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Q on dual 6' privacy fence gates over uneven ground

Q on dual 6' privacy fence gates over uneven ground

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  #1  
Old 10-15-07, 02:14 AM
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Q on dual 6' privacy fence gates over uneven ground

We're enclosing our property with a 6' privacy fence. PT 4x4 posts, 2x4 stringers, and cedar fence board. Back side of the house / perimeter isn't a problem. Then, there's the front...

We are placing fencing between our home, and the neighbor's home. This fencing will run from the corner of our foundation, parallel with the front of the homes, to the corner of the neighbor's foundation. The purpose of the fence is to block visibility from the road that runs in front of our homes. Error during construction has the foundation of his home on the lot line. He has given his blessing for the fence.

I am placing two 6' gates in this fence, to allow access to the back yard (driveway between homes). The problem is that, due to the land slope, the neighbor's home is about 1' lower than mine. The gate / fence will be 'sloping" between homes, lower on one side than on the other.

Imagine this is a view from the street:

........................... top edge of to-be-built gate
.........................|----------------------------------| My house
..Neighbors house |.....panel 1 |.....panel 2........|
.........................|.................|......................|
.........................|.................|...____________|
.........................|....________|_
.........................|_ _
...............................uneven grade

I plan on using a frame which is square and parallel to the post. I will then attach the fence boards to parallel the contour of the land. This means the frames on the two gates will be staggered (one higher than the other), however the fence-board will hide this (can't see frames).

This difference is ground height is giving me troubles. As we have 3 small dogs, we want the bottom of the fence to be as close to the ground as possible. I want the gates to be sag-free, and I'd like them to open to the -outside- (toward street). Also, due to the posts being placed within inches of each foundation, I'd like to limit the stress on the posts.

I have three things that concern me: Post material / type, gate support, and hinge.

We currently have 2 holes dug for the posts. Approx 24" deep, 8" diameter. I have the option of using 4x4 PT posts, 6x6 PT posts, or getting metal posts. I like the idea of metal posts, as I suspect they'll be stronger in supporting the gate. However, they'll be more expensive to buy, and I don't want posts putting pressure on the foundation.

Due to the proximity to the foundations, and to keep the gates from sagging, I want to support the ends of the two 6' gates. At the very least, I'm attaching gate wheels on each gate, to assist in support of the gate.

Also, due to the slope of the land, the gate on my side (my house) is going to want to -rise- when opened. This is because the gate wheel will be following the end of the gate from the low point (when closed), uphill when opened. As such, I don't think a fixed hinge will work.

I'm thinking of attaching a "sliding hinge" to that post. Picture a bathroom towel-bar, on it's side. Attach that to the post, with the gate riding over it. Tubular gate hinge (like on a farm gate) sliding on the (smaller) tubular "guide".

Kind of like this, except instead of having a "pin", it's a full-length rod. The clamp on the gate is then free to ride up and down as the gate travels uphill / downhill:



What do you guys think? The wheels should help support the weight of the gate. This should take stress off the posts, and / or allow me to use less-robust posts. The "slide hinge" should allow the gate to ride up slightly when opened, and down when closed.

What about the post? 4x4 PT, 6x6 PT posts, or steel? If steel, what size tube (round or square) is needed (size and thickness)? I'm currently leaning towards 6x6 PT for the post. I'm not opposed to putting 2x4 braces across the top of the gates, attached to the posts and meeting in the middle. These can be swung out of the way when the gate is opened. These braces would but against each other, and serve to keep the posts from leaning in.

I'd really like to get this right from the start, vs having to fix a "design error" later on. I've got the holes, as mention, but otherwise...I'm not married to any particular idea. I'm open to seeing better ways to do things...
 
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  #2  
Old 10-16-07, 02:12 PM
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Gates

How often will the gates be opened and closed?
Perhaps a removable fence section fastened to the posts with bolts would work better than gates. These sections could be built to follow the contour of the ground. Just a thought.
 
  #3  
Old 10-16-07, 02:17 PM
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Gates will be opened regularly. Multiple times per week. Gate is going across a driveway which provides access to the shop behind the house.
 
