How To Put Up Gates


When you first start looking for a gate, you will find that they are generally organised in sales catalogues according to their intended location - side gates, entrance gates, drive gates, for example. It is the location of gates that influences their design, and a complimentary gate and fence makes a property appear well cared for.

Gates can be expensive if they are made to last: wooden gates are often made of softwoods for economy but, for such a focal point of your home, it's worth investing in oak or cedar types. Wrought-iron gates are, in fact, made from mild steel, which must be primed and painted to protect them from rust and decay. Whatever type or style of gate you choose, it is vital that they are mounted on sturdy posts or masonry piers.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1 Lay out the posts and gate

Place the posts and the gate on the ground, making sure the posts are parallel and the correct distance apart and allowing enough space to accommodate the hinges and the latch.

2 Dig trench

Dig a 300mm (1ft) wide trench across the entrance and long enough to contain the gateposts. Where the post holes are to be sited, dig holes 450mm (1ft bin) deep (for a low gate) or 600mm (2ft) deep (for a tall gate). Make sure that any sawn ends of timber have been treated with wood preservative.

3 Set posts into holes

Set the gate posts into the holes and fill with hardcore and concrete and use temporary cross battens to support them vertically until the concrete has set. Fill the trench with concrete at the same time and level it flush with the pathway.

4 Fit hardware

When the concrete has set completely, the gates can be hung and their hardware - e.g. latches, house number - attached. Use hardware designed for gates, as these are made to withstand both wear and tear and the weather.

5 Finishing

Wooden gates can be finished with varnish or primed and painted with an exterior-grade paint to match the paint-work of your house. Place newspaper under the gates and cover any plants to protect them from paint splashes.

Automatic Gates

If you are fortunate enough to live in a property with a long driveway, or if you live on a busy road where pulling over, getting out and opening drive gates can cause a traffic jam, or even in a small house or flat where you want to restrict access to welcome visitors only, then installing automatic gates can be a good idea. A simple system would lock and unlock the gate - to a garden flat, for example - by operating it from inside your home, like an entry-phone system.

More elaborate systems are available that allow you to drive in and out without getting out of your car, because the gates have been operated by a hand-held or in-car remote control device, or by specially installed sensors - pads located in the driveway or sensors mounted on gate-or fenceposts.

While all of these offer advantages, they can be very costly to install - and will need a back-up system in case of interruption in the mains power supply. For advice on security aspects, it's a good idea to contact your local Crime Prevention Officer, and for the latest car accessories, check out auto dealers and specialist car magazines. These systems can also be installed on garage doors, allowing you to open and close them from your car.

• Power tools used outdoors must be fitted with an RCD plug or connected to an RCD socket outlet.
• Avoid getting concrete on your skin when you mix and pour it, as it can cause serious irritation: wash off immediately using plenty of water.

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