If you have a fence gate that binds, won't latch or has sagged out of shape, now is the time to repair it. Most wooden gates aren't overly strong. With hard use, and continual exposure to the weather, everything begins to sag out of shape. Sometimes a repair can be as simple as replacing a hinge,
but the longer you wait to fix it the more complex the repairs can become."
It's best to check the condition of the hinges first. If the hinges are bent, replace them with heavier ones. If the screws look weak or too small, consider replacing them with longer screws or stronger bolts. You can even add a third hinge of the same type slightly above the mid-point of the gate for extra strength. Keep in mind that any gate more than 5 feet high or 3 feet wide should have a minimum of 3 hinges.
If the hinges are in good condition, examine the condition of the gate post. Check to see if the wood is deteriorating or if the gate post is leaning. Here's where a level will come in handy.
To replace a gate post, keep these thoughts in mind:
1) Determine the condition of the gate post. If signs of extensive deterioration exist, replace it with a new gate post treated with a preservative.
2) If damage does exist, remove the old gate post and dig a new post hole at least 3 feet deep. Because end and gate posts need to be stronger, they should be 12 inches deeper than line posts, and about 2 1/2 to 3 times the width of the square post - approximately 10-12 inches for a 4-inch post.
3) To make digging your post hole easier, we recommend renting an auger or post hole digger.
4) Once the hole is dug, set the post in concrete. Estimate about 1 to 1 1/2 bags of concrete mix for a 4-inch gate post set about 2-3 feet deep.
5) Use a level to double check the gate post for alignment. You have approximately 20 minutes after pouring the cement to force the post into a new position. Then wait at least two days before installing the gate.
6) If a deteriorated gate post isn't the problem, but your gate still leans, you can straighten it and hold it upright with a turnbuckle and a steel wire or a rod. Simply run it diagonally from the top of the leaning post to the bottom of the second or even third post, down the line.
7) Another option is to square up a gate by marking and cutting a 2 by 4 brace to fit diagonally between the top (latch side of the gate) and the bottom (hinge side). It's best to use screws, nails, or waterproof glue to hold the brace in place.
8) A wire and turnbuckle assembly is another technique to prevent sagging. It's the same concept as the 2 by 4 brace, but a support wire is used instead of a 2 by 4 wood brace.
9) Lastly, always take into account the weather. Your gate may work well in dry weather, but is a bear to close during the winter. If that's the case, plane or cut off the sides so that in dry weather you have a 1/4 inch clearance on the hinge side and 1/2 inch clearance on the latch side.
10) Conversely, a fence may shrink so much in the hot dry weather that the gate's latch doesn't catch at all. In this case, just relocate the latch or replace it with a stronger one.
Whatever corrective measure you choose, Wecan help you make your job easier by renting you the proper equipment for your job.