How to hang a gate

How to hang a gate

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A lawn gate left open defeats the purpose of trying to keep pets and children within a fenced area. It’s also unsightly. If someone in your family has trouble remembering to close the gate, it’s a simple matter to install gate springs. You can install a gate closer when you install the gate or post-installation, when you decide you need it.

Style Considerations

Some gate springs are little more than heavy-duty springs that connect the gate to the gatepost. Others come enclosed in metal tubes that help prevent pinched fingers. The construction of the gate helps to determine the best style for you to select. Gate springs need an upright surface on the hinge side of the gate that is wide enough to attach the springs. If the gate opens onto an enclosed swimming pool area, it needs to have tight enough springs to close the gate automatically. Gates in pool areas must also have automatic latches in order to bring the gate into alignment with building codes. In this case, the function of the gate is not to keep people in the pool area, but to block unsupervised children from entering.

Wood Gate Installation

Gates open either to the right or to the left, and this determines how you orient the gate closer. To determine what your gate is, stand on the hinged side of the gate. If the hinge is on the right, the gate is right handed. Locate the top of the spring, either from the directions or a stamped label on the spring. A right-handed gate has the top of the spring attach to the gate frame and the bottom to the gatepost. For a left-handed hinge, install the spring with the bottom on the gate and the top on the gatepost. Hold the properly oriented gate spring near the top of the gate as you mark the location of the mounting holes of the spring onto the gate and post. Drilling pilot holes helps prevent splitting the wood in the gate. The gate spring usually comes with enough screws to mount the spring onto the gate.

Metal Gate Installation

Installing the gate springs on a metal gate is similar to installing it on a wooden one with the exception of the screws you use. Instead of using the wood screws that come with the gate springs, attach the springs with self-tapping metal screws. These screws have sharp edges that penetrate the surface of a metal gate to hold the springs firmly in position.

Final Adjustments

In most cases, you install gate springs without tension. Once they are in place, you need to locate the tension device. Typically, it is in the top of the springs. Insert the tension rod that came with the assembly kit and turn it clockwise to tighten the springs. Place a peg from the assembly kit into one of the holes near the mounting bracket and remove the tension rod. Open and close the gate. If the gate needs more tension, repeat the process. If the spring is too tight, insert the rod, remove the peg and turn the rod counterclockwise a partial turn, before resetting the peg.

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The key to installing gate hinges and hanging a wood gate that won’t sag is to make a secure gate post. The most common mistake homeowners make when building their own fences, says This Old House, is to fail to sink the gate post deep enough in the ground to prevent it from working loose. Once you have a post that’s secure and perfectly level, the rest of the job of hanging the gate is so easy that it practically does it itself, although there is one other important tip to remember: Choose the right hinges.

Gate hinges are T-shaped rather than rectangular like the hinges you use for doors. The shape allows the hinge to extend several inches along the frame of the gate, which reduces the stress on the screws and prevents the weight of the gate from loosening them, which also makes the gate sag. Installing gate hinges on the gate is just a matter of driving some screws or bolts, and if you do this accurately and you have a good post, the rest is easy.

How to Set a Gate Post

You should always make your gate post from pressure-treated lumber if you want it to last, and you need a post hefty enough to support the gate. A 4×4 post will do for most gates, but if the gate is particularly heavy or wide, upgrade to 6×6 lumber. The post should be long enough to allow you to sink a third of it into the ground, so if your fence is 4 feet high (for example), you need a 6-foot post.

Dig the hole for the post using a posthole digger, which does the job more efficiently than a shovel, tamp down the bottom and drop in the post. Fence Supply Online recommends dropping in a few inches of pea gravel to aid drainage. Level the post with a level, backfill with just enough dirt to hold it in place and then pour in fresh concrete to ground level. Check the level again and make readjustments if necessary before the concrete sets and then wait overnight for the concrete to harden.

