Hello everyone and welcome to The Hippie Geeks!
As I have mentioned several times, our 20 year old fence has been collapsing since we moved into the place. We have patched it together as best we can over the last three years, but several sections have been literally falling over this winter it cant be put off any longer.
Today we are starting with our side gate. The first order of business is to pull down the old gate, including the ghetto extensions slash re-enforcement that we had installed in the fall. This part didn’t take too long as everything was completely rotten. However I did want to get all of the screws I had put into it as they were still in decent shape and will be used on other projects. I am also taking care to not destroy the fence boards, as we will likely be turning those into bird houses.
I thought that I would have to use the sawzall to remove the post, however I was able to simply snap it off without any trouble. Definitely time to get this section replaced.
We will not be resetting a new center post, as we want to replace what was there with a double gate. With all of the yard and garden work that we do, it would be really nice to be able to wheel the trailer all the way into the back yard to shorten the distance we have to travel with a wheelbarrow. What that means to start with is a considerably more solid post up against the house that will be able to handle the weight of a very solid four foot gate.
First up I am going to dig a small footer for the bottom of the post. I can’t go terribly deep as I will run into the existing concrete footer, but I do want to put something down there just to give it some support. I am digging a shovel width hole that is about a foot deep and two feet long. Once it was dug out I did a test fit of the post up against the wall just to make sure that it would work like I wanted, then it was time to lay the post back down to finish getting it ready. One thing to remember is that you should use a pressure treated post if it will come in contact with the ground. Otherwise you will see your post rotting out in a year or two.
The longest screws I am using on this project are three inches, which obviously won’t reach all the way thru a four by four post. What I will do is take a half inch butterfly bit and drill a one and a half inch deep hole every foot all of the way up the post. That will allow the screws to reach all the way thru and into the wall. Once they were all drilled, it was time to get the post on the wall. I got it placed pretty close to where the previous post was located, and then put the first screw in towards the bottom of the post. Once the first screw is sunk, it is time to make sure that the post is leveled before finally securing it in place.
Now, if you have never used a level before, it is not that hard to figure out. Hold the level securely against the piece that you are leveling and make sure that the bubble is centered between the two innermost lines. That is it. Once you are sure it is level, finish securing it in place. I decided that I wanted a little more peace of mind, and placed another set of screws in thru the back side of the post at an angle. Between all of the screws and the concrete at the foot, I can safely say this post is not going to budge, which is exactly what I am looking for.
Now that the post is secured to the wall, its time to get the concrete placed. As I knew that I needed to have this gate functional again by the end of the day, I bought bags of Sackcrete Fast Setting concrete. This stuff us super easy to use, and will set up in only a couple of hours. It also doesn’t require you to mix the concrete first which is pretty convenient. The downside however is that it costs considerably more than the stuff you have to mix yourself. It is just a balance of cost versus time, and you need to determine which way makes more sense for you to go. If you do decide to use this kind of concrete, the first thing to do is fill the hole about one third of the way with water. Then, dump in the concrete. If necessary, add in more water or concrete and let it sit. It is always better to err on the side of more water then less, as the concrete needs moisture to trigger its curing reaction. In my case, I needed to add both more water and concrete and then mixed it up by hand to be sure that it was the proper consistency. Once you have it all mixed and ready, slope it slightly away from the post to make sure that water drains away.
Next up is getting the lumber for the gates cut to length. I have already measured everything out, and need four sections that are seven foot one point five inches long, and six that are forty three point two five inches long. There will be another two pieces to cut, but they are cross pieces that will get figured out once the gates are mostly put together.
Legally most fences are only allowed to be six feet tall. That is a pretty common restriction across the country, and you should definitely check your local codes before building a new fence because if someone turns you in they will force you to remove the offending fence which will likely make you very sad. What our plan is, is to leave extra length on both the gates and the fence posts so that we can add removable extensions when we want them.
You can see that in how I am putting this gate together. The bottom cross bar is six inches up from the bottom of the gate, and the upper cross bar is a foot from the top of the verticals. However as I was putting it together I initially had the bottom cross bar rotated the wrong way and had to redo it. Once it was all put together I checked it for square by measuring it diagnoally in both directions. As long as both dimensions match, you are square. I double checked all of my measurements, and then repeated the process with the second gate as they are exactly the same.
Something to remember when building anything that will be hanging from one edge like a gate, make sure to add in some cross bracing. This will keep your nice square gate from sagging into a strange rhombus. I want them to be a snug fit, and the way that I am going to get my measurements is first by flipping the gates over. Once they are flipped, set the two by fours that will be the cross braces in place diagonally over the gate, then reach underneath and mark them with a pencil. That gives you the exact size you need that can then be easily cut out. Once you have them cut, flip the gates back over and stomp them into place. Like I said, I want them to be a tight friction fit.
Now that the framework is done, its time to get the fence boards on there. We found a pretty great deal locally on their value fence boards, which means there are going to be some damn ugly boards. I found fifteen of the best looking boards we did get, as you will be able to see this section of fence from the street. Once I had the boards picked out, it was time to get them attached. I used one and a half inch long screws, two on the top and bottom and one in the center where it hits the cross brace. Take your time and make sure they are pushed flush up against each other. When I got to the edge there was a one inch gap left over on both gates, so I ran a board thru the table saw and got it all wrapped up.
Here is the finished product laying there looking great, and I couldn’t be happier with how they look. Time to get them mounted.
I headed back to the posts to get the hinges mounted. I decided to mount them at about eighteen inches and sixty inches above the ground. Again use your level to make sure that you are mounting the hinges properly, if you dont there is a very good chance that your gate will not hang properly, and may very well bind up and not open or close. I mounted the hinges on both posts first, and then it was time to get the gates put up.
Make sure to use a couple of pieces of scrap wood to prop the gate up at the height you want. We need it to be a decent amount above the ground as we will be filling in underneath with bark chips. Once you have it propped up at the correct height, place one screw into the bottom hinge. Take your level up to the second hinge, and make sure it is square before securing it up there. Once you are sure that it is level, finish attaching the rest of the screws into the hinges. Now it is time to get the other gate hung up. Prop up the gate to match the one we already did, and then follow the same procedure to get it leveled out and ready.
For a lot of folks, this would be the point where you hook up the latching hardware and call it good. However, I do not want people to be able to peek thru the cracks in the gates and into our back yard. We will take care of this pretty simply by attaching a fence board over the center crack and attached to the posts on the edges. That does it for our gates! We do not need to add the fence extensions so we will leave that off for now, but I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out.
What do you folks think? Have you ever had to replace your fencing or gates? I am curious to know what worked out for you. If this is your first time here on The Hippie Geeks it would be wonderful to have you subscribe! This channel is all about helping you unleash your life and create a world that you love. If you enjoyed this video give it a like and check back every week for new content. Thanks again, and we will see you on the next one.
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