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Complete Your Fence with Gate Installation

So you have decided to install a new gate. A small entrance gate to your garden or outdoor area is an easy task for most do-it-yourselfers. If you are looking at a larger job, say a driveway gate, consider seeking the help of a professional with the experience, tools, and manpower for the job.
Here are some easy steps to follow for the smaller job:

  1. Set the Fence Posts that Will Support Your Gate
  • Treat each section of the posts that will be underground with a wood preservative. Allow the posts to stand overnight in the preservative to become well-saturated.
  • Measure and re-measure where your gate placement will be and mark where posts will be positioned. Measurements must allow for placement of hinges and latches. Make sure of clearance under the gate for even opening over concrete, bricks, gravel, snow, etc. that is placed in the gate path.
  • Set your wood fence posts with about 1/3 of their total length buried in the ground, especially the corner posts and any posts that will carry the heavier weight.
  • Use a post digger to dig the post holes for a straight, proper depth at each marker. By making your holes slightly larger at the bottom than at the top, the posts will be more firmly anchored.
  • A large stone or two shovels full of gravel in the bottom of each hole provides drainage and will avoid excessive moisture at the base of the posts. Pack the posts with either dirt or concrete after placing into position in the hole.
  • Check the alignment of the posts in one direction by sighting one end of the row to the other end and be sure the posts are exactly upright.
  • Brace up each post with stakes only after they are properly aligned. It’s very important to keep the stakes in position until concrete is completely set (if used). Readjust if needed until accurate alignment is made.
  • When the post is aligned, tamp it thoroughly down to pack the dirt (if used) around the base of the post, but do not alter the alignment of the post.
  • Once the posts are firmly in position, build a mound around each one to eliminate any standing water from forming around the post base. Slope concrete slightly away from the post and round it off using a trowel. Tamp concrete lightly so as to eliminate any air bubbles left in the concrete that will act as water pockets.
  • Allow the posts to stand several days and settle firmly into position before adding the extra weight of fence and gate. (Corner posts must carry the weight of the fence in two directions, so provide extra bracing at corners.)
  • Cap the heads of posts to eliminate accumulating water, which will cause rot. This is worth the extra effort. If caps are not used, rounded or slanted tops work well.
  1. Mount Your Gate
  • When mounting your gate, first screw or bolt the hinges to the gate.
  • Hoist up the gate with props to the post in order to attach the hinges to the post. Make sure the gate is level. You can eyeball its placement, but using a level on top of the gate will ensure accuracy.
  • With hinges secure and the gate attached, remove the props. Open and close the gate to ensure nothing is loose or wobbly. Make any adjustments until the gate is in smooth working order.
  • Next, attach the latch, first marking where you want it placed.
  • Drill galvanized screws, attaching half the latch to the gate.
  • Close the gate and check where the other half of the latch will go.
  • Mount the other half of the latch to the post. Note that the latch may not match exactly where you marked it off.

Be sure to keep your gate in good working order with good maintenance. Regular paint or stain for wood gates and freedom from excessive water damage will keep your gate looking good and inviting.

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