Installing Gate Hinges

To attach the hinges to the gate, lay the gate flat on the ground with the framing facing up. There should be two horizontal cross members, and you attach the hinges to these. Center each hinge on the cross member with the T-section pointed toward the center of the gate and the hinge pin flush against the edge of the wood and mark the screw holes. Drill a pilot hole on each mark and then replace the hinge and drive the screws or bolts to secure it.

The gate will look better, swing easier and be easier to hang if you align each hinge so the hinge pin is parallel with the edge of the gate — not necessarily with the edge of the cross member, which may not have been cut square. You can usually eyeball this, but if not, stand a straightedge on its side along the inside edge of the last board on the gate and align the hinge with that. Be sure to use screws or bolts large enough to support the gate but not too long to penetrate through the front of the gate. Screws or bolts should generally be 1 1/2 and 2 inches in length, and they usually come with the hinges.

Screw the Hinges to the Post

If the hinges are straight and the post is level, all you have to do is screw the hinges to the post. Unfold the hinges and hold the gate so they are flat against the post with the hinge pins touching the post. While you’re holding the gate in position to do this, adjust the height to get the top of the gate level with the top of the fence. When the gate is right where you want it, make marks for the screw holes using a pencil.

After you’ve drilled pilot holes for the screws, set the gate back in place and drive screws to hold it. If the gate is wide or heavy, you may need someone to help you hold it while you drive the screws. If no one is around, prop up the bottom of the gate with pieces of wood. Once the gate is secured, test it to make sure it swings freely and then install the gate latch.

Types of gate and advice on hanging a wooden gate with step by step instructions. Find out how to hang a garden gate and what factors to consider when choosing a gate. We give you instructions for fixing for gate posts, selecting the right hinges and latches and then see how do you hang the actual timber gate.

From large, solid estate type gates to decorative wrought iron garden gates, there are a number of things to consider when hanging a gate. The size, weight, material and location of the gate all have an impact on the best way to hang your gate.

How to hang a gate

Large 5 bar wooden gate

Types of Gate

Estate gates are typically double gates – both wide and tall, and usually solid wood or heavy duty steel in a wrought-iron style. Designed for both security and privacy, estate gates are very heavy and require specialist fittings.

Field gates or 5-bar gates are usually used to create an opening in a fenced or hedged field, but are often seen on driveways in the country, and smaller versions can be used as garden gates. Field gates are quite easy to hang, but depending on the size of the gate special hinges may be required.

Driveway gates vary greatly, from a simple single 5-bar gate as mentioned above, to a smaller version of estate gates. Like estate gates, these can be very heavy and require specialist fittings.

Side gates are usually tall, solid gates designed to fit in the side entrance to a garden – usually between 76cm-107cm (2ft 6”-3ft 6”) wide. They are designed for security and privacy and wooden versions can resemble doors, while wrought-iron styles are more decorative.

Garden gates have the greatest variety in style. Generally 92cm (3ft) or 122cm (4ft) high, standard widths are available between 76cm (2ft 6”) and 122cm (4ft).

Gate Posts

If you are replacing an old gate, you will need to ensure that the existing gate posts are secure and suitable for your new gate. Estate, field and driveway gates require very sturdy posts to take the weight of the gate – the wider the gate, the more pressure on the post.

Wooden gates are easily affixed to a wooden post, but metal gates generally require hinged or latched metal posts to go with them – sometimes these are supplied as a kit with the gate, if not then the gate supplier will sell them separately and can advise on the size you require.

If you are fixing your gate onto a wall you still need a post or ‘wall fillet’ to allow space for the gate to hinge.

Gate posts can be concreted into the ground, fixed to a wall or bolted to an existing concrete base.

Double wooden picket garden gate

Hinges and Latches

The type of gate and the way you want it to open will dictate the type of hinges you need. Metal gates almost always have the hinge and latch built in.

