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Hanging a fence gate

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

Posts are the foundation

Listen to this radio show (MP3 download) or read below.

Radio interview source: Mark Mellow, owner, Tahoe Fence

It takes some planning to hang a fence gate. My husband, Bob, has done a few, and he can tell you that whether it's for livestock or a garden gate, you have to understand the forces of gravity.

Mark Mellow owns a fencing company, and says installing a gate successfully starts with the fence posts framing the gate.

"The bigger the gate obviously you want a bigger post," Mellow says. "And you want the posts anchored adequately whether they're driven into the ground or set in concrete. And then you want more fence pulling on the other side of the post to counterbalance the weight of the gate. If you just have a post that's set into the ground, you're hanging a gate off of it, that gate's probably more likely to sag because the post over time is going to pull somewhat if there's nothing pulling on the opposite side."

Put wedges between the gate and the posts so that the gaps are even, with a half-inch clearance on each side. Allow 1 to 4 inches of space from the bottom of the gate to the ground. If the ground slopes, level it or hang the gate so it clears the highest point of the slope.

Mark the location on the post where the hinges are to be installed. Use a level to make sure they're plumb. If they're not perfectly vertical, the gate will tend to swing open whenever it's not latched.

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