How to hang your wooden gates
We’ve split the fitting of the gate hinges into two parts; if you’ve not yet fitted the hinges to the gates, then this should be done first – fitting the hinges to the gates. Below, we show you how to fit the hinges to the posts and get your gates hanging.
Fitting the Hinges to the Gate Posts
hThis section assumes you’ll be fitting the hinges to either the front or rear face of the timber gate posts and can be followed if the hinge pins (gudgeons) are fitted to the posts within the opening; you’ll just have to take into account the different clearances required and the different positions of the hinge pins in relation to the posts. If you are fitting the hinge pins directly to brickwork or stonework, then again, you’ll have to adapt this to take into account the different fixings required (we do recommend that you fit to some kind of wooden gate post, however, rather than direct to the brickwork, as this will give a stronger fixing for the hinges.).
Any text in green relates solely to fitting a pair of gates and can be dis-regarded if fitting a single pedestrian or garden gate.
1 – Lift the gates into your opening and decide on the clearance gap underneath your gates (normally 50mm / 2 inches is used and recommended but you can narrow this down slightly – I wouldn’t tend go less than around 25mm, however) and pack your gates up to suit; you can use either flat pieces of timber to get the desired height under the gates, or use folding wedges – folding wedges make it easier to adjust the height.
If fitting a pair of gates, then place one of the gates within the opening and pack up the gate accordingly from the floor and off the post you are hanging the gate from.
Again, if hanging a pair of gates and the ground underneath the gates slopes from one side of your opening to the other, then start by fitting the gate on the highest side of the opening and minimise the clearances at this point.
If you start at the opposite end from this, you may find you’ve not left enough clearance under this gate, so that when you come to hang the next gate, it could be sitting on the ground!
2a – If fitting a single pedestrian gate then split the clearances between the two gate posts so that they are equal; you should have 20mm in total, giving you clearances of 10mm on each side of the gate. Place packers or wedges between the gate and post to hold the gate whilst you fit the hinge pins.
Setting up a single pedestrian gate within your opening
2b – If fitting a pair of driveway / entrance gates then your clearances are normally 30mm; split 10mm between each gate and gate post and 10mm between the two gates in the centre; pack or wedge the gate off the gate post by 10mm. You may need assistance in holding the gates as you fit the hinge pins.
Setting up a pair of gates within your opening, prior to hanging
3 – Once the gate is wedged or packed in place, check the top of the gate for level and double-check that the gate stile is plumb (vertical upright of the gate frame). If anything is out of level/plumb, then adjust wedges/packers accordingly and then re-check for level and plumb.
4 – Once you’re happy that everything is plumb/level (depending on where you are placing the spirit level), get the bottom hinge pin and slide up it through the bottom hinge band as far up as it will go, until the hinge pin makes contact with the main part of the hinge band. Once in place, mark out a couple of screw holes to be pre-drilled, then pre-drill.
5 – Once you’ve pre-drilled the screw holes, put a couple of screws in and tighten then up; again don’t worry about drilling all the screw holes out at this stage, just do a minimum of two.
6a – If fitting the top hinge pin upside down (to avoid smaller gates being lifted off their hinges) then slide the pin through the band and push it all the way down, until it comes into contact with the main body of the hinge. Mark out and then pre-drill a couple of the screw holes and then fire the screws home.
6b – If fitting the top hinge pin the normal way up, then slide the hinge pin up through the band as far up as it will go. Mark out holes, pre-drill couple of holes and screw the hinge pin to the gate post.
7a – Remove packers at the side of the gate from underneath and check for level and plumb. If the gate is not plumb/level, then adjust accordingly by re-positioning the hinge pin, NOT the hinge (it will stand out a mile!).
Once the gates is/are level and plumb, remove packers and swing the gates open and closed to check it/they don’t catch on any obstacles, such as rising ground, that you’ve not taken into account.
7b – If hanging a pair of wooden gates, then once you’re happy that the first of the gates is plumb and is swinging correctly, move onto the second gate and pack the gate off the floor to match the height of the first gate that you’ve just hung.
Place packers between this gate and the gate post and between this gate and the one that it is already swinging.
At this stage, it’s best to drive a wedge under the gate you’ve just hung to stop it swinging while you work.
Setting up the second driveway gate prior to hanging
8 – If everything is okay, then drill any remaining screw holes within both the hinge pin and hinge band and screw up tightly.
9 – You can now drill out for the hinge bolt, through the hinge.
When you drill this out, you want a 10mm drill bit with a spur on the end; this is a sharpened point that protrudes from the rest of the drill bit; you can get normal twist drill bits like this or you can use a flat / spade bit.
(Both are shown on the left: the twist drill with spur as A, and the flat/spade bit as B).
Place the drill bit in the square bolt hole of the hinge and drill through the gate until you, or your glamorous assistant if you have one (!), can see the spur of the bit coming through the other side of the gate.
It’s best to go slowly doing this as you do not want to find the drill bit going all the way through the gate as there is a risk of bursting out/splitting the opposite side of the gate.
If you’re doing this on your own, it’s best to use a drill with a depth stop; or, you can mark the drill bit at the depth required with some insulation tape or similar. It’s important that you do not drill right the way through the gate from one side to the other, as you’ll more than likely end up splitting the opposite side of the gate you are drilling from.
10 – Once the spur of the drill bit is visible on the opposite side (i.e. the opposite side of the gate from where you have drilled), switch sides and place the spur of the drill bit into the hole that the spur has just made, and drill back through clearing any sawdust out.
11 – Repeat the process for any remaining bolt holes and then slide bolts through the holes. Place the washers over the bolts, place the nuts on and tighten up.
10mm flat/spade bit (or any 10mm bit with a spur on the end),
4mm twist drill bit (for pre-drilling screw holes),
17mm spanner or socket set,
Timber packers/folding wedges
(if using folding wedges you will need four)
Why Not Position the Gates Within the Gateway First?
You will make more work for yourself by having to worry about the gate falling, either away from you or towards you as you will end up having to pack and wedge everywhere to stop this. For a pair of driveway gates, again fit the hinges to the gate whilst the gate is leaning against a wall (or lying down – the gate not you!) and then move one gate to the opening and fix the hinges to the post and repeat the process for the second gate.
The only time I would fit the hinges to the gates whilst the gate is propped and wedged up within the opening is if I was fitting to hinge pins that are already present (i.e. built in to the brickwork / stonework), as you need the hinges positioned on the gate to match the locations in the brickwork.
Not fitted the hinges to the gates first, do so first! > Fitting the hinges to the gates