Wooden Gate Structure and Design Infographic

Learn how to build a new wooden gate with the correct structure and design. This infographic will give you the steps and tools for successful completion of wooden gate structure and design.

Learn how to build a new wooden gate with the correct structure and design. This infographic will give you the steps and tools for successful completion of wooden gate structure and design.

When building a wooden gate, there are several factors to consider. Gates can be merely decorative, as in an arbor framing a walkway into your yard, or more secure, giving entrance through a full fence. The latter can prevent someone from seeing or accessing your private space.

Cross Bracing for Stability

One of the most important things in a gate’s design is a cross-brace in the structure, starting from the top corner opposite the hinges (free-swinging side of the gate), pointing downward to the lower hinged side of the gate. It acts like a giant shelf bracket that will hold the gate structure at a 90-degree angle to the post on which it’s mounted. Forget this part and your gate will not stand up to the wear and tear in a busy yard.

The cross-brace is usually constructed of 2 x 4 material and acts as a compression load, keeping the gate square. Here’s how: gravity allows the weight of the gate to be transferred inward down the length of the 2 x 4 to the bottom hinge, and then into the post – instead of directly downward, overworking the hinges. It is the simple physics of the triangle shape that makes this work. If you ensure that the cross-brace is angled greater than 45 degrees from the base of the gate, the door will support itself, and last much longer.

Posts and Structure

Depending on where you live, the next thing to check before installing the posts is your area’s typical depth of frost. You want to ensure that your posts are set securely into the concrete below the indicated frost level line. This provides a solid anchor into the ground. If frost is not a factor in your region, a depth of 30 inches should be enough to support a gate.

To install the posts, you’ll need to dig a hole between 30 and 36 inches deep. The hole should be about 6 inches wider than the post. For example, if the post is 4 inches wide, the hole should be 10 inches wide. Pour a few inches of gravel in the hole, which will help with drainage. Drop the post into the hole. Fill in around the post with concrete, while keeping the post plumb with a level. This is easier with a second person. Make any final adjustments to the post to ensure it is straight up and down.

Next, consider the width of the gate. A single gate should not be built much wider than 42 inches, or 3.5 feet. A wider gate will lower the angle of the cross-brace and the gate will sag as described above. To ensure a cross-brace angle of greater than 45 degrees, the door height must be greater than the width. If the gate is 3.5 feet wide, for example, the height should be greater than 3.5 feet. If you’d like an opening to be wider, and you feel that a double door gate will not work for you, researching and investing in stronger metal brackets could help hold things square. But, as mentioned, the best way to keep the gate true is to structure it that way.

Source: Fix.com Blog

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