Instructables

Sagging Garden Gate

Picture of Sagging Garden Gate
This is the gate at the side of our house. Although it is hung on two 4 x 4 posts (left side of the photo) and both have concrete footers, both began to lean a tiny amount toward the right side of the photo. That made the latch string hard to pull and the gate rubbed against the plate on the side of the house. 

If the 4 x 4 posts appear to lean to the left, that is only an illusion of perspective because of the camera angle. There was a large bush at my left elbow and I could not move farther to the left when I took the photo.

I did a search on Instructables and could not find anything similar to what I am showing here. Although my solution is very simple and may be obvious to many, this could be of help to someone who does not happen to think of it. Although this Instructable may not be as glamorous as preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse, there comes a time when all of us will deal with home repairs, and this is a common one.
 
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Step 1: What needs to be done

Picture of What needs to be done
My wife wanted me simply to trim the gate at the side near the house. That would solve the problem for a short while, but in time the sagging would continue and the gate would need to be trimmed again. After a while, the vertical lines would no longer be parallel. And, the parts of the latch would no longer align. The parts of the latch would need to be re-aligned.

The tops of the two 4 x 4 posts need to be pulled away from the house slightly. The simple way to do that is to add a strut that will pull so as to shorten the red line I have laid over the photo. 

I used a rule to measure the length of the red line and I used an angle finder to determine the angle of the red line relative to the vertical lines.

The photo shows the outside or street view of the gate. I do not want to add a strut to this side, but to the inside of the fence. I also showed the outside of the gate because I am writing this Instructable after I made and installed the strut.

Materials
  • 1/8 x 3/4 x 4 inches strap iron
  • 1/8 x 1 x 3 inches strap iron
  • 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar
  • 1 inch angle iron
  • 5/16 inch threaded rod
  • 2 nuts 5/16 inch
  • 1 lag bolt 5/16 x 2 1/2 inches
  • 3 lag bolts 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches
  • paint
Tools
  • Hacksaw or angle grinder with a cutting wheel and a grinding wheel
  • Rule
  • Angle finder
  • Drill and bits
  • Welder
  • Wrenches for installing lag bolts and for making adjustments
  • Spring clamps
londobali1 year ago
I had a similar problem a few years back...
The side door was a dutch door (or should i say doors? one upper door and one lower door) made from heavy iron-wood, which is very good for our door use.. But our "carpenter" wasn't very good at carpentry.. the joints were not tight and within a month the doors starts to lean to the frame and the top on the bottom one..
Limited on experience, and this 'ible isn't up yet, I only attached a rod diagonally from lower-swing-corner to top-hinge-corner on each door (top door and bottom door). I drilled and screwed the rod in place while wedging the door up more than actually needed. It worked well for half a year, then we sold the place and i don't know if it's still good after that.. 

Your solution is way better than mine, I'll keep it in mind for next time.. :)
If you have (or if it's easy to get), might also use two bolt-and-nut sets, one normal threaded, and the other reverse threaded, and weld them like a cable tensioner. (http://www.gordosoft.com/hoptrellis1/..%5Choptrellis1%5Ccabletensioner.jpg)

Thanks for sharing and inspiring me again Phil!
Phil B (author)  londobali1 year ago
Thank you for looking and for commenting, also for sharing what you did. Your solution should work. It is limited on making later adjustments, if needed. I thought about a turnbuckle, and found a very light-duty turnbuckle in my things. I also enjoy the opportunity to get some welding practice whenever I can and often look for a solution that involves welding to make what I need.
rimar20001 year ago
Phil, I think you put that strut upside down / backwards. It should pull up the post where the door is hinged, I think.
Phil B (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Osvaldo, think of the two posts as the long sides of a parallelogram. Make a little test model of a parallelogram with hinged corners. It could be cardboard and toothpicks. Squeeze on opposite corners and see which way the sides move. Remember that the lower right corner is anchored and immovable. The upper left corner can move, even though the lower left corner is also anchored.
Pardon, the strut pulls or push? I suppose it pulls, that's why I say.
Phil B (author)  rimar20001 year ago
The strut pulls. Pulling as shown brings the top of the left post (in the photo of the actual strut in place, not of the red line) to the right, which raises the gate. When the top of the left post moves a little to the right, the wood pieces between it and right post also move the top of the right post to the right.

