Back Exerior & Back Yard

Carport Progress: We Have A Ramp!

The carport is coming along nicely, although it still doesn’t look like an actual carport since there’s no roof. But I now have a large concrete pad for parking the cars, as well as this amazing new wheelchair ramp for Matt.

carport progress - large concrete pad for parking plus new wheelchair ramp for Matt

Here’s a quick video I did showing the progress so far…

(If that video doesn’t work for you, you can click here to watch on YouTube.)

It has been so interesting to watch all of this as it progressed. The only concrete I’ve ever worked with was my concrete kitchen countertops, so this whole process fascinated me. I kind of wanted to pull up a chair and just watch all day each day. It’s like having HGTV, the live version, right in my back yard. Here’s how the area looked after everything was prepped for concrete, and just before the concrete truck arrived.

They used 2″ x 6″ lumber for the forms. Around the perimeter, plus right through the middle of the area, they dug deep trenches (probably 8-10 inches deep) to create what they call “beams.” This just adds extra strength, and my brother said that it also keeps the concrete pad from shifting. They also tied the rebar into the existing concrete foundation at the back of the studio, so that will also keep it from shifting.

Then on the corners where the support posts will go, they dug these round, much deeper areas (probably an additional 8-10 inches) to create what they call “bells.”

With the trenches and bells dug, the rebar in place, and the special gravel/dirt foundation in place and compacted, it was time for the concrete truck. I seriously could have watched this all day long.

That concrete was poured on the Friday just before Memorial Day weekend, so the one guy came back on the following Tuesday and started prepping for the ramp. It took him just over two days, and then last Friday the concrete truck came back to pour the ramp. I’ll admit that I was very nervous about how this was going to look. I just couldn’t imagine that it would actually look nice.

But later in the day when he removed the main form, I was ecstatic about how nice it looked!! I took this picture the next day after the concrete had time to dry enough to match the carport pad in color.

carport progress - large concrete pad for parking plus new wheelchair ramp for Matt

I mean, just look at the incline on that ramp! It’s perfect! It’s such a drastic difference from the death trap of a ramp that was originally on the front of the house…

I’m a healthy person with some pretty strong arms, and I couldn’t even get myself up that ramp in Matt’s wheelchair. So he had no prayer of ever actually using it. And even when I would try to push him up that ramp, or roll him down the ramp, it was just plain scary. I’m so incredibly excited (and relieved) to have an actual usable, safe ramp for him now.

Right now the step up to the door is about seven inches. It might even be eight inches. That’s too high for a comfortable step, so I’d like another step added to the left side of the landing that’s at the doors. And then to make the ramp safe so that Matt won’t accidentally go over the edge, I’d like to add some sort of low curb that his wheels can bump into to let him know he’s at the edge. I’m envisioning some sort of stone retaining wall like this…

If it comes up just about four inches or so, that’ll be plenty of height to stop Matt from rolling off the edge, but it will still allow me to get large items in and out of the doors if needed, where a railing would really limit my ability to move things in and out of the doors. So I’m still mulling over some options, but that’s probably the direction I’ll be heading with that.

They also poured this concrete pad at the side door for me so that I have something sturdy and level to build my steps on.

At first I didn’t understand why the pad was so high above the ground. I had assumed that it would be level with the ground, or just a couple of inches above the ground at most. But he explained that since the back yard (and therefore, the carport concrete pad) is so much higher in elevation than the front yard, they’ll have pour the driveway (which isn’t going to happen at this time, unfortunately) in such a way that it has a gradual slope all the way down to the street. So with this side door being about 1/3 of the way between the carport and the street, it has to be this high so that it will eventually be level with the driveway.

I hope that makes sense. You can see here how much higher in elevation the back is…

If I draw a line level with the carport concrete pad, you can see how high it would need to be on the side of the house…

Obviously they can’t pour a driveway that high, so it will have a slope on the side of the house, meeting up with the concrete pad at the portico door, and then continuing a downhill slope to the street.

So for now, I’ll have to deal with the concrete pad at the side door basically acting as an additional step, but when the driveway is poured, there won’t be a concrete step there. There will only be my wood steps up to the door.

I feel like I’m explaining that horribly, but hopefully you can make some sense of it. 😀 If not, I suppose you’ll have to just wait and see how it all works out in the end.

They’re back to day to set the posts for the roof. They were planning on removing the flat roof at the back of the studio, but there’s a 40% chance of rain, and the sky is all gray, so it would be a really bad idea to do that today. I’m pretty bummed because, of course, I’m chomping at the bit for that roof to be torn off. But maybe tomorrow! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be the first to know about the progress.



