Swinging gates...are hinges enough?

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Old 07-05-06, 06:37 PM
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Swinging gates...are hinges enough?

Hey there...

Anyone have any experience with hinges, cinder blocks and long gates?

I have a double swinging garage gate - see here....

http://web.mac.com/stevendbinder/iWeb/Site/Photos.html

...and both sides had collapsed toward the center. Door side (on the right) I have already fixed by drilling 3 4" x 1/2" thick bolts into the side of the house (there was only two holding the stud and they were loose). Seems sturdy enough now. How am I doing so far?

The left side (which is a bit longer), however, is affixed to cinder blocks. You can see a hinge close-up in one of the photos. There is only two hinges, with two bolts each. Of course, the gate - which is heavy and big - has pulled away from the wall.

I have replaced the four bolts on top with those bolt & plastic combo things (you drill a hole, shove in the plastic thing, then screw in and it expends). They are rated for about 150 pounds each. The fence seems to be holding but does dip down a little bit when I removed the shims holding it up while I worked.

Questions:

Do these little screws really work to hold up such a big fence with all that torque?! Hard for me to believe!

Maybe my hinges are too small? Should I use a third?

Should I put a wheel on the right side of the left gate to help support it while stationary (though it also swings). Maybe near the bar?

Basically, I want this thing to be sturdy - but if the screws will hold, I guess that's enough. I'm just not sure how close I am to the edge of tolerances - and it's hard for me to imagine those two little hinges with four screws each into little holes in a cinder block held with friction will do the job.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 
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Old 07-05-06, 06:46 PM
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I would remove the two posts and replace them with 4-inch Schedule 40 galvanized steel posts. Foot them in concrete just like a 4x4 wood post. That will take care of any lean.

Next, as long as you use a wood frame for the gates, it will sag over time. Best way is to use metal pipe for the gates' frames. However, if you want to cut back on that expense, by all means the support wheel would work, as long as you keep it adjusted right.

Been there done that.
 
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Old 07-05-06, 06:50 PM
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You should run a center board from the left top corner to the bottom right corner. This will releave some pressure from your fence boards they look like there holding it all together.

While installing those boards make sure you straighten out the gate. It will work alot better if you remove the gate off the hinges.

You could also use a Turn buckle.
 
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Old 07-05-06, 07:49 PM
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Firstly... thank you both for your responses! Now... on to bizness....

Originally Posted by Pipsisiwah
I would remove the two posts and replace them with 4-inch Schedule 40 galvanized steel posts. Foot them in concrete just like a 4x4 wood post. That will take care of any lean.

Next, as long as you use a wood frame for the gates, it will sag over time. Best way is to use metal pipe for the gates' frames. However, if you want to cut back on that expense, by all means the support wheel would work, as long as you keep it adjusted right.

Been there done that.
Pips... just want to make sure what posts you are referring to, since you said "remove the TWO posts". There actually is only one post. It is just to the right of the right door. That side is attached directly to the house. On the other side, there is no post at all. The hinges are attached directly to the cinder blocks of the cinder block fence.

Also, when you say "sag over time" I just want to clarify that you are NOT referring to the hinges on the cinderblocks, but the actual wood gate just slowly pulling itself apart under the weight of gravity?

Also, when you say "metal pipe" do you mean to attach plain old long metal pipes along the wood frame for support? Or is that some kind of special construction term that has more meaning?

Originally Posted by Bill Puter
You should run a center board from the left top corner to the bottom right corner. This will releave some pressure from your fence boards they look like there holding it all together.

While installing those boards make sure you straighten out the gate. It will work alot better if you remove the gate off the hinges.

You could also use a Turn buckle.
Bill, do you mean a board flush with the fence boards (so I would have to cut the edges to make it flush? Do you think that will help the sag? I had thought the sag was the hinges pulling off a bit - though perhaps, after your post, I realize now it's just the gate itself sagging?

