questions on building and hanging gate


Old 10-22-07, 04:53 PM
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questions on building and hanging gate

I have put up a 6 ft privacy fence and need to hang two 4 ft gates on each side of the house. My questions are : Do I build the gate exactly 4 ft wide or do I leave any room for when it swings open? Do I run my fence boards all the way to the edge of the 4x4 posts that will secure the gate? I plan on making a frame with 2x4's and having one 2x4 running diagonally for support and then mounting the fence boards on the gate. Any answers, tips, or warnings would be soooo appreciated cause the gates are holding this project up big time. Thank You.
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Old 10-22-07, 08:59 PM
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Build the frame between 47 and 47-1/4” wide.

Suggested layout:
On the hinge post apply shims with finish nails, and plumb them, using 1/8” to 1/4” spacing. This space is for hinge side swelling when whet. More rain, snow, or dampness, use the wider spacing. Leave the shims in place. They will be used while hanging the gate frame.

Measure across the opening at the top & bottom shim points. Record the shorter measurement. Under most circumstances clearance on the latch side should be between 3/8” and 3/4”. When a box (gate frame) of given breadth (3-5/8 for a 2 x 4) pivots about a point (hinge pin) the required “minimum” distance equals the length of the diagonal from the center of the hinge pin to the trailing corner (furthest corner from the hinge on the opposite side of the frame).

Thus Square Root of: A* A + B * B = 3.625 * 3.625 (13.140625) + (shortest) * (shortest) plus an estimate of the distance to the center of the hinge pin say 47 ¾ * 47 ¾ (2280.0625) = 47.887 or 47 7/8” This is general proof that a 3-5/8 deep gate frame, 47 ¾ wide, minimally requires a 47 7/8 opening. At that, the trailing corner would rub every time it's opened.

47-1/4 will provide about 3/8 on the latch side. This is close tolerance for a gate.
47 will provide about 5/8 on the latch side. This is a midpoint tolerance . Reduce the width of the frame more if the situation warrants.

A 1x4 will work just as well as a 2x4 for the diagonal brace, but it's lighter. I can't nail (screw) a 1x4 in the corners. “Let it in across the corners”. This is a strong stable permanent brace. Add corner braces for greater strength & stability.

Square up the frame. Lay the 1x4 across corner, centering it on the corner joints. With a skill or hand saw cut (watch the nails & screws) on either side of the brace, at both corners, the depth of the 1x4. Remove the brace and make multiple cuts between the existing ones. Chisel the waste away. Lay the brace in place. Mark one end of the brace using the outside edges of gate frame. Slide the mark back slightly from the outside edge; then mark the other end using the outside edges of gate frame. Fasten the brace with screws. The slightly shortened brace accounts for swelling.

Lapping a fence board is dependent on (1) gate design (2) gate swing (3) personal

Drag the frame to the opening. Lift and brace it in place. Ensure that it's plumb & properly spaced for the fence boards. Screw it to the hinge post (against the shims). Lay a 2x4 flat across the opening on the ground. This is a spacer for the board facing. If the ground slopes adjust the height. Apply the board facing (plumb it). Apply the hinges (plumb them) (Assumes strap hinges). Remove the screws & shims & check the operation. Trim (top) the boards. Give $10.00 to charity.

Wood posts (too late now) wasn't the best choice.
Old 10-23-07, 05:29 AM
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The easiest way to make sure the gate fits the opening is to build it in place in the opening.

Use temporary fasteners such as screws to attach the gate frame to the posts. Allow the appropriate clearances as mentioned above. Attach the hinges to the gate and the post. Remove the temporary screws.

The trailing corner problem can be eliminated by cutting the top and bottom frame at a slight angle on the latch side

Good luck with your project.

Last edited by Wirepuller38; 10-23-07 at 05:33 AM. Reason: Added a paragraph.
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