Placing the strut from the top of the right post to the bottom of the left post would not raise the left post, but would pull the top of both posts farther to the left and the gate would sag even more.
OK, now I understand. It is more clever than my idea...
KellyCraig1 year ago
Women and children [and a few smart men] run screaming when I try to use a welder. As such, I have a couple kits in my parts storage that came from a big box store (via a garage sale). These use cables, instead of bar. Like yours, they can be adjusted from time to time to compensate for settling, or, in their case, stretching of the cable or wire. I've used a couple kits on customer gates and they work well.

Initially, before I knew of the kits, I just picked up some high tensile wire, eight of the crimp clamps and a turn buckle.

I drilled a couple holes in the gate, a couple inches apart (so the wire wouldn't pull through the wood) and diagonally from each other (e.g., top right and bottom left). This allowed me to run the wire through one hole and to loop back, to be crimped to itself.

After I put the crimp clamps on (they have to be on before you run the wire/cable though a hole or eye), I ran the wire through one of the holes I had just drilled at the top or bottom, looped the wire back through the hole near it and into the crimp clamp.

Before each crimp, when the cable or wire was going through the wood or when connecting to the other side of the turnbuckle, I pulled the wire as snug as I could. This reduces the amount of adjustment initially required at the turnbuckle, leaving more adjustment capability for future adjustments. If the fence was sagging a great deal, you could support it to allow you to take up more slack, before securing the other half of the turnbuckle.

I cut the wire long enough to connect to the turnbuckle, which I installed at about the center of the gate. Again, with the crimp clamp already on, I fed the wire through an eye of the [fully extended] turnbuckle, looped it back into the crimp clamp and crimped it.

I then repeated the process for the opposite end.

Once done, it was just a matter of adjusting the turnbuckle, until the gate was where I wanted it.


All that said, your method would be a far more reliable system. It isn't going to stretch any time soon.
Phil B (author)  KellyCraig1 year ago
Thank you for looking at my Instructable and for describing your method from your past experiences. Anyone who looks at this Instructable will have the benefit of considering what you have done. That will be valuable to those who do not weld.

I would wager your welding is probably better than you hint. I have welded a fair amount with a stick welder and that has gone fairly well for me most of the time. When I got a flux core wire feed welder I could not see any of the joint to know if the bead was on the joint or wandering away from it. Then I discovered I needed new batteries in my auto-darkening helmet. Suddenly I can see what I am doing and my welding improved tremendously. Someone on YouTube suggested moving the arc in the pattern of squiggles, like the tail of a pig or like a series of cursive examples of the letter "e". It works pretty well.
iceng1 year ago
Compliments on a great solution to aging sag :)

A
Phil B (author)  iceng1 year ago
Thanks. I do not know if the home improvement stores have anything like the strut I made. I have not seen anything, although I remember a lighter version many years ago for wooden screen doors.
You can get anti-sag gate kits at most hardware stores that consist of wire rope, a turnbuckle, crosby clamps and mounting brackets/hardware. They're inexpensive and easy to install but your solution seems a lot sturdier and easier to turn into a decorative fix. Nicely done!
Phil B (author)  spiderham1 year ago
Thanks. I have not seen the anti-sag kits. My thinking has been corrupted by the Instructables way. I always assume I need to develop a fix without checking to see if one exists.
Not corrupted... maybe altered or enhanced.
Phil B (author)  spiderham1 year ago
Thanks. All the best to you.
prestux1 year ago
Great job Phil.
I did pretty much the same thing to a sagging driveway gate years ago using chain and a turnbuckle.
You solution looks much nicer however.
God Bless.
Phil B (author)  prestux1 year ago
Thanks. I figured my fix could not be too unique. Still, a neighbor said he also would have simply trimmed the gate. At first I thought I would not make an Instructable of this, but decided there may be someone who could benefit from it. A blessed Easter celebration to you!
crist87n1 year ago
(removed by author or community request)
Phil B (author)  crist87n1 year ago
Thank you. I am not so familiar with electric guitars. It is always interesting that there really are seven basic machines we combine and employ in various ways to do myriads of things.