Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wooden Gate Instructions

This is a high, ornate gate in a decorative privacy fence.

Gates provide access to fenced enclosures, whether to a garden, a back yard or a farm pasture. Wooden gates are easy to build and usually are made from the same materials used in a wooden fence, whether it be post and rail, picket or stockade. A wooden gate is essentially just a wood frame with braces and covering, attached on one side with hinges and with a latch on the other. Gate widths, heights and coverings will vary, depending on the fence and the homeowner preference. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Design your gate according to the fencing it fits and its use. For a tall privacy fence, use a high, solid gate, perhaps with rounded or cathedral top. For a backyard picket fence, choose a simple design with pickets. For a pasture or front yard post and rail fence, build one that matches the fence. Measure your gate opening and draw out a plan, using those dimensions, then collect your materials. Use pressure-treated wood for any posts and buy galvanized or other weatherproof hinges and latch.

2. Build a frame to the dimensions of your gate opening, less about an inch and a half to allow for hinges and latch. Cut side posts and top and bottom cross pieces and nail or screw the pieces together, using galvanized fasteners. Make sure corners are square. For extra support, put metal braces at the corners. For post and rail gates, you may want to drill holes in the frame sides and insert horizontal rails in them. Most wooden gates will be framed with 2-by-4 boards, but smaller lightweight gates (such as pickets) may use 2-by-2s with corner reinforcing.

3. Install bracing and gate covering. Larger wooden gates will require some cross-bracing, either extra horizontal boards or boards installed in an X style; the bracing required will depend in part on how the gate will be faced -- a privacy gate with solid facing may need less reinforcement. Longer post and rail gates typically have some internal bracing between horizontal and vertical framing pieces. Face the gate to match its fence or use, cutting boards to fit. You can use fencing boards nailed close together or spaced evenly; you can even face gates with vinyl or plexiglass inserts or decorative elements such as wrought iron.

4. Install your wooden gate hinges and latches. Many wooden gate latches have a solid pin on the post side and a circular opening on the gate that slides over the pin. Install those with lag bolts or long screws, depending on the size and weight of the gate. Smaller gates use two hinges, larger ones will require three; just be sure they are sturdy enough to support the gate over many openings -- and make sure the gate is level. Latches come in several styles, but most use a catch on the gate post which holds a bar or pin on the gate. Some latches have spaces for locks.

Tags: post rail, wooden gate, your gate, gate opening, gates will, hinges latch