Building Large Wood Gates

Advice from James at the Front Counter

Here at CFC Fences and Decks I am in charge of materials sales and I sell materials to Contractors and homeowners. Customers often come to our showroom asking advice on how to build large gates bigger than normal walk gates. Something to keep in mind is with a wider gate the heavier the panel is going to be which will cause more stress on the post that is supporting it. If the post is not sturdy enough to support the gate panel; over time it will pull the post out of plumb (not vertical), causing the gate to not work properly.

Standard Privacy style fences use a 4×4 post which is about 3-7/8”x3-7/8”. This size post is great for walk gates which are between 3’-4’ Wide.  Gate panels 5’ or wider I suggest using a 6×6 post which is 5-3/4” x5-3/4”.  If your gate panel is going to be 6’ or wider I suggest using 2-6×6’s bolted together. Then using a Strap Hinge rather than a T hinge you can attach it to both posts giving the gate more support.  Let’s say your post is sturdy enough you still might have problems with the gate panel sagging and dragging across the ground.  Sometimes just the diagonal 2×4 is not enough the keep the gate square.  In those cases you could use an Anti-Sag Cable.  It attaches at the bottom of the gate on the latch side and stretches up and attaches again at the top of the hinge side of the gate.  This cable has a feature that makes it adjustable so as your gate sags over time you can tighten the cable to fix it.

Another solution for wide wood gates 8’ or wider is to use a chain Link gate frame to attach the slats to then using a large 3 or 4” in diameter round metal post with the hardware to match. Gate wheels are great but they work on a case by case basis. They only really work if the ground under and around the gate is the same elevation.  The gate wheels we carry do have a spring in them that logically would be able to allow the wheel to follow a sloped ground however it can be tricky to get them to work properly.  Wheels work the best on a solid surface like concrete or asphalt.

Building Large Gates

Advice From James at the Front Counter:  

Here at CFC Fences and Decks I am in charge of materials sales and I sell materials to Contractors and homeowners. Customers often come to our showroom asking advice on gates bigger than normal sized walk gates. Something to keep in mind is with a wider gate the heavier the panel is going to be which will cause more stress on the post that is supporting it. If the post is not sturdy enough to support the gate panel; over time it will pull the post out of plumb (not vertical), causing the gate to not work properly.

We stock 4’ and 5’ wide Fortress Iron gates that are 4’ and 6’ tall. The 2” posts we have are strong enough for these stock gates. Let’s say you need a wider gate like a 12’ wide driveway gate. We can build 2- 6’ wide gates to make a double swing gate. We can build custom size gate panels up to 8’ wide that is our restriction because we make them out of the fence panels which are just under 8’ wide.

If your hanging a gate that is 6’ or larger I would suggest using a larger post like a 2.5” or 3” post. Also for larger gates we build them with what is called a truss rod. It is a steel bar that extends from the bottom of the latch side up to the top of the hinge side of the gate. This truss rod will keep the gate square which will keep it from hitting the ground.  The truss rod has an adjustable nut at the top that you can tighten over time as the gate sags.

For gate panels larger than 8’ wide or for decorative gates with arches we go to Fortress who manufactures them for us. For Commercial projects they also make large Swing Gates, Roll Gates, and Cantilever Gates.  The largest swing gate panel they can make is 18’ wide; two can be combined to make a 36’ double gate. Roll and Cantilever gates can be made up to 40’ wide, two can be use to make a double gate up to 80’ wide.

