception of the thick end piece, which is about 18" long. I have already repositioned this section. As it stands, it's sloped too steeply.
I noticed when I was using the long metal bar to remove the end piece that much of the rest of the walkway shifted upward easily. This leads me to believe each section is relatively light and could be moved with some ease.
If I could remove the last two or three sections without cracking them into pieces, then I could regrade the ground beneath and replace each section at a continuous sloping angle. I have already done that with the end piece. It didn't take much time at all.
The difficult problems I foresee are; 1) Separating the sections without cracking.... there seems to be some adhesional forces between each piece. I am not sure if there is concrete connection beneath the dirt seams or at the edges. If so, then they might have to be broken. 2) Forming a nice even slope so that everything blends in nicely when I reset the sections. 3) I am only presuming each section is light. If each section is heavier than I bargained for, then I might go back to the pouring concrete idea.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.