Riding mini ramps can be incredibly loud, especially if multiple people are riding or the area around the ramp is small. Neighbors, parents, or siblings can easily get annoyed at the constant sound and ask for it to be reduced. Luckily, there are a few ways to soundproof a mini ramp so you can continue to ride in comfort.
How do you soundproof a mini ramp? There are a few key steps to soundproofing a mini ramp, including:
- Using thick construction materials
- Covering any openings like cracks or holes across the entire ramp
- Adding foam underneath the ramp
- Making changes to your skateboard or area around the ramp
All of these options and a few more can help deaden the sound of skating a mini ramp and allow you to enjoy riding for more parts of the day.
Reasons To Soundproof Your Mini Ramp
Before getting into the myriad of ways there are to help soundproof your ramp, it is a good idea to list the reasons why you might need to in the first place.
Even if you do not have neighbors or other people complaining about the noise, there are still reasons to soundproof your setup. Personal reasons can include:
- The sound bothers you after a period of time
- It can be difficult to hear what’s around you while skating on a mini ramp
- Your mini ramp is located indoors
These are reasons to soundproof your ramp beyond the classic, good-natured case of wanting to make your skating a pleasant experience for others. The quieter you can skate your mini ramp, the less of obstruction you will be to others. This means that often, they will not complain about you skating and you can do so freely.
In addition, protecting your ears from repetitive, loud sounds is always a good idea for future ear health. While you are unlikely to lose your hearing from the sounds of skating on a mini ramp, a deafening of hearing ability can surely happen.
One of the easiest ways to soundproof your ramp also comes earliest in the process. Using thicker construction materials will allow for the ramp itself to absorb some of the sounds.
Most ramps are made out of plywood, so this is the most important material to get thicker. If your mini ramp was bought from an outlet and constructed from a different material, this method may be hard for you to enact.
The average thickness of plywood ½ inch, but up to 1 inch is commonly available. There are also sizes in between commonly available at hardware stores. Depending on the size of your mini ramp, grabbing thick plywood for the entire ramp may be infeasible due to the increase in cost.
If the budget for building your mini ramp is a main concern, do not worry. While thick plywood across the board will help significantly in dampening sound, there are some key areas to focus on if you want to maximize your budget.
Thickening The Transitions
The transitions of the mini ramp are the most common area where a lot of noise will be made. This is where the ramp meets the flat of the mini ramp.
When building your mini ramp, there should be support directly at the transition to stop the plywood from flexing so much under the weight of the rider. The thicker these supports underneath, commonly made from 2x4s, the less give the ramp will have.
Thickening only the supports can come with issues, as the surface of the mini ramp needs to be able to give and move. So, the smartest play here is to utilize thick plywood for the surfacing of the ramp here.
If you are using different thicknesses of plywood for ramp construction, you need to make sure they are level for the end construction. This is important even if the final layer of your mini ramp will not be plywood.
Thickening The Top Of The Ramp
The top of the mini ramp, where skaters drop in from, also sees a lot of movement and can make a significant amount of noise. During construction, utilizing thick plywood or stacking other materials here can help dampen the sound.
The main source of sound coming from the top of the ramp is when users of the mini ramp will drop in or grab the ledge, placing almost their full body weight onto one area. To help with this, use thicker plywood here and add a few more supports underneath.
Because skaters will rarely actually skate the top of the ramp (ignoring the metal coping, which will be covered later), this area needs less give than other parts of the ramp.
Making Great Ramp Sides
Another less common but certainly annoying area where a ramp can make noise is if the whole ramp is shaking. This can happen when there are not enough supports underneath the plywood, or when the plywood used to craft the sides of the ramp is too thin.
The sides of the ramp are an area where thick plywood is absolutely essential. Not only will this help reduce any rattling or movement of the ramp, it also ensures a much safer ramp experience.
A thickness of at least ¾ plywood is a necessity, although going up to 1 inch is certainly not a bad idea.
Another key step that can often be overlooked is covering any openings in the ramp. This includes any gaps between plywood, cracks that have appeared over time, ends of the metal coping, and possibly even the back of the ramp itself.
Mini ramps themselves absorb a lot of sound, but a large portion of that absorption can be lost to any openings. In fact, the sound can reverberate and get louder inside the ramp before escaping. This is especially relevant on the metal components like the coping, as metal rings out and can echo loudly.
Gaps and Cracks In Plywood
Gaps and cracks in plywood should be filled not only to stop sound from escaping but also for the safety and longevity of your ramp. These can grow in size and eventually make the mini ramp unusable, in addition to making repairs more and more expensive.
To fix a small crack or fill a gap in the plywood of the ramp, simple wood putty should work. Fill the hole, let the putty dry, and sand it down so that the ramp surface stays smooth.
Larger gaps and cracks in the mini ramp may need a replacement piece of plywood. This is a much more labor intensive process but worth it to reduce sound and keep your mini ramp safe.
To replace a section of the mini ramp’s surface, there are a few essential steps:
- Buy new plywood
- Size the gap
- Cut out the gap or crack
- Nail or screw in the new surface
The replacement plywood should be the same thickness as the part of the ramp being replaced. Otherwise, you will need to cut into or add supports underneath to raise it to the same level. Once this has been obtained (you may be able to use scrap from the initial building of the ramp!), it is time to measure how large the crack where sound is escaping from is.
The size of the crack will determine how much replacement plywood you need. At the least, you need to be able to attach the replacement piece to the supports underneath – that is an essential part of the sizing. If the gap is quite large, replacing the entire surface of that section may be the best bet. This should be avoided, however, as it is the most expensive option.
