Gate in an existing wood fence

cbars(z5b6a MO-Kansas City)June 5, 2006

I have an existing wood privacy fence. I want to cut the fence and turn the fence section into a gate in a section of the fence that two 4x4 posts are about 4' apart.

Can I just cut the section that I want, hinge one side, and install a latch on the other side.

Seems to simple. What am I missing??

All help would be appreciated. Thanks.


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I am in a similar situation. I need to replace a 6 foot gate (two 3 foot opposing sections) that is part of a fence around a swimming pool. The existing gate is very flimsy and dragging on ground. I am looking for a good plan for a wooden gate, so I hope you don't mind if I piggyback on your post.

All suggestions appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 10:40AM
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Gary - you're not missing anything. I did this a few months ago and am not a huge handyman (yet). Do yourself a favor and hinge both sides (more room always better), check the clearance on the bottom (you may want to cut an inch or two to avoid issues), get one of those latches that sticks into a pipe in the ground (aids stability). It's a good project.
Do me a favor though - spend extra money and get hardware that won't rust - nothing worse than rust bleeding on wood.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 1:18PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


When you remove the section to open it up for a gate you are, in effect, creating two corner posts. In other words, the gate will exert extra stress on the posts. Hopefully they are well seated.

If you choose a gate frame that has a structural connection over the top (and possibly across the bottom), you can reduce the added stress on the posts.

I am considering adding such a gate into a T-post fence and I am looking for a gate that has a self-contained frame with a sort of decorative arch over the top to carry the load and also to act as a trellis for some vines. I would also like for it to have a frame member at the bottom to stabilize it there. I will slightly bury the bottom frame member so it won't be a "tripper". My T-posts probably aren't as stable as your wood posts, so structural integrity may not be as much of a problem for you.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 1:57PM
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Once your fence/gate is cut free in the center (or maybe even before you start), you may need to add a diagonal brace from the top of the hinge side to the bottom of the latch side. This will keep your gate square and stop it from drooping.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 5:06PM
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A 48" gate will exert considerable leverage on the hinged side. I recommend adding a corner post in the fence line to create a 36" opening. Build the gate in-place, adding a Z-brace (2x4 material) where the high end of the diagonal is on the hinge side. The hinges should line up on a gap between pickets. The non-hinge side of the gate will require a vertical board to hold the latch. The keeper can be on the adjacent post. Once it's all built, cut the fence picket stringers free and open the gate.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 10:42PM
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cbars(z5b6a MO-Kansas City)

Thanks everyone for the responses.

Got it done over the weekend. A little more work than expected but it worked out.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 8:36AM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf) pics??

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 11:30AM
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