Gate Kits

A gate kit is a prepackaged set of hardware that includes all the necessary materials to secure your gate.  At CFC Fences and Decks we sell hardware for single and double wood gates, composite fence gates, and iron gates.  We also have a variety of options for attaching your gate to concrete pillars and all other types of fencing.  If you want an automatic opening driveway gate or a key locked gate then we can help you.  Our most popular gate kit is the standard Trex composite fence package.  It contains our custom post latch and hinges, two 6 inch handles, all the necessary self-drilling Tek screws, and installation instructions.  Everything is stainless steel and powder coated black to give your gate a sleek and clean look.  The double Trex gate kit includes everything from the single with an extra set of hinges and a 24 inch drop rod.  We have concrete anchors and instructions for installation on a rock wall.  Our wood gate kits consist of t-hinges, a deluxe post latch, and two 9 inch handles.  A double kit for wood is the same as the single with another set of hinges and drop rod.  All of the wood hardware is stainless steel powder coated black.  In some cases with large and heavy gates, you will need a strap hinge to ensure that your gate functions properly.  A strap hinge is longer and more robust than a t-hinge and a strap hinge is used with a double post configuration.  Using two posts right next to each other provides extra support for heavy gates and keeps your post from leaning.  With our wood gate kits we also recommend a bolt kit, which includes 8 carriage bolts with washers and nuts, and 6 lag screws.  This kit sandwiches the gate lumber together and secures the hinges to the post.  Iron gate customers have many options.  We carry a variety of self closing and non-self closing hinges, basic latches, key latches, and electronic locking latches.  When you have CFC Fences and Decks build your gate, we will make it fit any opening and work properly with the hardware you select.

Trex Gate Adjustment

Trex composite fence is made out of a mixture of recycled plastics and wood, a Trex composite fence gate weighs about 100 lbs.  Over time your new Trex composite fence gate may come out of alignment and start to sag due to expansion and contraction in the wood particles and the weight of the gate on the hinges.  This happens even when your Trex composite fence gate is properly installed and there is a simple fix to get your gate working properly again.  One way to tell if your gate needs some minor adjustments is to try opening and closing it.  Does the latch fit together properly? And is the action smooth?  If not then your gate may be sagging.  Most commonly, a Trex composite fence gate will sag in an outward direction away from the attached post and you will need to raise the latch side of the gate.  When using CFC Fences and Decks custom Trex composite fence gate hinges, on the top hinge loosen the post side nut and tighten the gate side nut.  Or, on the bottom hinge, loosen the gate side nut and tighten the post side nut.  Keep in mind that the latter option will push out the bottom of your gate creating a larger gab between the post and gate.

Trex Gates Trex Gates

In extreme cases of sag especially prevalent with oversized gates, an anti-sag kit may be beneficial.  Anti-sag kits contain a cable that is attached to your gate on the bottom of the latch side and on the top of the post side.  This cable is adjustable and adds some extra support to the internal metal frame of the gate.  Here at CFC Fences and Decks we are gate experts.  We specialize in wood, composite, iron, and faux rock wall fencing and we can assist you in adjusting any kind of gate.  Please contact our knowledgeable staff for help.  Here is a video showing a simple Trex composite fence gate adjustment.

Building Large Gates: Trex

Here at CFC Fences and Decks I am in charge of materials sales and I sell materials to Contractors and homeowners. Customers often come to our showroom asking advice on gates bigger than normal walk gates. Something to keep in mind is with a wider gate the heavier the panel is going to be which will cause more stress on the post that is supporting it. If the post is not sturdy enough to support the gate panel; over time it will pull the post out of plumb (not vertical), causing the gate to not work properly.

Trex material is a very dense material which makes it very heavy a lot heavier than wood gates.  Our Trex Gates that we build in our shop are built with 16 gauge steel welded interior frame, which helps prevent sagging.  To help make the trex post sturdy enough we use a 12 gauge steel post insert that is 3 sided. You will want to make sure you pour the posts at least 30” under ground to make sure it is sturdy enough and use at least 2 bags of concrete to ensure it has a big enough base.  The Hinges are attached to both the steel in the gate panel and the steel in the post with self tapping screws to give it a firm attachment.  On gate panels 6’ or wider I suggest using our thicker steel post insert. This thing is one heavy beast; it is 7 gauge steel on all 4 sides (as the gauge # goes down the thicker the steel).  With larger gates this size you might also want to put two posts for the hinges to attach to and put more hinges on the gate.  You might also consider putting anti-sag cable on it, or depending on the circumstances a gate wheel might also work.  There are limitations on how wide we can build trex gate panels. The widest we can build them is just under 8’ because the longest the material comes is 8’, However; even then we don’t suggest it because of how heavy they are. Keep in mind that custom sized gates are more expensive. We suggest sticking with our standard size gate panels which are for 46-1/4” and 65-3/4” openings.  These can also be combined to make double gates.