  #4  
Old 10-18-07, 05:45 AM
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Gate

The "slide hinge" idea seems like it should work. I think you will need wheels at both ends of the up-hill gate to avoid binding as the gate opens and closes. Good luck with your project.
 
  #5  
Old 10-18-07, 08:10 AM
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Your post holes aren't near deep enough for the size gate you are going to install. If your worried about putting pressure on your foundation, the shallower hole is more likely to cause pressure. If you have a deeper hole, more of the force will be transmitted to the ground instead of laterally through the soil that abuts your foundations. A steel square post would probably be your best option, although it would cost $$$. You didn't indicate if cost was an issue in your project.

Probably your best bet would be to have a metal frame and post setup fabricated for you. As to the dogs getting out, one of those electric dog fences with the shock collars would be the most effective. Having such a large gate on a sloped area with the proper clearance for it to open while keeping the dogs in will be difficult to accomplish.

This is a pretty complicated project you are trying to do with a lot of possibilities for things to go wrong. You might also consider getting some quotes from fence contractors to see how much they might charge for such a situation.

Best of luck getting it figured out and please post back and tell us what you did/learned.
 
  #6  
Old 10-18-07, 09:42 PM
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Take a look at this artcle on building gates on a slope:
http://www.fencefarm.com/faq/wood-gate-on-slope.htm
 
  #7  
Old 10-18-07, 10:14 PM
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Q on dual 6' privacy fence gates over uneven ground

I agree with the rediculous shallow depth of the proposed post installation.

With that FEEBLE about of anchorage, it won't make much difference what kind of post you use.

With a gate, you have a repetitive dynamic situation that will cause a cummulative amount of "slop" in the post anchorage over time.

If you do not have a solid post that will be stable for a long period, it does not make any difference on what the post is made of.

The classic rule is - Whatever you put in the ground must be more stable and durable than what is above ground. - That kind of rules out wood in concrete and points you toward steel in concrete since any post by itself 24" in the ground is worthless as an anchor unless you plan to sell or flip in 1 year. there is a difference between an anchor post and a line post.
 
  #8  
Old 10-21-07, 09:08 AM
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Sometimes I love the internet, sometimes I hate it.

Prior to getting on this site, and after all my face-to-face conversations with people who have built fences in this area, I was convinced 24" would be "good". Everyone told me "24 inches, if you can get it". The people at the supply store who have worked for fencing crews. The guys who have put up their own fences, etc. "24 inches, if you can get it" is what was repeated to me, over and over again.

Then I get on here, and see all this talk of 36", and even 48" holes. Now I feel like my posts (holes dug, not yet set) are going to be toothpicks snapping in the wind. Or that I'll walk outside, and see my fence lying against my shop. LOL.

Just to satisfy my curiousity, I called the rental place again, explained I'm going to be putting up a fence (4x4 posts, 8' long, 6' privacy fence), and asked what's the deepest hole I can get with an 8" auger. Long augers, extensions, whatever.

She comes back with, "The auger can go about 30". 24" is what is recommended for the holes, and around here, you can't always get that". And she's right. Here in southwest Missouri, our soil is -very- rocky. I was sore for a week after breaking up all the rocks that came out of the holes we drilled. LOL.

I'm wondering...is it possible, then, that 24" is acceptable, -in my area-? I kid you not...I asked a lot of people looking for info on this. Again, people who have worked on crews for privacy fence builders in the area, people who have built them on their own, etc. Each and ever time, I was told "24 inches is ideal, if you can get it".

Secondly...on the gates...I ended up purchasing a pair of 4.5", schedule 40, 8' steel posts. I also purchased a pair of 6' corral gates from a local farm supply store. The gate frames weigh only 25lbs each. The only additional weight will be the weight of the cedar slats (12 or so) and screws. I don't figure this will be an overly heavy gate (which is why I went this route). I suspect my 6' metal / wood gate may weigh no more than some of the 4' all-wood gates I've seen. In addition, the gates will have gate wheels on the ends, in order to further support the weight.

I can go out and find a different source for an auger, and make these holes deeper. I can see if I can have a friend come over with his tractor, and a PTO post hole digger. The problem is, on these posts (the most critical, due to the gate), clearance is -very- limitied. The holes are set about 12" off the house (center of hole to house). I don't know if I can get a tractor-mounted auger in there.

