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How to Install a Fence Gate

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner install a new gate to fence in her pet dog

Steps for installing a fence gate:

  1. Drive the post hole digger into the ground, separate the handles, and set aside any soil the digger collects. Do this until you have two holes each about 30” deep.
  2. If objects like a brick or rock are encountered that the post hole digger can’t remove, an iron digging bar can help loosen the object.
  3. When the hole is close to the desired depth, the round end of the digging bar can be used to compact the soil in the hole to its final level.
  4. Use the level to ensure the post is plumb in both directions.
  5. Fill the hole with a few inches of soil to hold the post plumb. Use the round end of the digging bar to compact that soil.
  6. Mix the concrete in the wheelbarrow with a little bit of water. Ensure the water is spread evenly throughout the mix, but don’t let the mix get too wet.
  7. Fill around the post evenly with concrete until the concrete is 3” below grade. A piece of scrap wood can be used to compact the concrete and remove air bubbles.
  8. When setting the second post, use a board and the level to ensure both post heights are the same.
  9. Once the post is plumb, use a scrap board the width of the finished gate as a spacer to keep the correct distance between both posts.
  10. Predrill and then attach the hinges to the gate sections.
  11. Predrill and attach the hinges to the posts using lag screws.
  12. Attach locking hardware and drop rod to the gate.

Resources

For a custom opening like this, a fence contractor could fabricate a custom gate to fit your opening.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Pro Fence Company.


Tools