Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY: Constructing a side gate Part One

Since we moved in, been struggling to find time to do all the little jobs, but we're slowly crossing them off the list. I'd tried to get some people in to quote on making a side gate, but no-one is interested in small jobs - or if they are, they quote exorbitant amounts to make it not worth your while. Anyway, we need a proper side gate to keep the dog secure.

Thing you might need: Safety gear( gloves, eye and ear protection. A level. Drill/driver. Timber screws. Measuring tape. Hammer or mallet. 

So we picked up a Fortress gate kit from our local hardware supplier. This is just a frame kit, you can choose from a variety of heights and widths, and if it doesn't suit your width exactly, you can cut the width using a hacksaw. For us, the 1.8m wide kit was just right.

The horizontal bars are on the left, and the vertical bars are on the right. Hinges are pre-installed. I laid out the kit so I could figure out where each section would go. Since it's a wide gate, there's a diagonal brace. Very important the the brace runs diagonally down to the bottom hinge as shown in the photo below! If it's the other way around, it doesn't brace the gate in compression and your gate will come apart!

Anyway, it was pretty simple to put it together, took me about 10 minutes. Use a mallet or hammer with a bit of scrap wood to put everything together. The kit comes with some self-tapping metal screws to secure all the parts once you've put it together.

End result. This gate is 1.8m wide and 1.4m high.

So this is where the gate is going to be placed. I thought about attaching the gate with the hinges against our wall, but I'm not that keen on using Dynabolts, chemset screws etc into our brickwork to hold the weight of the gate. Instead, I've decided to mount the gate with the hinges on one of the existing fenceposts, the one painted a bit grey on the right. The fencepost isn't quite plumb vertical, but I can allow for that. Should the fence be replaced in future, just need to unscrew the hinges and re-mount the gate.


Ideally you'd have a second person to help you install these hinges. Estimate where the gate should go and make sure it clears any ground covering you have. Try to get the hinges plumb vertical. The kit doesn't come with any screws to install the hinges, so I got a packet of these timber screws as shown.

After both hinges are secured, hang your gate frame!

And if you took some care, the gate should be nice and level after all your work.

 So with the frame all installed and level, the next step is to choose what cladding to put on it. You could use traditional timber pickets, colorbond, slats etc. We'll head out later this week to pick what cladding to use; most likely a Merbau to be stained dark; though I'm also considering a composite product that doesn't require ongoing maintenance.

Cost of the frame kit was about $150, plus a few bucks for the hinge screws. Just need to add in the cost of cladding and more self-tapping metal screws to attach it to the frame, and then a latch to secure it against the house. So far, a pretty simple project, not too costly, and well worth giving it a shot if you can't get any reliable tradesmen to give you a quote on making your own side gate!


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