Building New Gate in Cold Climate


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Old 05-05-09, 11:33 AM
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Building New Gate in Cold Climate

Hello,

Looking for some advice on constructing a wooden gate that will be about 40 inches wide. The gate will hinge on a 4x4 PT post that is cemented into the ground 4 feet deep.

I will be using western red cedar to construct the gate. My questions centre around the effects the different seasons will have on the gate. I live in Toronto and we get drastic temperature changes here, which will of course cause the gate to expand and shrink. What's the best way to build this gate? I've read a few posts that suggest using a metal gate frame kit but reviews on the hinges that come with them are bad. Given the gate is only 40 inches wide, I was thinking of using all wood, no metal frame, but using cross supports from the bottom left (hinged side) of the gate to the top right and also going the other way, bottom right to top left.

I'm worried that come winter the gate will expand from the freezing temperatures and not close properly anymore.

Any thoughts on anyone with experience for cold climates?

Thanks
 
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Old 05-06-09, 06:11 PM
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dave7447,

When I do gates, I use STEEL posts, not wood embedded in concrete. (And if you search my posts, you'll find that I am VERY anti about embedding wood in concrete!)

A wood framed gate is going to sag, no matter how you do it. A steel frame won't sag.

"Reviews on the hinges that come with them are bad" -- WHAT?? They have been using pin hinges on chain link fence posts for longer than I've been alive, and I've yet to see one of them fail!! (FYI -- I remember JFK winning the election!!)

You can do your wood stuff, and you'll be fighting it a couple time a year forever. I did all of mine in steel 15 or more years ago and have yet to do anything other than use it. 'Nuf said.
 
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Old 05-09-09, 05:58 PM
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OK, thanks for the lecture, but that's not really what I asked. Was looking for some thoughts not your history with steel posts. Thanks anyways |
 
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Old 05-12-09, 07:51 PM
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Dealing with the cold , the hot and or just the drastic change from one to the other is pretty much the same no matter where you go.
The gate getting cold or shrinking or expanding should not be so much your issue to the type of post you use or the type of hinge you use.
I would suggest using a steel post. I would also suggest using a wood truss to help support the gate.

Mostly all the time wood gates do sag. Mostly all the time PVC gates also sag. The only type of gate that I know of that does not sag is the steel gate frame, or the aluminum gate frame. But mainly it is a welded metal frame of some sort that you would have the least problems with as far as sagging.

As for using the gate frame kit... It can be done as well. I am not familiar with the reviews that contradict the use of the hinges that are supplied with the frame, but if this is the case why not use the frame to keep your gate from sagging and use an ordinary T-Hinge to support the gate? T hinges can be bolted to a steel post just as it is to a wood post.

If you chose to use a wood post, that too would work just fine. I would not suggest using cement on that post unless you plan on replacing the gate every 10 or so years. The limestone in the cement will dry out and rot that post in half its lifespan. It being a gate post puts even more stress on a faulty base.
Considering all factors I would suggest either the use of a steel post in cement with hinges of your choice or sinking a regular wood post in your soil and tamping it in.
It works and it lasts for many years to come. No cement is needed for this type of installation and certainly not so the case with such a small gate as one that is only 40 inches wide.
One added suggestion to give is this..

If you use a steel post to support your gate you can do so by using the steel post to support your last section of wood materials. Then as long as it applies you can swing the gate off the other side of the fence by using strap hinges. The steel post will be what actually supports the gate just like it supports the last section of material. The strap hinge would be attached to the top rail of the gate just as it would be attached to the top rail of the section on the hinge side. The post would be on the rail side where as the hinges would be on the face side of the fence. The gate would swing out , away from the steel post.
If you needed to swing the gate into the yard but did not want to attach a hinge to the steel post you can put the post about one foot from the end of the section of the adjoining material next to the gate. That foot you leave left towards the end is where you would be attaching your hinges. Preferably strap hinges again. Either would work, but it is more preferrable to swing the gate out, have the steel post as far towards the end as possible and using strap hinges I beleieve everything would work fine.

And yes to the direction of the truss. It is always best if the truss goes from the bottom hinge side to the top latch side.
Better than that would be to divide the gate in half. If the gate is truly 40 inches wide I would make a mark on the 20 inch point on the top rail. Put your truss from the bottom hinge side up to that point and then back down to the latch side bottom.
This is called an A Frame truss. Using this type of truss is more secure than using just the typical slant one board type. By doing this you are supporting the gate from the hinge to the point and back up and down from 2 side.
Put it together, and screw or nain your truss in from the face of the picket into the truss rail itself.
Done right this gate will not have many issues with sagging over a shorter period of time.

If you have any other questions feel free to throw them out into the forum.

Good luck

Gregs Fence
 
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Old 05-12-09, 09:58 PM
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Dave,

No lecture intended.

If you want to do your gate with a wood frame, then you'll need a diagonal brace from the bottom of the hinge side to the top of the latch side. I would also suggest a metal gusset or a 1" by 6" or 8" flat EL at each of the 4 corners of the frame that is AT LEAST 1/16". Use the best hinges that you can find.

Personally, I gave up on wood posts and wood frames about 15 years ago -- they just don't last, and the hinges screws WILL pull out of the wood. What I did was went to metal posts (either 1-7/8" or 2-3/8" chain link posts) and chain link metal frames, using Master Halco hinges and latches from a chain link fence. I then installed wood fence boards on those frames. The wood parts lasted about 14 years, and I never had to mess with them. Once the wood gave up the ghost, I replaced it with vinyl, on the SAME frames, using the SAME hardware (the original stuff, even though it was 15 years old.)

Chain link has been around longer than I have, and I've never seen a negative review on it or any of its hardware. There ARE other metal gate frames and hardwares out there, and I can believe that some of that has gotten negative reviews. Some of that other stuff is good, and some of it is junk!!
 
 

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