A few points:

1) A two-by-four - like the framing?
2) Any particular type of wood since it's outdoors?
3) Matching - I would like the wood to match as much as possible. This may sound very newbie (but I am) but does it look to you this fence was made of regular old wood-colored wood that has just aged or was painted? Or is that a particular type of wood that gives it its color?
4) Taking the door down - do you know if that will ruin the bolts I've already put in? Those plastic cinder block things? Can I screw and unscrew the bolts without ruining them or will I need to get new plastic thingees?
5) Take the fence down - If I can totally support it from undernearth with shims - do you think I could do it while it's still up?

The Turnbuckle:

Are you saying use a turnbuckle for the hinge?

And finally - to you both...any thoughts on those hinges? Do they seem like the could do the job of holding up the gate - once the gate itself was secure?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 07-05-06, 08:05 PM
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Swinging gates...are hinges enough?

Those wrinkled tin corner plates are worthless when it come to keeping a gate square over time. Nails or bolts in the wood will eventually come loose (it doesn't take much) over time with use and hanging around.

Run a cable with a turnbuckle from the top on the hinge side to the bottom on the free side. Usually kits are available or you can just buy the parts.

Periodically tighten the turnbuckle to keep the gate square.

Dick
 
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Old 07-05-06, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Concretemasonry
Those wrinkled tin corner plates are worthless when it come to keeping a gate square over time. Nails or bolts in the wood will eventually come loose (it doesn't take much) over time with use and hanging around.

Run a cable with a turnbuckle from the top on the hinge side to the bottom on the free side. Usually kits are available or you can just buy the parts.

Periodically tighten the turnbuckle to keep the gate square.

Dick
Well, I certainly like your screenname! But just so I understand... the cable and turnbuckle will basically take the place of the wood cross-beam...which is what you are saying will come loose eventually. But two points:

1) Any recommendations on how to attach the cables?
2) Won't the attachments (since they are in wood) go loose over time?

Thanks!

P.S. Something like this?

http://www.hooverfence.com/woodfence/nonsag.htm
 
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Old 07-05-06, 08:41 PM
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Also...for those who might be rereading this for the first time...many of the suggestions (which I am thrilled to have gotten) are centering on the sagging of the gate itself. I am also concerned about the possibility of the hinges themselves pulling out of the concrete cinder blocks. So any thoughts on THAT issue would also be appreciated.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 06:40 AM
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At this point I would use both turn buckel and a support 2x4. Yes run the flush with the frame of the gate. Use pressure treated wood reguardless of what they have used.

In the pictures the gate does not look square and look like its the problem now. Shimming the bottom of the gate will work and it will be alot less work.

As for the hinges they look sturdy but its hard to tell. Try getting the gate square first then keep checking over time to see if the hinges pull away.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Puter
At this point I would use both turn buckel and a support 2x4. Yes run the flush with the frame of the gate. Use pressure treated wood reguardless of what they have used.

In the pictures the gate does not look square and look like its the problem now. Shimming the bottom of the gate will work and it will be alot less work.

As for the hinges they look sturdy but its hard to tell. Try getting the gate square first then keep checking over time to see if the hinges pull away.
Thanks Bill. I guess I'll do it all! Start with the turn buckel - then throw in the 2x4 support. Then I'll probably just throw on another hinge in the middle as well. I'm thinking for middle hinge, I'll run a bolt all the way through to the other side? I imagine that would hold better than just wood screws. As for the 2x4, I guess I can wood screw it in...or maybe another one of those metal brackets....

Either way, thanks!

P.S. As for the gate not looking square...it's actually not that bad in person. It's a combination of the camera tilted a little bit and, actually, the driveway isn't square! It's sinking on the left.... but that's a post for a different time...
 
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Old 07-06-06, 08:03 PM
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I'm sorry I didn't read good enough. Are the hinges attached with wood screws? If so I would remove them and replace with bolts that go all the way thru to the other side of the frame.

Just drill them out and install them one by one. You should go with galvanized bolts and nut to stop rust.

Yes screw the middle support into the outer frame. Use long deck screws or wood screws about 3 in should do it. Are you going to cut the support to match the inside angle of the frame? Just cutting if off straight won't work. It s pritty simple to get the angle. When you get the gate plumb set the 2x4 in place and trace each corner to the 2x4 then just cut on the lines you made.
 
