Skating is considered an extreme sport because there is always a risk when you practice or flaunt your tricks and stunts. The amount of risk that is associated with skating increases if the material of the ramp is damaged or unstable. A lot of the time, any kind of damage that’s inflicted on skating ramps are due to weather conditions, including rain or snow. When you’re skating on bad equipment, a lot can go wrong, including injuring yourself. This is why it’s so important to ensure that you have the best wood for skateboard ramps so that they’re highly durable and safe to use.
When you’re thinking about skating, there’s always the debate about whether you will want to skate at home or at the local skatepark. But what if there is no nearby skatepark? If you don’t think it’s a good idea to buy your own ramp for skating at home you may consider making your own. You could either build your ramp outdoors or indoors, depending on the space that you have available to you and if you plan on expanding your at-home skatepark in the future.
One of the most important components that make up a ramp is the kind of wood that you’ll be using as the surface that you’ll be skating on. You don’t want to spend a considerable amount of hours and money on a surface material that will deteriorate and ruin in just a few day’s time. If you plan on building and keeping your ramp outdoors then you should be sure to choose a surface material that is relatively weatherproof and sturdy for a long period of time.
If you’re struggling to choose wood material for your ramp’s surface, we have a list of the best woods for skateboard ramps that you should consider before purchasing. We also have some short building guides and tips to share about each material that will assist you while you’re putting together your homemade skating ramp.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 3 Best Wood For Skateboard Ramps
- 2 Some Extra Tips For Building Your Ramp
- 3 Conclusion
Top 3 Best Wood For Skateboard Ramps
|Skatelite||Check On Amazon|
|Plywood||Check On Amazon|
|Masonite (or Hardboard)||Check On Amazon|
Known as the best skating material for your skateboard ramp in the market, Skatelite was specifically manufactured to cater to all of your skating needs. Although its utility works really well, it is really expensive, so if you purchase it know that you are definitely getting the best bang for your buck.
Made out of a highly durable solid paper composite material, Skatelite is made out of a harvested renewable paper or post-consumer waste that is recycled. This wood is the best because of the superior balance of speed and grip that it offers compared to other materials. Especially since Skatelite is used for a variety of skating products such as halfpipes, backyard ramps, street parks, mini ramps, and training grounds, it’s very clear how renowned this material really is.
This material has top tier weatherproof abilities, including being water and sun resistant specifically. This means that you can leave your homemade ramp outside for extended periods of time without worrying whether the weather will age or damage the quality of your skating ramp. Although this is an advantage that Skatelite offers, for some it’s preferable to add tar paper on top so that it protects the plywood underneath the surface from the water that can potentially seep through the cracks.
As previously mentioned, Skatelite can be highly expensive, since each sheet of Skatelite PRO usually costs $165-$185 per sheet. If you plan on creating your own halfpipe or quarterpipe, you should expect to spend at least $1,200-$1,500 for all of the Skatelite you need for the job in total.
Although the price point can be really off-putting, knowing that you have the best possible material that is long-lasting and durable to make your homemade skating ramp can be reassuring.
Last but not least, plywood falls in the last place for the best wood to use to make your at-home skating ramp. More specifically, particleboard plywood is the worst kind of wood that you can use, so make sure to steer clear of this when shopping for materials. If you plan on using any kind of plywood, make sure to grab pressure treated plywood because it has a long lifespan of up to 30-40 years.
Made to create decks and other outdoor projects, grade A pressure-treated plywood that is sanded and filled to plug all of the splits and cracks is durable enough to be used for your skating ramp. Plywood also bends nicely in the “hamburger style” so that you can get the best kind of skating experience. If you are using a thicker kind of plywood it’s more likely that you’ll have to bend it “hotdog style”, which means that you will be skating against the grain of the wood.
Some consumers have commented that they don’t like how pressure treated plywood has chemicals in it, which won’t impact your skating experience too much. Plywood is also not very pleasant to fall onto because it hurts more compared to other kinds of wood. Any untreated plywood is not resistant to water or the sun, so you may want to consider adding a coat of Skatepaint to it if you do happen to purchase this kind of wood instead of the pressure-treated kind.
