Adding a gate to an existing fence may seem like a difficult task, but it is generally fairly easy. The fence will need to be cut, but the cut section will be able to attach easily to the new posts that you install. Planning the job will help you avoid potential problems.
Choosing the right location for your gate is crucial. Select a location where the ground is level so the gate can swing freely. You’ll also want to pick a location where the fence is in good condition, since you’ll have to cut or tear down a portion of the existing fence. You don’t want to have to replace an entire section because the fence was in poor shape before you started working on it.
When installing gate posts, dig the hole for the post deeper and wider than you would normally, and add concrete to the hole to help brace your posts. Do so makes them more sturdy and also provides added support for the portions of the fence that will attach to the posts. Measure your gate so you’ll know how far apart your posts need to be, taking hinges and latches into account. You need to know exactly where to cut your existing fence, so you must figure out exactly where your fence posts will go before you start digging the holes.
Hinge Post Reinforcement
Reinforcing the post that the gate hinges hang from allows you to take much of the gate’s weight off the fence itself, keeping the gate from damaging the fence. You can reinforce the hinge post by placing a second post behind it, then connecting the two with metal brackets.
If you place concrete around both posts, they’ll gain additional reinforcement and will be able to hold the weight of the gate without a problem. You may also choose to reinforce both gate posts, as this will allow you to connect your existing fence to the reinforcement posts instead of the gate posts.
Your gate post should be level before you hang your gate. Level the post as you put it into the ground, then check that it has remained level while you fill in the post hole. Measure the gate and the post to ensure that the hinges are hung at the correct height and distance apart. The gate should hang one to four inches above the ground, depending on the type of gate you install. Install the latch on the opposite gate post, then hang the gate so that it will be supported by the hinges and latch.