The Complete Guide to Integrating a Gate with Your New Fence Installation

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Gates

Fences are built to be barriers and as such they need entrances and exits. In the world of fencing these entrances are called gates. Today we are going to do a deep dive into all things residential gate-related. We will go over what you should know about and what questions you should ask when making decisions on your fence and gate projects. 

Overview

While there are many different styles of gates the two broadest categories have to do with width: Single Gates and Double Gates. Standard single gates come in 4’ and 5’ wide. Single Gates have two posts on either side. One post has the hinge side and one has the latch side. Double gates come in 8’ and 10’ wide. Double Gates typically meet in the middle where they latch together and have a cane bolt that keeps one gate in place. It is important to know that these widths are nominal. The gate opening may not be exactly the stated width of the gate. There are latches and material widths to consider. If you need an exact opening make sure to let your estimator know that you need the opening to be a certain width.

Width

Equipmentgates

The first thing to decide is how wide you want your gate to be. When it comes to width there are several factors to consider.

What will the gate be used for and what do you need to take in and out of the yard? When it comes to these questions the first thing to find out is how wide does your gate need to be for mower access. A standard push mower can easily fit through a 4’W gate but a large zero-turn commercial mower most certainly will not. 

After mowing, think about what sort of work you need to do or will do in your yard. Do you anticipate hiring a lawn care company for grass seeding and fertilization? Will you need to cut down any large trees soon? How about landscaping such as mulching and planting flowers? 

Is this gate going across a driveway or in front of a garage? If you will need to bring vehicles through the gate on a semi-regular basis you will need a double gate at least. You may even need to ask for a custom-sized double gate if 10’ will not allow your vehicle to pass through with comfort. 

Essentially these questions come down to what kind of equipment will need to be brought into your yard at some point. Once you know this, ask for the smallest gate that can accommodate your needs. 

Obstructions

Any fencing company worth its price will tell you that far and away the best way to set a post is by digging a deep hole and setting the post in concrete. We want to avoid mounting the posts to surfaces such as walkways or driveways because it is more expensive and not as sturdy. Knowing this you need to think about any obstructions the gate needs to go over. A very common obstruction is a walkway. As long as the walkway is more narrow than the gate and there is room on either side its no problem. If you have a very wide walkway ask your estimator about a custom-width gate or another workaround that may be possible for your specific needs.

Terrain/Grade

gates

Another very important factor to consider is the placement of your gate. It is always best to put a gate on flat ground. Of course, sometimes this is simply not possible. Most houses are grading for water to flow away from the house. Often this means the grade is sloping down instead of flat. 

You should know that in these cases there are options, but one thing to keep in mind is that a gate can not open up on a hill and be anywhere near the ground. When building wood gates our expert carpenters can craft the gate to open fully while maintaining the same distance from the ground and following the contour of the fence at the top

However, things get a bit more complicated when you need a prefabricated fence such as aluminum chain link and vinyl. A standard aluminum gate is a welded metal square. When the ground is falling away we want the gate to fall by the same amount. In order to do this we take some measurements and custom fabricate the gate to fall with your grade and terrain.  In the fencing industry, this is called a racked gate. 

If you’re installing a double gate on a slope only one side can be racked because one side has to open up a hill. This will lead to a stairstep look for the gate. The gate swinging up the hill will be raised above the gate swinging down. There is no way to avoid this except to move the gate or get a custom-width single gate.

Hardware

Woodgates

There is a variety of hardware for all the different styles of fences. Most wood gates will use powder-coated standard hardware. There are two kinds of hinges: strap hinges and butterfly hinges. There is one standard latch assembly. The vast majority of wood gates use this hardware. If you would like something else, find a good example and ask your estimator about this.

Aluminum

At Draper Fencing we use Locklatch latches with a key lock. We use D&D Truclose Hinges. These are self-closing hinges that can be adjusted to close faster or slower.

Pool Gate Hardware

Many places require specific hardware for pool gates that make it more difficult for small children to open the gate. They usually look like the example shown If you are getting a fence for a pool ask your estimator about these.

Gate Quality

The last topic we should cover is overall quality. Quality is always important but gates are the hardest part of any fence. They move constantly and therefore have to be built correctly. When it comes to wood gates ask about how it will be built. The gate should be using 2x4x8 framing and should have vertical diagonal and horizontal framing. When it comes to prefabricated gates ask where they are coming from. If one company is significantly cheaper they are likely simply using less raw materials. 

Perhaps most importantly ask about the companies warranty on their gates. In our market, some companies only offer a one-year warranty on their gates. This should tell you something about their belief in building a quality gate. At Draper Fencing Company we offer the same warranty on gates as we do on the fence itself. Three-Year Craftsmanship Warranty!! 

Are you ready to move forward with your fence project? Have more questions? Contact us for more information.

Pete Cowden

Pete Cowden

Director of Sales and Operations

Pete Cowden grew up on the west side of Indianapolis. He attended St Michael’s School from kindergarten through eighth grade before going to North Central High School. Pete won a state championship in Rugby and graduated with an Indiana Honors diploma from North Central in 2007.

After graduating high school, Pete joined the Army. He served three tours of duty as a US Army Ranger. Eventually his injuries built up leading to a medical retirement. After retiring from the Army, Pete attended Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis. In 2015 Pete graduated with a Bachelor’s of the Arts in International Studies. 

Pete spent some time working with his fellow veterans in Washington D.C as well as right here in Indianapolis before moving into the fencing industry. Pete began working for Draper Fencing Company in 2021. 

Initially Pete worked primarily as an estimator. He learned quickly the challenges fence installers face and how to overcome them. He constantly gathered feedback from his crews to ensure he was setting them and the customer up for success. 

Pete now manages the entire company. He has managed the building of millions of dollars of fencing projects from small downtown yards to large commercial projects. Draper Fencing Company installs a wide range of products from commercial chain link to ornate custom cedar fences. Pete leads a production department that has over forty five years of fence building experience.

A big part of managing the company is making sure he understands not just how to build a fence but knowing what customers want. He stays up to date on permitting and code enforcement. Part of his job now is to put his years of experience into writing blogs on our website. We strive to communicate clearly and effectively with our customers and our blog posts are an extension of that.