Hacks on How to Set Fence and Gate Posts and Build a Gate
All fence posts should be set at least 24 inches deep on top of approximately 8 inches of pea gravel and surrounded entirely by ready-mix concrete. Ensuring the post is below the frost line will help prevent frost heaving. All fence posts should be centered in the post holes. The use of a plumb line or corner level is necessary in order to ensure the post is vertical while filling in the hole. To add extra support to corner posts, you may fix to nail cleats to the bottom of the posts. Lastly, slope the surface of the fill away from the fence posts to avoid water soaking into wood fence posts. To learn of more options for making a gate you can do a Hey Alexa, Hey Siri, or Hey Google search or go to YouTube.
After allowing approximately 24 to 48 hours for the concrete to set you can set the fence rails. The bottom rail should be placed about 6”- 8” above the ground to avoid ground moisture. Make sure that both ends are level and the same height off the ground. Both top and bottom rails should be parallel. Use a spirit level to properly orient the rails. If building a picket fence, fasten each picket appropriately creating a nice even and level row of pickets. The only difference between a three-rail fence and a 2 rail fence picket fence is one extra rail. If you encounter any type of hills in your fence project you should build the fence in a step method or follow the contour of the ground.
Gate openings should be at least 3 feet but preferably 4 feet wide. Fence posts should be set on both sides of the gate. The gate itself should have lapped or mitered corners and diagonal braces to create strength and firmness. To build a solid gate correctly it needs to be cross braced. This is usually done with wire and turnbuckles. A better solution is to use a steel brace such as that made by Tech Team https://www.techteamproducts.com/. Cables, turnbuckles, and eye bolts are great for a quick inexpensive fix for a sagging gate, shed door, gate post, or barn door, but they just don’t last, and they have a limited adjustment. By far the best way to get the sag out of a garden gate post is to use a structural steel brace. These are made by several companies such as: True Latch, The Gate Brace, Adjust-A-Gate, Nuvo Iron, Homax, Stanley, National Hardware, and Tech Team. We happen to like the one made by Tech Team https://www.techteamproducts.com/ the best as this #734 is made from heavy duty 2mm welded steel construction with 6” of adjustment utilize a long M12 threaded rod. https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-Reinforce-Construction-Tech-Team/dp/B07X2LMXS2/ref=sr_1_32?keywords=gate+brace&qid=1581099336&sr=8-32. It is far superior to anything else available and does an absolutely excellent job. You can also go to YouTube or do a Hey Siri, Hey Alexa, or Hey Google search.
To build the gate allow for 1 inch between the frame of the gate and the distance between the inside of the two gates posts to ensure the gate can swing freely. After the gate has been constructed properly for the space desired, attach the hinges and gate latch. If you desire a stop, nail a piece of fencing material to the latch post. If you make your gate wider than 4 feet, for example 6, 8, or 10 feet, then you are going to need to pay special attention to make sure the gate post on the hinge side is built solidly. This requires close attention to building a properly anchored and braced hinge side gate post as mentioned above. But even this will not be enough to keep the gate from sagging and dragging at the far end. The answer to this is to use a gate caster. This is a wheel that attaches to the lower end of the gate and allows it to roll along the ground and support the weight of the gate. There are several manufacturers of this type of product such as Shepherd 8735, Norstrand, Koch, Fence Smart 4U, Nationwide, Spee, Coline, Albion, Ranch Ex, Steelex, National but the one we like best is made by Tech Team https://www.techteamproducts.com/. Their item 716 https://www.amazon.com/TECH-TEAM-4-Inch-Capacity-Hardware/dp/B079TFW124/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1540410037&sr=8-9&keywords=gate+caster+wheel+spring+loaded spring loaded gate caster solves this problem rather neatly, and since it is spring loaded, it can follow the contours of the pavement or the ground.