We have all seen it before: The sagging fence gate that has difficulty closing and drives us crazy. On an old fence the gate is often the thing that starts to go first. But what if you are not ready for a new fence and simply want to bring the life back into the gate ? Here are some simple tips to get your gate working properly again.
To start with, you need to understand why your gate is sagging and what is causing the sag. It could be anything from the post the gate hinges on to the actual hinges themselves. Start by inspecting the gate while it is attached to the fence post. Note any areas of separation between the joints of the fence and any areas where you can see the fence leaning. Once you have thoroughly inspected the gate remove it from its hinges so you can further check for problems with the gate off the post.
You can start to test the various components to figure out where the problem lays if you haven’t figured it out by now. Using a level, check both fence posts that the gate sits between to make sure they aren’t leaning. Shake each fence post to make sure that they are firm in the ground. Inspect the holes where the hinges attach to the fence posts to see if there is any rot or if they are too big for the hinge screws to properly fasten to. If you find any of the above problems it may be time to replace the fence posts.
With the fence off of its hinges you can now inspect for poor joints, rotting wood and loose supports and screws. If you have a carpenters square use it to make sure each corner of the gate is square. Check screws and nails to make sure they aren’t coming loose. Shake each support to check for rot or loose fasteners as well.
Once you have found the culprit of your sagging fence it is time to fix it up. This can range from replacing a fence post to adding supports to the actual gate. If your gate just needs to be tightened up you can look for kits that will help. You can find metal joints for each corner of the gate and cables to help hold the gate tight at your local hardware store. If you have found that your hinges are not holding you can simple change the location of the hinge and make sure you are using deep screws that are fastening into wood that is not rotten. If you cannot get a solid hold for the hinges consider using bolts an washers that go all the way through the wood.
Once you have reinforced your fence screw it back to the hinges and adjust any areas that are still sagging. For more reading and a detailed write up on how to fix a sagging fence you can check out this post at About.com.