For a wooden gate you need to decide on how to hinge it – there are three ways to hang a wooden gate:

  • Centred on the Posts: If you want it to open both inwards and out, you need to centre the gate between the posts and use double-strap hinges. You need to ensure enough space is left between the gate and the posts to accommodate the hinge and latch.
  • Flush with the Posts: With this method the gate sits between the posts, but it site flush with the back of the posts and the hinge and latch are on the back of the gate so no extra gap is required to accommodate the fittings. This is the most common way of hanging garden gates, and the gate will only open one way.
  • Behind the Posts: Sometimes it is necessary to hang a gate on the back of the posts, overlapping slightly on each side. This method is usually used for a pair of gates, or for a wide single gate. Ensure any hinges and latches you buy are suitable for this type of hanging.

Hanging Your Gate

Firstly, check that the gate is the right way around. This may sound silly, but depending on the design of the gate there may well be a front and back, and a hinge-side and latch-side. If your gate has any supporting timber (ie top, bottom or diagonal supports), this should be on the inside of the gate, so that the good side faces out. If there is a diagonal support, the bottom of the diagonal should be on the hinge side of the gate.

If you are replacing an old gate and keeping the original posts, you need to find a gate the same size as the old one. Gates tend to be sold in standard sizes so you may be lucky, however depending on the age of the gate you are replacing (it could be home-made or using old-fashioned measurements), you may need to either have a gate specially-made or cut down a slightly larger gate. If you are cutting down a wider gate, ensure that you choose a design which allows for this – there must be enough wood left to safely affix the hinges and latch.

If you are concreting new posts into the ground, see our Concreting Fence Posts project for more information. Make sure you check that the gap between the posts is the correct width before leaving the concrete to set.

Fix the hinges to the gate first, then hold the gate in place between the posts, lifting it off the ground a little to give enough clearance. Wedge a couple of pieces of wood or tile underneath the gate to hold it in place the correct distance off the ground. Make sure the gate is level and in line with the post, then screw the hinges to the post. Remove your wedges and test the gate to make sure that it opens smoothly and closes well, fitting snugly in place. Lastly, fix your chosen latch in place.

If you are fixing your gate to a wall or bolting the fence posts into place, fix the hinges to the wall or one post before putting the second post into place. This will ensure that the gap between posts is exactly the right size.

Metal gates usually come with their own set of hanging instructions.

All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards , founder of DIY Doctor and industry expert in building technology.

How to hang a gate

In this article i will describe to you how to hang a field gate from start to finish.

How to hang a field gate

Measure the length of the gate you want to hang.

Add 6 inches 150mm to the gate length (4″ 100mm for the gate hanger brackets and 2″ 50mm clearance at the bar closer side)

This distance will be the inside measurement of your gateposts, mark the ground where the posts should go.

Measure the height of the gate and add 6 inches 150mm clearance to the bottom and leave 6″ 150mm of post sticking above the gate.

Mark these measurements on the post. The remainder of the post needs to go into the ground.

Setting the depth of the gatepost

The depth the post should go into the ground should be relative to the weight and length of the gate being hung on it, but on average you need to put a post at least 2 feet deep into the ground.

For example:
A 5 foot (1.5 meter) gate should have a post at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) into the ground, whereas A 15 foot (5 meter) gate should have a post at least 3 to 4 feet (1 meter) into the ground.

For large gates, railway sleepers make a great post – really rigid, long and they last a very long time.

Dig out the gatepost holes

Dig the hole out with a narrow bucket on a digger or by hand using a spade if you desire – beware it is quite a bit of work by hand.

When the hole is dug set the post into the ground and fill the earth around the post making sure the post is plumb both ways and pack it in nice and firm with a sledge.

Big flat stones or blocks are a good idea to put in the front side of the post to prevent the gate pulling it off the plumb.

Hang your gate

Fit the hanger brackets and gate

Bore a hole in the closing side post for the bar to go into.

If the hanger brackets are adjustable you can move these to level your gate.

If you need to build you gate pillars out of blocks, I have a great article on it here


How do I hang the gates for a Vinyl fence?

All vinyl gates are hung off of vinyl gate posts that have a steel insert inside. The insert is an angle that covers two sides of the post. This is necessary for both structural reasons and because vinyl hinges attach to the post on two sides.