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23 Comments

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jason
    June 4, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Love it! can’t wait to see the pixel art as well.Xx

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Guerrina
    June 4, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I’m with you! I’d just want to pull up a chair and watch. The ramp access looks amazing and so happy Matt now has easy access in and out.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Mara
    June 4, 2018 at 9:52 am

    For the ramp, what if you put a removable rail there? For example, you know how you put an umbrella in the stand and tighten the bottom with an adjustable screw? Same concept. I hope I gave you a good visual. That way you could remove it when you had something large to load in, safe for Matt (and you) and up to code.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Theresa P
      June 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

      I was thinking something similar like the child fences/screens that go around a swimming pool. If you haven’t seen one, the fence company drills holes into your concrete/pool decking. The holes are an exact distance apart to provide sufficient tension in the pool screen/fence. The fence/screen is attached to posts. You insert those posts into the holes and it creates a nice, tight screen. They are removable (by an adult), so that you can enjoy your pool without a fence (when you’re properly supervising your kids), but then have sufficient tension to prevent a kid from getting access to the pool, when the pool is unsupervised. You wouldn’t want one as tall as pool fence (5′), but the concept would work, as it is fully removable (i.e. you wouldn’t even have a curb to contend with).

      Looks great!!

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Barbara H.
      June 4, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Yes, that’s what I was thinking but I was thinking of it as a gate on a hinge that will let it swing back on itself on the right side when you are standing in the carport looking at the door.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      AinOakPark
      June 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      My friend, with five kids, had something similar around her pool, except that it was wrought iron fencing. They were able to remove the sections to open one whole area of the yard to the entertainment/seating area when they had guests. It worked beautifully. I am thinking that this might be a better option for you since it would allow the whole area to be open as much as possible, you could use the ramp to dolly/cart things up to the doors or just lift them in. The fact that it would actually be a stiff railing (and not just fencing) might take it up to code for your area.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Karen
    June 4, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I’m glad there is progress outside your house! The ramp looks fine! And you did explain the height difference of the side pad so that I understood it 🙂
    Have you been working on your half-finished project list last week? I’ve been thinking of it when checking my inbox and not finding any new posts – and tried to cheer you on mentally in getting those things done! I hope the exciting concrete theatre going on outside your house gives you energy as well as making you happy 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    CoCo
    June 4, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Looks great!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Teri Randall
    June 4, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I’m so glad Matt has a ramp now that he can use. Even if you just take a ride with him, it’s getting him out of the house. It looks very nice. And much safer. I totally agree with the stone to keep him from falling off the ramp. Very nice, indeed.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Mary
    June 4, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Will there be another ramp to get Matt on and off the patio from the driveway or yard?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    VaBarb
    June 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Looks amazing. Wonderful ramp. If code requires railings. Perhaps removable metal railings would work. This would give you flexibility when needed. I’m thinking round metal rails that slide into holes or flush metal rings on side of concrete. Think bathroom grab bar diameter. Check out- edge fall protection- industrial removable safety rail.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Cyd
    June 4, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Love the progress! and the stone idea is lovely.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sandy
    June 4, 2018 at 11:31 am

    I live in a small town and here it’s code to have a rail on a wheelchair ramp.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Alta Craig
    June 4, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Wow! It’s looking beautiful! So glad Matt has a safe ramp now, and I like the idea of the edge. Would you use the same Austin Stone as on the front/side of the house? I too sat and watched the construction crews when we built our house. Thankfully, I noticed that they had framed one of the front windows in the wrong place and was able to have them change it before further construction made it more expensive to do.

    I can empathize with your desire to get that roof on and get the posts up, but no worries, it’s on its way! Looking forward to seeing a completed carport in a few weeks!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Susan
    June 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Love the progress and your rock accent safety wall rendition.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Brenda Pawloski
    June 4, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Sweet! What room is the window on the “elbow” of the ramp. I can’t help wondering if that could turn into a door and be another point of egress for Matt. I side with the removable rail/curb suggestions, versatile for you.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sherre
    June 4, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Don’t forget to do some kind of water management if you put a ledge around the sides! You don’t want to create puddles on your ramp and up against your house!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Margie E
    June 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    I love it! It is fun to watch concrete work! Both my hubby and I use wheelchairs and from experience, I would go with a railing like what is suggested above. Here’s why: it doesn’t happen often, but now and then somebody loses their grip on a rim or bumps a joystick on a pc and you want more than a 4” rim to catch you!
    On another note, I’m getting caught up on my part of the challenge! Cleared off my work bench, created a new potting bench out of a recycled upper cabinet now to finish the kitchen this week and I figured out why I was stuck on my office project!! Thanks to you I’m back on track!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Lauren
    June 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Now THAT is what a great handicap accessible ramp looks like!!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Marianne in Mo.
    June 4, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I’m praying for nothing but sunshine for you the next few weeks! It can rain on the weekends only!!!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Susie
    June 4, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Well this is just the best post ever! The concrete pad and ramp look fab! So happy for yall. And it has me sitting here wondering if I took an x-ray of my sorta new concrete, if I ‘d have a single beam or bell. **sigh*** I also love, love, love the color of your office door. Did I miss the name of the paint and color? Congrats, Kristi…great progress!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Laura Murphy
    June 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I see some people suggesting a removable railing, but we had one and sometimes they can be a hassle. What if instead you did a really short ramp? Like 6 inches above the surface? Then it would be high enough to keep Matt from going over, but short enough to be really easy to lift things over and/or potentially step over? Plus this way you could make it super sturdy because it would be permanent. http://www.atlanticrailinginc.com/residential-railings/short-aluminum-rail-and-handrail-2/ kinda like the wrought iron portion of this railing.

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