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67drake
Sagging gates-help

My wife's uncle and I built a fence and gates in my yard a few years back. The gates are starting to sag,and therefore don't latch anymore. Uncle has since passed away and I don't have much carpentry experience.
The posts seem to be solid still,and fairly plumb,but the gates themselves sag.
Are these fixable? How?
Thanks!

A. Spruce
Re: Sagging gates-help

It will depend on how the gate was built, whether or not it can be repaired or should be rebuilt. Can you take a pic and post it for us of the framing?

The most common mistake I see with gates is that there is either no cross brace or it is installed wrong. Framing can be an issue as well. The size of the gate(s ) will also affect how much sag they will have or develop over time.

Basics:

The cross brace should extend from the top latch side to the bottom hinge side. Framing corners should be butted, not mitered. Hardware should be attached to the framing, not just the pickets.

67drake
Re: Sagging gates-help

Sorry,you must have wrote the reply before I inserted the pics in my 1st post.
Can I save these based on what you see? Yes I suppose I could redo them again,but I figure I'd just have the same problem,as these started to sag after only a few months. I hoped I could square and strengthen what I have now.

A. Spruce
Re: Sagging gates-help

As I suspected, the gates were not built properly, the biggest problem is that there is no cross brace.

Yes, you should be able to salvage this gate.

1 - Take off the vertical pieces that the hardware is attached to, as well as whatever that center piece is in the framing.
2 - Lay the gates on a flat surface and square them up.
3 - Lay your cross brace material from the bottom hinge side frame to the top plate at the latch side, then mark the brace piece for cutting.

Note: It is important that you install this brace correctly to get the best possible strength and longevity out of it. The bottom of the cross brace will be attached to the side of the frame not the bottom plate. The top of the cross brace will be attached to the top arm of the frame not the side leg.

4 - Cut the cross brace, set it in place, nail or screw it into the frame. For maximum strength, install fasteners from both the brace into the frame and from the frame into the brace.
5 - Flip the gate over and tighten all the picket fasteners as well as install two new fasteners through each picket into the cross brace. This will join all parts into one solid piece.
6 - Reinstall your vertical boards with the hinges and latches.
7 - Reinstall the gates.
8 - Go into house and get a beer and return to the gates.
9 - Open beer and admire your work ( Comfy chair and chips optional ) :cool:

67drake
Re: Sagging gates-help

Thanks!
Would this brace,I assume a 2x4,be laid out like the gate frame,or the pickets? IOW,when looking at the gate from behind,would you see the 2" or the 4" edge of the 2x4? (I hope this makes sense.)

A. Spruce
Re: Sagging gates-help

I would orient it the same as the rest of the frame, which means you would see the 2" cross section through the picket spaces.

And yes, you would use a 2x4 of the same material as the rest of the framing.

dj1
Re: Sagging gates-help

Take the gates down, disassemble them and reconstruct, they can't be fixed as is. While you are doing this, you can replace any rotten member.

Spruce gave you excellent points, follow them.

67drake
Re: Sagging gates-help

Thanks guys!
Spruce,thanks for taking the time to write out in detail how to do this. I can picture exactly what your talking about.

A. Spruce
Re: Sagging gates-help

You are welcome. Please give us an update (with pics ) when you finish your project. :cool:

keith3267
Re: Sagging gates-help

A little BTW here, some people refer to this as Z bracing because it resembles the letter Z when done. The more common X bracing is used in buildings but it is not really as effective for use in a gate as a Z brace is.

A. Spruce
Re: Sagging gates-help
keith3267 wrote:

A little BTW here, some people refer to this as Z bracing because it resembles the letter Z when done. The more common X bracing is used in buildings but it is not really as effective for use in a gate as a Z brace is.

All an X bracing would do to a gate is add weight, which is what causes the problem to begin with. With the proper installation of a Z brace, no worries. I've never had a gate fail with a Z design. The key is that these braces provide compressive support, so they have to be installed so that the weight is bearing on them.

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