Gate hinges are a relatively easy thing to repair, something even the most amateur of handymen can easily take care of. Follow the steps below if you think that your hinges are in need of repair.
Step 1 – Check The Gate And Posts First
Before doing anything to your hinges, you should check the gate and your fence posts to see if it’s even the hinges that are causing your problems. There are quite a few problems that are often mistakenly attributed to the hinges, when in fact they are caused by something else entirely.
For example, a common problem with wooden fence gates that is often blamed on the gate hinges is that of a sagging gate, which is actually caused by not having a diagonal support across the back of the gate. Use a level to check that the top of the gate is plumb; if it isn’t, then the problem is in the gate.
Another major problem that isn’t actually a hinge issue is that of wobbling fence posts. If the posts weren’t treated, or their setting has become unstable, they will cause issues with your gate. Use a level to check that the gate posts and surrounding posts are still level and plumb, and that they don’t wobble at all.
Step 2 – Check The Hinges
Once you have ruled out everything else, you can settle on checking out your hinges. Look for hinges that are rusted, bent, loose, or otherwise worn. In some cases, you won’t have to actually replace the hinge itself, but you’ll still need to remove the hinges from the gate and post.
Step 3 – Remove Your Hinges
Put a 2x4 underneath your gate door, as well as wedges large enough to support the weight of the door. If you try removing your hinges without something to support the gate, you’re going to cause damage. Use a power drill to remove your hinges from both the gate and the post, being careful that the gate doesn’t sag or fall in the process.
Step 4 – Replacing Hinges And/Or Screws
If your hinges are bent, you’ll certainly need new ones that are larger and able to support the full weight of your gate. Rusted hinges should also be replaced by something rated for outdoor use (oiling them every once in a while will also help prevent future rust issues).
If your hinges are simply loose, but appear to be in otherwise good condition, you may only need to replace the screws. Just be sure that the new screws are the correct size (as this is probably what caused the problem in the first place)
Step 5 – Putting Hinges Back On
Whether replacing hinges or just the screws, be sure to drill new holes instead of using the old ones. Use a tape measure to be sure your hinges on both sides are at the same level, if you have 2 swinging gates. Attach the hinges first to the post, then set your gate back up on the 2x4 and wedges. Make sure that you leave about ¼” to ½” between the gate and the post.