Once you have sized out where the nearest support studs are to the crack, simply cut out the bad plywood. This is easily done with a circular saw or other tools that can access the middle of wood. Be careful not to cut the supports underneath, as they will then need to be replaced as well.
Once the cracked piece of plywood is out, simply put the fresh new piece on and secure it down. Screws are recommended as they tend to last longer, but nails will do in a pinch. Finally, finish the ramp surface to match the rest of the piece.
While fixing cracks and gaps in the surface of the ramp may seem like a pain, it is one of the best ways to soundproof your ramp and stop sound from escaping. It also makes riding your ramp safer and more fun.
The metal coping of a ramp is a magnet for producing copious amounts of sound. Whenever skaters grind on it, hit the lip, or drop it, the coping is sure to ring out. While the sound is highly satisfying, neighbors and others can be bothered by it.
To help dampen the sound, simply fill the ends of the metal coping. Because it is often crafted out of metal piping, the inside is hollow. If you want to truly soundproof this area of the mini ramp, filling the entire inside will stop the metal from echoing. However, this is not cost-effective and most likely not worth the time. Simply capping the ends should do the trick in most situations.
The different materials available to cap off the metal coping are large in numbers. A few of the most common ways are:
- Insulation foam
- Rubber caps
- Metal pipe connections
- Styrofoam filling
Each of these methods has their own pros and cons and can vary in price. A combination of them, such as utilizing insulation foam a few inches of the metal pipe and then using the rubber caps, may result in the most soundproofing.
For the most bang for your buck, utilizing insulation foam is the best bet. Cans of sprayable foam are fairly cheap and one should be more than enough to cap off the ends of all coping on your mini ramp.
In addition, due to its material, insulation foam itself deadens the sound. This means that while it is stopping sound from escaping, what little that actually will come out will still be reduced in volume.
Rubber caps are a fairly cheap and easy way to cap off your metal coping. They are widely available and can most likely already be found around your home. In addition, the rubber stretches meaning one size fits most sizes. While this will do little to deaden the sound coming from the metal coping, it will reduce the amount that comes out and help with soundproofing.
Metal pipe connections are the least recommended option, but work in a pinch if you have some lying around. These work best to diffuse and relocate the sound rather than stop or deaden it. Because they are still metal, they themselves can add to the echo. In addition, metal pipe connections tend to be expensive – certainly not worth the price for soundproofing your mini ramp.
Finally, if you have absolutely no budget for soundproofing your metal coping, styrofoam is not the worst thing in the world. It is widely available as it comes with most packages today, can easily be cut to fit into the pipe, and shares some of the insulation foam’s sound deadening properties.
The main issue here is actually filling the end of the pipe with it, as styrofoam can often leave small gaps. Still, even with that, it can work wonders as an initial test to see how much soundproofing could improve the use of your mini ramp.
The Back Of The Ramp
Finally, adding a cover to the back of the ramp is another great option for trapping sound. Homemade mini ramps will often leave the back open because it makes building the ramp much cheaper, which is the route to go if you do not care about soundproofing.
However, lots of sounds will escape from the back under normal conditions. To minimize the sounds coming from your ramp, placing some sort of physical barrier at the back of the ramp is essential.
The most expensive and also most effective thing to do this with is more plywood. Simply cover the back during initial construction and this step is complete! However, for cheaper options, any covering will help. This could include:
- A thick tarp
- Carpets or tapestries
- Stacks of cardboard
Or really anything you can imagine! So long as the material can cover the back of the ramp and place a somewhat thick barrier between the underside of the ramp and the air, it will help. The thicker the material, the better it will generally be. Remember, the goal here is not to stop the sound, but to trap it underneath the ramp.
Adding foam to various parts of your ramp is a great way to reduce the amount of sound it makes by incredible amounts. Options here are varied in effectiveness and price, but adding any amount should help.
The basic idea here is to add foam of really any kind to the underside of the mini ramp. These could be in the form of soundproof panels that can be attached, to insulation foam sprayed along the underside of the ramp.
Anytime that thicker material can be added around where the noise is being created, the more it will be deafened. Foam is especially good at this because it is lightweight, thick, inexpensive, and sound-absorbing.
The best areas to place foam on the ramp are:
- Underneath transitions
- On the sides of supports
- Directly underneath the coping
- On the walls of the ramps
These are all areas that either see a lot of use or have a large enough surface area to maximize foam coverage. You will notice that many of the areas overlap with earlier advice for thicker construction material or covering coping. That is due to how much noise these areas tend to make in general.
Unique to foam placement, however, is the addition of placing extra soundproofing on the ramp’s walls and around the support beams. These are most useful for placing soundproofing panels or insulation foam, respectively.
The walls of a ramp are a great spot to place soundproofing panels due to how much space is available. Here, the sound made from above will leak through and try to find new avenues to escape. The soundproofing panels will help prevent that and deaden the sound around the whole ramp.[Related Article: Best Acoustic Foam Panels (Soundproof Foam) ]
The support beams can utilize foam of all kinds to deaden the sound of the plywood as it flexes above. It is impossible to stop the plywood from shifting as the skater above moves around. Even if you wanted to, it would make skating the ramp much more difficult! Placing foam near the supports helps to absorb some of the inevitable sounds and allow for a more pleasant experience.
If you take all of the above steps, the sounds your mini ramp makes should be significantly reduced. While skating will still be a loud activity, this way it should be tolerable for everyone involved.
If you need more soundproofing than this, you will have to move to methods that do not rely on altering the ramp. These include riding on softer wheels so that the total sound created is reduced or surrounding the area around the ramp with carpets and other sound-absorbing materials.
Enjoy skating on your newly soundproofed ramp!