  1. When setting your hinge post, make sure that the one leg of the insert faces the opening and the other leg of the insert faces the side where the gate will swing out.
  2. Screw your hinges to the gate post approximately 6” from the bottom and 6” from the top. Be careful not to strip-out the material.
  3. Screw your hinges to the gate frame.
  4. Adjust your hinges by moving the nuts on the post side of the hinge. This will allow you to adjust your gap spacing.
  5. Attach your latch.

How to hang a gate

© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

© 2021 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

How To Install A Wooden Fence Gate

How to hang a gate

Installing a wooden fence gate is not a difficult job.

The chances are that you will only need to install one or two wooden fence gates in a lifetime, but you should do a good job, regardless. Many DIYers have their own methods for doing a wooden fence gate install. Whatever works for you is usually the best option and stick to it.

At Fence Supply Online we get a lot of questions from clients looking for tips on installing a wooden fence gate. Usually, they come from clients when ordering the fence. From time to time, however, we get someone adding a gate to an existing fence. The methods are more or less the same for each project.

To keep our clients happy and up-to-date with the latest on fence gate installs, we put the best tips down on paper. The feedback from clients is very positive.

When installing a wooden fence gate you should:

  • Choose the right gate
  • Pick the best spot for the wooden fence gate
  • Install the fence gate posts
  • Hang the gate to the posts

Let’s take a closer look at each point on the list.

Choose the right gate

It amazes us how many people get this part of the project just plain wrong.

They pick the wrong size gate or one of a completely different style to the wooden fence.

A vinyl gate can work well with a wooden fence, just make sure you match the two designs.

The right wooden fence gate will complete the project, and you will know it when you see it in place.

Pick the best spot for the gate

You will need the gate to get access to the paddock or the garden area.

Pick a spot that meets a path or is not too far from the pavement. Remember, you may be carrying livestock feed or garden tools. You do not want to be struggling to get to a gate in the wrong place.

A gate will need to open without any obstruction.

In many areas you may even need to obey local laws on where you can install a gate and even the style and quality of it.

Self-closing and locking gates may be mandatory too.

Install the wooden fence gate posts

The gate is only as secure as the fence posts holding it up.

Always buy from a trusted agent and use pressure-treated wood. They may also need staining and sealing before putting it in the ground.

Best practice is to put at least one-third of the post below ground. Mark that length on the post and dig a hole to that depth.

Line the bottom of the hole with pea gravel to aid drainage. Place the gate post into the hole and pour in your mix of quick-drying concrete. Make sure the post is level as this is crucial to hanging the gate. Repeat the installing of the gate post on the other side of the fence.

We recommend installing the wooden fence gate posts the week before hanging the gate.

Hang the gate on the posts

When you buy the fence gate make sure you also get the hinges and other extras at the same time.

Most companies will supply you with a full gate and post kit, which will come with all you need.

Screw the hinges to the gate and then to the fence post. The slots should already be in position, to make this a more straightforward job to do. Do not forget the gate closing mechanism too.

Hang the gate to the posts, and you are good to go.

Call us

At Fence Supply Online we know about wooden fence gates.

Use our Draw It & Quote It software to help you plan a fencing project.

How to hang a gate

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Most garden gates are smaller and lighter than full-size gates, and many have spaced pickets instead of solid fencing panels. Garden gates have a pair of hinges that mount to the gate and the side of the opening. Hanging a garden gate is relatively easy using a method that professionals use. The job starts with mounting the hinges on the gate. After you hang the gate, select a latch that matches the decor of the hinges.

Attaching the Hinges

Lay the gate face up on sawhorses or a utility table. Determine which edge the hinges attach according to the way the gate swings open, or outward. The hinges attach on the right-hand edge if the left side of the gate swings open, and vice versa.

Position the long leg of a T-strap hinge flat on the face of the gate. Align the strap with the upper rail of the gate where the pickets attach. Move the hinge, as necessary, so the barrel of the hinge aligns evenly on the edge of the gate.

