How to Make a Gate With a Pre-made Fence

Prefab fence panels provide a ready-made basis for simple fence gates. Choose pre-made fence with full 2x4 rails, versus 2x3, and pickets attached with screws, rather than nails, for a stronger gate. The key to building a long lasting gate is to hang it level and attach the hinges firmly to prevent the gate from sagging. Heavier hardware is the first part of the equation. Bolting the hinges through the gate rather than attaching it with lag bolts is another.

Use a socket wrench to snug down bolts to prevent sagging.
  1. Measure the distance between the posts on either side of the gate opening at the top and bottom. Mark the fence panel to width 1/4-inch smaller than the shorter of the two dimensions. Cut the fence panel to width with a circular saw.

  2. Lay the cut panel flat on a pair of sawhorses. Use a gate hinge as a template to mark the panel for bolt holes. Mark the holes in line with the 2x4 rails of the fence panel.

  3. Bore through the fence panel in each marked location with a 5/16-inch wood bit. Position the hinges over the holes and tap a 5/16-inch by 2 3/4-inch bolt through each hole from the face of the gate. Thread a fender washer and lock nut onto each bolt and tighten them firmly with a socket wrench.

  4. Place an extra picket on the ground between the two gate posts. Stand the gate on the picket between the two posts with the hinge side firmly against the post on the hinge side.

  5. Mark the fence for bolts using the hinge as a template. Bore the fence the same way as the gate. Tap a bolt through the hinge and fence and thread a washer and nut onto the end of the bolt and tighten them with a socket wrench.

  6. Remove the picket from between the posts and test the gate for proper operation. Mark the gate at 30-inches high. Position the gate half of the latch centered on the 30-inch mark. Mark the gate for bolt holes. Bore bolt holes through the gate for the hinges. Tap a bolt through each hole and thread a washer and nut onto each bolt. Tighten them firmly with a socket wrench.

  7. Swing the gate closed and mark the latch side post where the latch hits it. Position the post half of the latch on the latch side post aligned with the mark. Mark the screw holes on the post and bore pilot holes. Drive one lag screw into each hole in the gate half of the latch to attach it.

  8. Close and open the gate several times to check the latch for proper operation and adjust as needed.

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