Building a gate is a fun project that can have both practical and aesthetic benefits. If your fence does not currently have a gate, you no doubt already realize why you need one. Gate access through a fence is a necessity, especially if you use your backyard for entertaining. The following information will go over how to build a gate successfully.
The biggest practical benefit of a gate is simply that it allows access through a fence or wall. It allows you to maintain your privacy and security without inconveniencing yourself. Moving outdoor furniture, grills or other large objects into the back yard is much easier when you have a gate.
Aesthetically, gates can look very nice depending on the style, design and materials. Gates and fencing around a front yard are often more aesthetic than practical, but they can be both. This is also true for gates in the back fence. which can add visual appeal without sacrificing function.
Whether you need to build a gate where one does not exist, or you need to replace an old, worn out gate, we have you covered. This brief guide will provide some basic instructions on gate building to get you started.
Pros and Cons of Gates
- Easy access to fenced areas
- Can add a sense of privacy to a space
- Can add a lot of visual appeal
- Gates can be very elegant
- Gates can improve security by blocking access to people without a key
- Gates are a weak point in a fence, which can be a security risk
- Gates require maintenance
- Over time, gates will sag and wear out
For most people, the pros outweigh the cons. For instance, a gate will always create a weak point in a fence, but if it is built properly, it will not be that much weaker than the fence around it. In addition, having a fence with no gate is impractical.
Although gates require maintenance, it really is not much more maintenance than the rest of the fence needs. Fences sag and wear out, too. From a maintenance standpoint, tackling these issues in a gate is similar to maintaining the surrounding fence.
While it is true that gates have drawbacks, many of these drawbacks are also associated with fences as a whole. In some cases, you may find that a fence is unsuitable for your needs. Perhaps you are concerned about the security weaknesses a gate presents, or you simply do not need to get in and out easily. Otherwise, the benefits will generally outweigh the downsides.
What Style is Best for You?
Before you can begin building a gate, you need to decide on the style. Usually, you will use the same materials as the rest of the fence. Wood, vinyl, PVC, wrought iron and bamboo are the most common materials for fencing and gates. The style of the gate, though, is where you often have the best chance to personalize things.
Single or Double Panel
First, you will need to decide if you want a single panel gate or a double panel gate. A single panel gate follows a design that is much like any other door in your house, because it operates the same way. It can open, close, and lock just like any other door.
Single panel gates are relatively easy to build, and often have decorative features built into the top. For pedestrian access, they are an excellent choice. Making a single panel gate large enough to be useful for more than just foot traffic is difficult, though.
Double panel gates use two doors, like a set of French doors. The handle and lock are in the middle to secure the two doors together when closed. For a wider gate, this is the best way to go.
Board on Board
Board on board is a fence style that creates a solid privacy fence with two layers of offset boards. This style has an interesting look, because it is more textured than a typical privacy fence. It also tends to offer more privacy than other fence styles, because the offset boards make it impossible for gaps to develop. It is more time-consuming and expensive to build, but it works well and looks great.
Lattice tops can be added to any style of wooden fencing, whether it is board on board or more typical privacy fencing. The lattice is a simple wooden lattice along the top of the fence. This is purely aesthetic in nature — it adds an interesting visual element while also making your fence appear taller.
A standard privacy fence consists of wooden boards attached to fence rails, which in turn are attached to the fence posts. It is a simple but effective design. It is also easy to build, and requires fewer materials than board on board designs. It is a great choice for beginners.
Shadow box fences are similar to board on board fences, but the gap between the two rows of offset boards is more pronounced in order to create a 3-D effect. Moving the boards farther apart does reduce privacy somewhat, as it is possible to see through them a little bit. The visual effect is striking, though.
This is the standard design for wrought-iron gates. The iron bars are spaced a few inches apart. Naturally, this provides no privacy at all, although it can still effectively keep someone out.
If you have a picket fence, why not add a picket gate? Picket fences are not meant for privacy or security. They look nice and they help to mark property lines. That is all they are really useful for, but that may be exactly what you need.
Consulting the Professionals on HOA
Before you can begin designing and building your gate, you need to consult your Homeowner’s Association. They may have specific rules about what size and style of gate you can build. It would be awful to go through the time and expense of building a gate only to be required to tear it down.
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