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Old 07-08-06, 02:32 PM
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Pips... just want to make sure what posts you are referring to, since you said "remove the TWO posts". There actually is only one post. It is just to the right of the right door. That side is attached directly to the house. On the other side, there is no post at all. The hinges are attached directly to the cinder blocks of the cinder block fence.

I would install 2 posts - a latch post that holds the latch/lock, and a hinge post that supports the gate.

I would NOT install the hinges to any part of the house structure for reasons I described earlier.

Yes, the wood will sag due to its own weight. Eventually, the latch pin on the gate may not mate correctly with the receptacle on the latch post and you'll have to go with one of the suggestions from the others here.

No, not quite. The pipes I refer to are used in chainlink fencing. For a gate, you can find (and at varying degrees of quality and workmanship) gate frames made out of the pipe and welded together with one pipe across the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom. At the corners are welded plates to which wood 2x4 are fastened. One upright has pins that fit into the matching receptacles in the hinge post.

Expect to pay about $75 for a frame that is custom made to your exact specifications, including all hinge and latch hardware.

Note: If you use treated 4x4s for the post (like I did), you run the chance of the damn things curling and bending on you as they dry out (like I did). One post cost about $14 for cedar, or treated. A steel post will run you maybe $30 or so.

And it won't bend if you get a 3-inch post, schedule 40 (lighter and weaker 3-inch posts are available but since you are going to or should embed it in concrete, why cheap out for $15???)

Google for fences and gates. You'll find plenty of pictures.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 08:39 PM
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If you can get to the backside of that cinder block wall there is a solution that will help, if not solve your problem. Drill holes all the way through the cinder block wall where the hinge holes are on the outside. If you don't have one you will probably need to go to a tool rental shop and rent a hammer drill and a masonry drill the size of the hinge hole and long enough to go through the wall. Then get a couple of all-thread rods in the size matching the holes in your hinges.(usually available at a good hardware store, builders supply or big box home store) enough nuts of the same size as the rod and twice as many appropiate size fender washers as the number of holes and as many regular washers as holes .

Cut the all-thread rod a few inches longer than the thickness of the cinder blocks. pass the rod through the holes in the cinder block and through the hinge holes. Put a couple of fender washers and a nut on the backside of the cinder block. Then put a regular washer and a nut on the rod end through the hinge hole. Tighten the nuts until the hinge is snug against the wall. Don't overtighten because you can crush the cinderblock.
If necessary trim the end off the rod. You may want to put double nuts on the rods as jam nuts to keep them from loosening. Hope this is some help.
 
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Old 07-15-06, 07:43 PM
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What you've got is a mess. The gates, the posts, the flimsy hinges are only part of it. I'm sure that Concretemasonary saw that slab too. It really needs to be replaced too!

I would tear everything out of there and start fresh. Demo the slab and get rid of the broken concrete. Get rid of the posts and the gates, and get down to bare dirt. Dig footings where the gate posts are going to be, set rebar or tube stock in the footings, repour the slab, build up block columns for the gate posts, and install new gates. I would use steel frames for the gates, rather than wood. There are adjustable 1" square tube frames available, or use chain link gate frames. Just put hinge pins in the block columns as you build them. The slab is a monolithic pour -- the columns can't tip.

That's what I'm doing in mine. But mine is a bit more extensive (spelled E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E !!) So far I've had 20 yards of dirt removed, lowered all of the spinkler lines in that area, have another 10 yards of dirt to get rid of, the footings for the gate posts are in, then it's 5 yards of base to spread and tamp, and then 20 yards of mud to get down. By October, when it's done, it'll be a driveway that averages about 12' wide and is 100' long. Why October?? Because I have every Sunday morning from 5AM until about noon, and then a couple hours in the evening to work on it. That's when it in the shade and cool. And there's a grape crop going right beside it that I don't want to mess with. (Thompson seedless are my favorite non-fermented grapes!!)
 
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