Which is why I tried to make the holes as deep as I could with the auger, built a lightweight gate, and use gate wheels. Lastly...regarding durability...I'm thinking a 5-7 year lifespan would suit me fine. I would expect to be moved to a different place in that timeframe, but you never know what fate may have in store. 10 years would be great. A 30-year fence, I'm not so worried about.

Thoughts?
 
  #9  
Old 10-21-07, 04:32 PM
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FWIW, I measured the 12 cedar slats, and they weighed 45 lbs. Coupled with a 25 lb gate frame, and a couple of pounds for nails, has us at a ~72 - ~75 lb gate.
 
  #10  
Old 10-21-07, 04:33 PM
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It's seems you've gone to great lengths to convince yourself that you're right. 24 inches may be deep enough for a line post, but as others with more experience will explain here, it's just not adequate for a gate. The physics involved with supporting a row of fence pickets if different than that of a gate.

Also, the fact that one side of your two sided gate will be opening on an uphill side means that you will have to offset the hinges in order for it to open. (Read the link in one of my above posts.) I'm not sure how you will accomplish that with a metal post and livestock gate. Your "sliding hinge" if you can find or make such a thing will likely bind up when you try to open it.
 
  #11  
Old 10-21-07, 05:03 PM
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I'm not trying to be an a-hole here. Really, really, I'm not.

Ultimately, it comes down to making this work with 24" holes. I'm stuck with the current depth. Due to a variety of factors, that's basically it. Part of this butts up against a neighbor's home. He was ok with the small auger there, but he's not going to let me bring a tractor mounted unit (longer auger), get a jackhammer to break up the rocks, etc.

What if I install a cross-brace at the top of the posts? A pair of 2x4x6's that pivot on at the top of the posts, and meet in the middle of the gates (on a bracket of some sort)? Basically, create a brace that can be installed between posts, when the gate is closed? That should keep the posts from trying to sag in, correct?

In addition to installing fence wheels on the ends of the gates, I can also install one near the pivot point of the "uphill" gate. "Lifting" (as the wheel rides uphill) near the pivot point, vs at the end, should help alleviate some of the binding you mention.

Again...I concede it's a less-than-ideal situation. But it's what I've got to work with. I'm willing to deal with an extra bit of hassle (cross braces at top, "jiggling" the gate to get it to rise up, etc) in order to get the privacy / security of a fence, and the access of a gate. And it's got to match the existing privacy fences.

I'm -completely- open to suggestions, as long as they're not "dig deeper holes". That's the one option I don't think I have. I'm leaving this gate to the very last, just in case a better idea comes along.
 
  #12  
Old 10-24-07, 01:40 PM
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Ok...let's try this again. Gate Q starting from scratch.

Here's the previous thread:

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=320778

Layout / gate width is the same. Sloped hill, need 12' width, dual-swinging 6' gates, etc.

HOWEVER...I've had the utility company come out. I've spoken with the neighbor. I've talked with some folks regarding the foundations. Etc etc. I'm ditching all my previous plans / layouts, and coming to the pros. I'm taking the advice to heart, and starting with deeper holes.

End result: A friend is bringing over his big tracked skid-steer on Sunday. He's bringing an auger that will get us 4' of depth. The smallest auger he has is a 12" diameter, so it looks like our holes are going from 8" to 12". We should have 12" holes, at a 48" depth, available for our posts. 4.5" Schedule 40 round metal posts.

That being said...what do I need to do to build non-sag 6' privacy fence gates to cover the 12' span, with an uphill gate that will open? A previous comment brought about the idea of offset hinges, which seem to be the solution to my opening.

I'm ready to start from scratch. I've got the 6' metal corral gates, which I can take back. I've already got to take back the 8' Sch 40 4.5" metal posts, in order to get 10' sections. Metal posts are a given. I'm back to "best ideas" on the gate construction, materials, etc.

I've taken the previous advice to heart. I'm starting where I've been told to start (deep holes). Where do I need to go from there?
 
  #13  
Old 10-24-07, 07:20 PM
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Please keep all posts on this project in one thread.

