How I Made Gates to Fit a 12 Foot Opening
I have a project where I have to remove an existing 8 foot gate and replace it with a 12 foot gate. Actually, the 12 foot gate will be 2 six foot gates that will meet in the center. The first thing I need to do is remove the existing 8 foot gate, disconnect the hardware, and take the gate off. The gate is made from pressure treated lumber and it is heavy, it also sags so that the latch end drags on the ground and the latch doesn’t make up. This is mostly because it’s made from pressure treated lumber and it was never properly braced and the hinge side post was installed improperly. These are things that need to be corrected.
With that thought in mind, I took out the 8 foot gate and took an additional 5 feet of fence to give me a total opening of 13 feet. Of course, I removed the gatepost since it was leaning. Since I’ll be making the gates to fit the opening, the first thing to do is create the opening, therefore. I used a piece of 6×8 treated lumber for the hinge post on each side. I dug a 15 inch diameter hole 36 inches deep for each post and put six inches of pea gravel in the bottom. The pea gravel allows water to drain away from the bottom rather than accumulate. Then I plumbed up each of the gateposts using 2 plumb bobs on each post, one on each adjacent face to get the post perfectly vertical. Then I nailed wood bracing to the posts to hold them in this perfect vertical orientation and finally filled the holes with concrete. After two days, the concrete had set up sufficiently so I could begin the gate building project and my finished opening measured 12 feet 6 inches, which is just about perfect.
I measured across the top of the two posts and across the bottom and the 2 dimensions were exactly the same. Now it was simply a matter making two 6 foot wide gates. As a contractor, one of my preference is for making this type of project is to use a lap joint. Basically what this means is that I measure the width of the board I’m going to use, in this case a 2×4, and then make a cut halfway through another 2×4 that distance away from the end and then chisel or plane it out, and up doing this twice for each corner. In this way, everything lays up nice and square. I apply glue and then screw them together and I have a nice square corner. This, however, is way beyond the skill level that a typical homeowner has and it’s also time consuming. Therefore, I went to YouTube, then did a Hey Google, Hey Siri, and Hey Alexa search to see what other options there are for building absolutely rock solid bullet proof, gates. There are lots of ways you can make a gate. Typically, somebody lays up 4 2×4’s, nails them together with a cross brace and puts the pickets on it, and then you have a gate. The more expedient way is to take a piece of stockade fencing, cut it to the size of the gate, put a cross brace on it, and call it a gate. Although both of these techniques work and create a gate, generally speaking, it is very difficult to achieve, and then after installation, maintain nice tight 90° corners. Square corners are critical to having the gate swing in and out of its opening freely without binding. The quickest and most efficient solution to this is to use a gate maker kit. These are made by several companies such as: Adjust-A-Gate, National Hardware, True Latch, Homax, Pylex, Stanley, Shepherd, Gate Products, Yardlock, and Tech Team https://www.techteamproducts.com/. We happen to like Tech Team’s 738 https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Exclusive-Heavy-Duty-Included/dp/B07JLY516K/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=tech+team+gate&qid=1566332424&s=gateway&sr=8-6 the best because not only does it incorporate all the features of everybody else’s, but this particular set of gate corner brackets includes a socket that the 2×4 frame extends into, thereby ensuring an absolutely rock solid, secure, and long lasting gate with perfect 90° corners. Not only did I use the Tech Team® gate making kit, which made absolutely beautiful perfect ninety degrees square corners that I know will not sag, I also decided to make the gate out of cedar rather than the treated lumber because the cedar is durable and extremely light. The result was a solid set of gates that swung in and out perfectly and looked great.