Watching the X Games growing up, we all wanted to be able to skate on a ramp as well as they did on TV. Or you wanted the skate parks in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. Assuming you likely do not have the budget of the X Games or Tony Hawk, it is unlikely that you will be able to afford the absolute best plywood for skateboard ramps like they have. However, you could build your own ramp and trick it out to your liking. It can be quite the process to get your ramp up and ready to shred, but with our help, we will have you ready to go in no time with the best plywood for skateboard ramps.
In this article, we will walk you through the dos and don’ts of building your own skateboard ramp. We will give you our suggestions for different materials that you will need and what you will need to consider when building your very own skateboard ramp. We want to make this process as easy as can be for you and your fellow skateboarders to get you out and skating as soon as possible. So without further ado, here is our guide to building the best ramp.
Things to Consider
You cannot just blindly begin building your skateboard ramp. There are a number of factors that go into what materials you get and how you design your ramp. First off, how big is the area in which you plan to build your ramp? If you have limited space, you cannot go overboard with your supplies because you will not have enough room to build an extravagant ramp.
Secondly, what is your budget? This will be the biggest factor that will determine how good of a ramp you can build. While it is possible to build an extravagant ramp on a low budget, a higher budget would allow you to get better materials. We hope that our guide will provide you with what you need to complete your ramp with just a few hundred dollars and some hard work.
Last but not least, what is your experience level? If you are a beginner, it would be silly to build a ramp designed for more experienced riders. If you are building a ramp for your children, it would not make sense to build a large ramp that would be too big for them. You must determine what your ability is before you dive into the process of putting together your ramp.
What You Need
It goes without saying that a lot goes into building a skateboard ramp. There are a lot of materials involved, but some of them may already be in your house (or on your smartphone). You will need all the basics: tape measure, level, drill, screws, hammer, and saw. It is best to use a circular saw because it will allow you to make the best cut and cut through the thickest of woods. You will also need PVC and the best plywood for skateboard ramps for your surface. Again, how much you need is determined by what kind of skateboard ramp you are building.
Best Plywood for Skateboard Ramps
Choosing the plywood is arguably the most important part of making your ramp. Since this will be your actual skating surface, you will want to make sure that it is smooth and rides easy, while also being long-lasting and weather resistant. There are plenty of types of plywood that you could get, but the best plywood for skateboard ramps is definitely sanded plywood, which you should be able to find at most hardware or lumber stores. Making sure your plywood is sanded and pressure treated will allow your ramp to last for years to come.
Your wood also needs to be protected from the elements. In order to do this, there are a number of solutions including Spar Urethane and Polyurethane Paint, which we have touched on in other articles. These will ensure that your wood is protected from all kinds of weather for years to come.
Designing Your Ramp
As is with every other step of this process, this part is dependent on your skill level and resources. The most important part of designing your ramp is making sure you have a transition curve that fits your ability. The transition curve is the steepness and curvature of your ramp. If your transition is too steep then you will have a harder time skating if you are a beginner.
While the transition is the most important part of personalizing your ramp, you certainly cannot overlook the foundation. The foundation is essential to your safety when you are riding. It is much like building the foundation of a house. You want to have a secure ramp that will not tip over or blow in the wind. An option for a better foundation is to make concrete support beams, although that is an additional cost. You also need to make sure that all of your connections are secure throughout so that your ramp does not come apart while you are skating.
Maintaining Your Ramp
Like we mentioned before, maintaining and keeping up with your ramp will undoubtedly add years to your ramp’s life. We advise that you cover your ramp with a tarp when not in use in order to further protect it from extreme weather. We also suggest making sure that your ramp is able to drain water by making it slightly angled to allow water to flow off the ramp. These simple steps will save you a lot of hassle when a rainstorm rolls through and tries to ruin your ramp.
What better way to show off to all of your friends than to have the sickest skateboard ramp in town. No one will ever want to go to the skate park again and you will easily become the coolest kid around. If you just follow our simple guide and choose the best plywood for skateboard ramps, your house will be its own skatepark in no time.
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Written by Freddie Popken
Edited by Jack Leduc
What are the best surfaces to skate on?
The best surfaces to skate on are those that are smooth yet have a nice grip. For that, the most common surfaces are plywood. Local skate parks use plywood surfaces since they are far more gentle to fall on and hence, best for children of all ages. The plywood can be sanded or smooth and it still works the same.
What is another product besides Skatelite?
What is another product besides Skatelite?
Something else you can use instead of Skatelite is Ramp Armor or Skatepaint. Both are cost-effective and work perfectly with Skatelite Pro which allows you to use it in deck platforms and sides of the transitions.
Are pressure cracks something to worry about?
It is completely normal to have pressure cracks on a skateboard ramp. Even with the most protection and the strongest of building materials, you're bound to see some cracks here and there as daily usage begins. As long as they are superficial, you should be fine.