Folks have gone to a lot of trouble to help you on this and are greatly inconvenienced to have to "start over".
 
  #14  
Old 10-25-07, 10:17 AM
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I certainly wasn't trying to "inconvenience" anyone. I also wasn't trying to make others start over; rather, I was letting them know that I'm starting over, utilizing their suggestions and input.

As it stands, the skid-steer is going to give me holes 12" in diameter, and 48" deep. I'm planning on using 10' poles of 4.5" schedule 40 steel, for the fence posts.

I'm going to try an offset hinge, or non-squarely hung gate to fix my "needs to open uphill" issue. I'm wondering if the corral gate frame is the best option, or if others would be better. I have 4' x 5' chain-link gates available as well. I could use them for the gate framework, though I'd need to have about 1' of overhang (past the gate frame) to make them a 6' gate.

Thoughts? It may have taken a while to sink in, but I am heeding the advice given here. LOL.
 
  #15  
Old 10-25-07, 01:18 PM
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Gate

I would go with the corral gates. Good luck with your project.


Also look at using a single gate hinged on the down-hill side. It sounds like your post would be strong enough. Just a thought.
 

Last edited by Wirepuller38; 10-25-07 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Added last paragraph.
  #16  
Old 10-25-07, 06:12 PM
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bmonnig,

You have to think about the physics that are involved. That gate that weighs 75# and projects out 6' from the post is going to put a LOT of stress on the post. (Put 40# in your right hand and extend your arm -- how long can you hold it??)

Beef the system up. Once the holes are dug, form a 6" deep by 2' wide concrete ribbon between the 2 posts and pour all of the concrete (post holes and the ribbon) as a monolithic pour. Adding 4 or 5 sticks of #4 rebar in the ribbon between the posts will make it work even better.
 
  #17  
Old 10-25-07, 07:05 PM
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Lefty,

Thanks for the note! Will 48" depth be sufficient? I'm not sure exactly how far we'll be able to go with the skid-steer. If it'll go 6' deep, I'll get a pair of 12' posts, and bury 1/2 of 'em. If we can only go 48", though, will that work?

Per your advice in other posts, I am planning on building a concrete trench / brace / ribbon thing as well. That should come up quickly when we stick the bucket back on the skid steer (we've got to spread some gravel, too).

I've purchased larger 3/4" hinge posts for the gates, which offer a more snug fit than the standard 5/8" pieces. I plan on drilling holes through the posts to insert these hinge supports. Once the swing / fitment is correct, I'll tack weld them in place.

Other advice? Idea of using corral gates (with cedar fence boards screwed on) sound ok?
 
  #18  
Old 11-02-07, 07:13 PM
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i have 12ft metal farm gates with 5/4 x6" x6' wood fence pickets clamped to make a privacy gate on 6x6s burried 4ft. with concrete poured around each post. I've never had a prolbem they've been there 9yrs. The rule of thumb i went by was bury 1/3 of the post. Good luck.
 
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Old 12-13-07, 11:04 AM
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Thanks for the help, guys. Other things have been going on, so the gate has been "on hold" for a while. I'd like to get it back up on the priority list, and get it finished.

I've managed to get -both- holes down to 48" deep. I'm planning on digging a trench between the two holes, 12" wide x 12" deep. Lay rebar in the trench, bending a foot or so down into the post holes. I'll then pour everything as a single monolithic pour. As I understand it, that is the recommended construction method for this situation. Correct?

Does the 12" x 12" trench between posts sound sufficient? Or would different dimensions be better? The holes are 8"-10" holes, with 10' steel posts (buried 48") supporting 2 6' wide x 6' high gates (cedar pickets over metal stock gates).

Lastly...would there be any overwhelming reasons to go with 4" x 4" x 1/8" thick square tubing, vs 4.5" round schedule 40 tubing (for the posts)? I think the square tubing may make it easier to assist my "outside swing" situation, but...maybe not.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-13-07, 07:35 PM
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bmonnig,

Your plan sounds good. Whichever post you opt to go with will be fine.

About the only thing i would do different is to bring in a cat or a hoe and level the area between the posts so that the driveway though there is level, rather than fight the slope.
 
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