John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Fence Gates

Fence Gates provide the finishing touch to a fence. A good gate must be durable. It will provide pasture access and mobility for many years. There are a number of factors that should be taken into account when selecting and installing fence gate.

The final task in any fencing project is hanging the gates. Select good quality gates that will stand the test of time.

Be sure that you have planned for adequate gates to allow easy access to your pastures. Gates are expensive, so it is often easy to skimp in this area, both in terms of quality and quantity. Both decisions are a mistake. At the very least, you should plan for future gates by setting your posts where they will be placed during the original fence construction. It is much easier to cut the fence and tie it off on existing posts than it is to try to install new corner posts along an existing fence line.

Gates come in a variety of styles, widths from 4 feet to 16 feet, or more, and several different finishes. Of course, it is also possible to build your own gate, but this is generally not cost effective.

Before selecting your gate design, it is important to be clear about it's purpose. For instance, if the end goal is as much to keep predators out as animals in, you will want a gate with a welded wire mesh covering it, or very closely placed cross bars. On the other hand, interior gates might only need to have cross bars, since they will be primarily for animal containment.

We suggest steel gates. These are available with either paint, powder coat or galvanized finish. We prefer galvanized, although powder coat finishes provide a good balance between economy and durability.

Another factor to consider when selecting gates is the width. (Actually, this should have been determined in the original fence design.) We generally use a minimum width of ten feet, which facilitates the movement of most equipment. If there are gates that will only receive human or animal traffic, then smaller widths can be used. If, on the other hand, there are areas that will potentially need to allow large equipment access, an appropriately wider gate should be used. It is no fun having to remove a section of fence to allow a large cat, dump truck or back hoe entrance into a pasture, only to rebuild the fence when the job is done.

Hanging a gate is pretty easy. You will need a cordless drill, a long bit of the correct size for your hinges (usually 3/8 inch or so), a level and a couple of wrenches.

First you will want to mark the location on the post where the hinge posts will be installed. Use the level to make sure that these are plumb. If they are not perfectly vertical the gate will tend to swing open in one direction whenever it is not latched. Make sure that your gate will be high enough off of the ground to swing freely.

Drill holes large and deep enough for the hinge posts. Depending on the actual design of the gate and hinges, these may penetrate all the way through the post. For some gates, you will need to make sure the hinge posts are an appropriate distance apart, although on most gates the actual hinges are adjustable.

Install the hinge posts. Many of these are made to screw in, while others require nuts and washers for installation. Whichever type is used, be sure that when you are done the hinge posts point in opposite directions and are plumb. The bottom hinge post should point up, the top one should point down.

It is tempting to install the hinge posts both facing up. This way all you have to do is set the gate on the hinges. Unfortunately, all an animal has to do is put its head through the gate and lift in order to take it right off its hinges again.

Now you are ready to hang the gate on the hinge posts. Assuming that the hinges are adjustable, loosen the top hinge. Set the bottom hinge on its post and then slide the upper hinge over its post and tighten it up.

Your gate is installed, and your fence is complete.


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