How to Install a Gate on Your Farm Driveway
Installing a driveway gate is fairly straightforward, however a couple of pitfalls await the unwary. The old carpenter's rule of measuring twice and cutting once is appropriate here, as are considerations on soil and gate types. The type of gate to be used, for example stainless steel or aluminum, as well as gate width should be decided ahead of time. The post hinging the gate should be sturdy enough for the job, and should be set in concrete and preferably braced by another post.
Place the gate across the driveway in the location it will be installed. Mark where the ends meet the ground with the post hole digger and remove the gate, setting it to the side.
Dig the holes to the appropriate depth and width. The hole for the hinge post will need to be slightly wider and should accommodate lots of cement.
Place the larger treated post in the hinge-side hole. Don't fill in the hole yet. Measure off the placement of the lower hinge. For instance, if you desire the gate to swing 6 inches above the ground, mark the lower hinge hole appropriately. Remove the post from the hole and place it next to the gate on the ground, lining up your mark with the lower hinge clamp on the gate, then mark where the upper hinge will hang from the post.
Set the hinge post back in the hole, taking care your marks face the road. Fill the hole with quick cement and allow it to set. Make sure the post is level.
Drill the hinge holes with the bit, and screw in the hinge bolts. Set the gate on the hinges. At this point, note if the gate is level or not. Remove the gate and adjust the hinge bolts. Screw the bottom hinge bolt in further to lower the far end of the gate; screw the top bolt in further to raise the far end or vice versa. Set the gate back on the hinge bolts and make further adjustments as necessary until gate is level.
Place the latching post in the other hole, making sure it is positioned close enough to the gate to allow latching or chaining. Once you are assured of its position, pour cement in the hole and allow it to set.
- "The Fence Bible: How to Plan, Install, and Build Fences and Gates to Meet Every Home Style and Property Need, No Matter What Size Your Yard;" Jeff Beneke; 2005
- If the gate is stainless steel and heavy, have a friend help lift it on and off the hinge bolts. When choosing gates, bear in mind that aluminum gates are light and don't rust, but may bend in places with heavy use over time. Stainless steel gates are heavier and very durable, but need to be mounted well to maintain their position over the years. Wooden gates, while attractive, will probably need to be hand crafted and might not be as durable as their metal cousins. Consider bracing the hinge post to another post if possible. This will help the hinge post remain steady over the years, and may be a necessity depending on your soil conditions.
- Buy new treated posts rather than reusing older ones, which may have been treated with arsenic and are no longer considered environmentally safe. Avoid using old railroad cross ties for hinge posts. Although creosote might not be as environmentally harmful as arsenic, concerns over termites and other pests in the ties persist.
John Rice is the technology director for a school district in Texas. He holds a Master of Science in educational administration from Texas A&M, and is a regular contributor to "TechEdge" and other educational publications. He has been writing professionally since 1998.