Found in any Home Depot or Lowes, pressure-treated plywood is a viable option for your homemade skating ramp. This material is also relatively cheaper but more expensive than masonite. All you need is two layers of plywood and your ramp will be efficient enough to skate on!
3. Masonite (or Hardboard)
Masonite, or more specifically speaking, tempered masonite or hardboard, is the second-best choice for your homemade skating ramp. This material can also stand strong in the outdoors, but you have to be sure that you are getting tempered masonite and not pegboard masonite! If you choose the pegboard masonite your ramp will immediately become damaged and unusable it stands outdoors for a long period of time.
Masonite is very easy to bend “hamburger style”, meaning that the long grain of the wood is parallel to the direction in which you will be skating. When you skate parallel to the grain you ride faster, when you skate perpendicular to the grain it slows you down. In addition to this advantage, masonite is also very inexpensive, meaning that you could buy a few sheets of this material without breaking the bank!
The material of masonite is smooth, but to some, it may be too slippery to build a homemade skating ramp with. Although masonite can somewhat withstand being outside, it’s still highly preferable if it is not exposed to any type of water. Exposing masonite to water causes it to absorb the water and swell, therefore ruining the ramp.
If you plan on coating your ramp with water-based products, be sure to cover it in an oil or shellac-based quick dry coat first. This way, when you are finishing the build on your ramp you are not ruining it before you get to use it. If you do have to replace some parts of your ramp after some wear and tear, do not worry, masonite is the easiest material to use for doing repairs.
If you decide to purchase masonite, there is one thing to remember: buy the tempered masonite. This way, your homemade skating ramp is much more durable than regular masonite. If you’re still afraid that your ramp will be water damaged after a night of rain, you can cover it with a coat of water-resistant paint or you can simply lay a tarp over it when you’re finished skating.
Some Extra Tips For Building Your Ramp
Although we’ve provided you with a few choices of wood to choose from when building your own skating ramp, it’s important to make sure that you are fully prepared and confident for the rest of the construction process. To do that, here are some extra tips to help your building process come along a little easier and smoother.
1. Choose wood that already comes in common dimension sizes
What this means is that when choosing the wood for your ramp, make sure that you pick ones that are closer to the common wood dimensions that already exist. For example, most sheets of plywood are bought at 4×8 sheets and so on and so forth. If you purchase sheets of wood that are closer to the size that you need, not only will you be conserving the amount of waste leftover but you’ll also save more money compared to if you buy sheets of wood that are too big.
2. Do not wet your lumber
As it literally means, whatever you do, don’t wet your wood. You should not be wetting the wood to bend it more easily when you’re building your ramp. Especially if you purchase the wrong kind of wood, it will not last as long if you wet it with the intention of bending it. All kinds of wood are perfectly fine with bending unless you purchase a thicker kind.
3. Use two layers of subsurface
The best kind of way to surface a ramp is by using two layers of a subsurface that is either ⅜ or ½ of an inch thick. On top of the subsurface, you can add your top layer of wood which will be your final riding surface which can be any of the wood materials that we previously mentioned in this blog article, at about ¼ or ⅛ of an inch thick. By using the two layers of subsurface you can avoid the problem of having to bend the wood “hotdog style”.
4. Perform site work before building
Especially if you’re thinking about building your skating ramp outdoors, you’ll have to survey the area around your home to see if additional work is needed. At the very extreme, if you’re planning on making your ramp very sturdy, then you might have to dig some holes, set cinder blocks and build a leveled lumber foundation for your ramp to rest on. By doing this you will ensure that your ramp is stable and sturdy to use once everything is finished.
Skateboarding, inline skating, and BMX biking are fun, but what isn’t fun is getting injured when your ramp is of poor quality due to the type of surface area that it has. That’s why when you build your own homemade skating ramp you have to make sure that the wood you choose is safe and durable but is still within the limits of your budget.
Our top choice for the best wood for skateboard ramps is Skatelite due to its weatherproof properties and utility abilities. Although this is our recommendation, it’s important to understand that you should choose the best priced and quality wood for your ramp so that you can have the best riding experience.