Install a 1/8-inch drill bit in a power or cordless drill. Use the machined holes in the strap of the hinge as guides and drill 1-inch-deep pilot holes into the gate for lag screws at each hole. If a hole falls in the space between pickets, drill a 3/4-inch deep pilot hole in the upper rail.

Attach the strap of the hinge to the face of the gate with 1 3/4 inch lag screws at each hole. Tighten the heads of the lags with an open-end wrench.

Repeat Steps 2, 3 and 4, and attach the strap of the lower hinges on the face of the gate, aligned with the lower rail of the gate.

Hanging the Gate

Swivel the butt portion of both T-strap hinges outward and against the straps, so they don’t interfere with positioning the gate. Ask an assistant to help position the gate in the opening at the desired height. Place two-by-four blocks under the pickets at each end of the gate to temporarily support the gate in the opening.

Swivel the butt portion of the hinges against the face of a gate post or last fencing picket at the side of the opening. Move the gate sideways in the opening, as necessary, so the vertical gaps at each side are the same width. Lift the gate, if necessary, to the desired height.

Secure the gate in the opening with two wood shims in each of the gaps between the posts or pickets at each side. One shim is near the upper edge of the gate and the other near the lower edge. Drive the shims into the gaps with a hammer. If necessary, stack shims together to fill a gap.

Use the machined holes in the butts of the hinges as guides and drill 1 1/2 inch deep pilot holes at each hole. Install lag screws at each hole, and tighten the lags with the wrench.

Pull out the shims, and remove the wood blocks at the lower edge of the gate after the latch is installed.


How do I install a cantilever gate?

America’s Gate Company offers a wide selection of ready-made and custom fabricated gates, no matter the applications. As the gate division of The American Fence Company, America’s Gate Company has over 55 years of experience in gate design, fabrication and installation. With either fabrication facilities and a large team of certified welders and computer-aided designers, your gate will be fabricated to match your unique requests.

A cantilever gate should be installed on a level plane so that the gate can roll in both directions without having additional gravitational pull as a result of the weight of the gate. Slight adjustments can be made to allow for some minor slope, however, too much slope and the gate could prove to be dangerous while rolling down hill. If you don’t have your cantilever gate yet, check out America’s Gate Company’s extensive guide on how to select your cantilever gate that will help you choose every detail of your cantilever gate.

To install a cantilever gate:

  1. How to hang a gateInstall the two bottom cantilever rollers so that the rollers are toward the inside of the fence while fabric is on the outside. The rollers should be approximately 1” off the ground. Place a piece of rail across the two rollers. Place a level on the rail and adjust the rollers up or down so that the rail is level. Also, make sure that the rollers are adjusted so that the gate will not slide into the grade as a result of a slope. Tighten the rollers.
  2. Install the two top cantilever rollers so the rollers will capture the gate once in place. Hand tighten the rollers.
  3. Install the gate onto the two bottom rollers. Stand the gate up. When in the upright position, slide the two rollers over and onto the gate. With the gate touching both bottom rollers (balanced in-between the rollers), tighten the two top rollers, leaving a ½” clearance between the rollers and top of gate frame (track or 2.5” pipe). Tighten the rollers.
  4. Roll the gate forward and backwards through the opening. If the gate binds, you may have to raise one of the top rollers.
  5. Adjust the rollers as needed so that you keep the gate as close to the ground as possible, but do not place the rollers below grade or buried. In the winter, the areas around the rollers will fill with snow and freeze.
  6. Do not dig a trench for the gate to fully open. Again, in the winter the snow will freeze the gate in place.
  7. Fully tighten all rollers upon completing final adjustments.
  8. Install the latch assembly. If installing a gate operator, use the large “V” receiver that allows the gate to be channeled into the receiver. If manually operating the gate, use a cantilever locking device so that a padlock may be applied.

How to hang a gate

© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

© 2021 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.