We demonstrate theoretically and experimentally the generation of rectified mean vortex displacement resulting from a controlled difference between the surface barriers at the opposite borders of a superconducting strip. Our investigation focuses on Al superconducting strips where, in one of the two sample borders, a saw tooth-like array of micro-indentations has been imprinted. The origin of the vortex ratchet effect is based on the fact that (i) the onset of vortex motion is mainly governed by the entrance/nucleation of vortices and (ii) the current lines bunching produced by the indentations facilitates the entrance/nucleation of vortices. Only for one current direction the indentations are positioned at the side of vortex entry and the onset of the resistive regime is lowered compared to the opposite current direction. This investigation points to the relevance of ubiquitous border effects typically neglected when interpreting vortex ratchet measurements on samples with arrays of local asymmetric pinning sites.