How to Hang a Farm Gate/Fence




Add a new level of safety and security to your country property with the installation of a properly hung gate. Two farm fencing experts demonstrate this 'DIY' project. A few important steps help insure that the next time you hang a gate on your land it will swing correctly and not sag over time. Brought to you by The Progressive Farmer.

For this project we worked with Gene and Alicia Hamman of Quality Farm Fencing. The husband-and-wife team has been building fences for a long time, Gene for 18 years.

Step 1: Preparation

In this Instructable we are hanging two 10-foot gates to create a 20-foot opening.

Two steps are important to keep your gate from sagging. First, put in sturdy hinge posts. For this project we used 7-foot, creosote-treated round posts. We sunk them 2 feet, 6 inches in the ground. For larger spans—16- or 20-foot gates—use 8-foot posts buried 3 feet deep. Take your local conditions into account. Cold climates require deeper postholes to avoid damage from the frost.

The second step is to use the correct hinges. The gates here come complete with screw-in hinges. Over time, however, this type of hinge tends to pull loose from the post.

Instead, use 3/4-inch, all-thread hinge bolts that extend all the way through the post. That way the nut can be adjusted as the position of the gate changes with time.

Step 2: Align the Gate

Line the gate up along the vertical center line of the hinge post. Also use this step to locate the position of the bottom hinge. If the ground isn't level, make sure the far end of the gate is high enough off the ground to allow free movement. You can use string tied to pins to establish a straight line and level height.

Step 3: Install Brace Post

Sink the first fencepost to the other side of the hinge post, opposite the gate. Locate a 4-inch-diameter brace post between those posts. Each end should be supported by a notch cut into the two posts. The notches don't need to be more than 3/4 inch deep.

Step 4: Support the Gate and Fencing

Drill holes through the hinge post, as well as the first fencepost, and into the beginning of both ends of the brace post. Drive 12-inch galvanized spikes into those two holes. To give strong support to the gate and the fencing, make sure to add lengths of strainer wire to the first pair of posts on either side of the gates. These are wires—pulled tight by a strainer—mounted diagonally between the hinge post and the first fencepost. The strainer wire balances the downward pressure exerted by the gate and the outward, pulling pressure of the fenceline.

Step 5: Hinge Posts

Stretch a line across the length of location for the gate. Along that line, sink two hinge posts—one for each gate. The 7-foot posts are round and treated all the way through with creosote. Here, they are buried 21/2 feet in the ground. Add two bags of dry concrete. You don't have to add water, unless the ground is extremely dry. For longer gates use 8-foot posts.

Step 6: Drill Holes for Bolts

At the location of the bottom hinge, drill holes through the posts to accept the all-thread hinge bolts. For this project we used 3/4-inch bolts. Screw-in hinges were included with the gate, but they can pull out over time. These bolts—$11 each at Tractor Supply Company—can be adjusted over time as the position of the gate changes.

Step 7: Install Top Hinge

To locate the position of the top hinge, measure the distance from the bottom side of the bottom hinge to the top of the top hinge. Remember, the top hinge bolt is pointing down. This prevents cattle or horses from lifting the gate off its hinges and also slows thieves from removing the gate. Slide the hinge bolts through each post. Loosen the top hinge on the gate and slide it down. Set the gate onto the bottom hinge bolt. Position the top gate hinge immediately below the top hinge bolt. Slide the gate hinge back into place and tighten.

Step 8: Align Two Gates

Align the two gates. Make sure they close with only a small space separating each gate. Also, make sure the gates align horizontally. Make these adjustments by turning the hinge bolts in or out.

Step 9: Bolts

Here are detailed photographs of the two types of hinge bolts considered for this project. We used the all-thread bolt (left) that can be adjusted over time to prevent sagging. The screw-in bolt (right/top) will not hold the gate level for long.

Step 10: Quick Tips to Remember

Here are six things to remember:

1) Make sure the top hinge points down.

2) Make sure the gate is mounted high enough on the hinge post to keep the far end of the gate off the ground.

3) Use dry concrete to set the posts.

4) Use heavy-duty, all-thread bolts. They cost more, but allow you to adjust the gate.

5) Use strainer wire to balance the gate with the fence running on either side of the gate.

6) Hang the gate after the strainer wire is in place.

Please see the video of this project in the final step.

Step 11: Video

Thank you for viewing this Instructable!



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11 Discussions


Question 1 year ago on Introduction

how long after you put the posts in do you hang the gate? Do I have to wait 24 hours

For cement to dry?

1 answer

Answer 1 year ago

I used 2 bags of 80 lb concrete mix from Lowes and waited 2 days before I finished mounting my 16-foot metal farm gate. The moisture content of the soil determines the length of time to wait. My soil was very wet and I waited till the concrete set and dried. So, the answer is Yes, you should wait till concrete is dry or you may end up with a post that is not plumb.

Good Advice I am researching a new fence idea for the field gates at my school at WA-HI and I think that may be the perfect kind of idea. Thanks for the instructions they were very helpful.!!!!!


4 years ago on Introduction

A good demo! I recently had to fit a hanging gate as my current fence was vandalised by kids, they set fire to the lot! Bloody buggers. Thank you for the instructions, I have a working gate!


6 years ago on Introduction

We had some bad wind a few weeks ago and it ruined a part of our fence. Luckily none of our horses or anything have gotten out, but we need to get it fixed asap. I would love to put up a farm gate fence. Hopefully I can find one at a local wholesale agricultural supplies store I go to. Thank you for the help!


10 years ago on Introduction

Nice instructions, I have a suggestion related to farm gates which may be of great interest to you guys.
Turnstyle Enterprises recently introduced the Armless Gate Opener earlier this year. This revolutionary new product is bound to change the way gates are to be opened in the future. Because these gate openers do not require external motorized arms, they do not detract from the natural beauty of the gates of which they are meant to open and close.

The website to visit to learn more is: Turnstyle Enterprises and there's also a video on youtube specifically showing the installation of a farm gate in a center mount configuration at: Installation Video: Farm Gate

Other videos can be viewed through the Turnstyle Blog at: Turnstyle Blog



10 years ago on Introduction

Very useful information -- I may have to re-do my L-brackets to the bolt-thru type eventually. We had to mount the (single) 12-foot farm gate extremely low to the driveway to keep dogs in. We also had to mount 4x4 hogwire (welded wire fencing) on the gate with large wire ties ... again, to keep the dogs in. We used 6x6 PT posts about 30" deep (a foot below the frost line) because of the gate's weight, and added a wheel, also. I wish I'd thought of the brace idea, but considering our complicated fence it might be tough to add later. We have five-foot locust pickets screwed to 2x6 rails, backed by hogwire, and with electric livestock fence attached on the inside (including the gate). It's only been up five months, so I don't know if I'm going to have a sag problem yet, but next time I do this I'll use your bolt-thru method. Overkill is never wasted, in my experience.

1 reply

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I had to consult with my wife on this critique -- she's been fiddling with farm fences & gates since dinosaurs ruled the earth, and is also a huge fan of Progressive Farmer magazine. We might skip wetting the concrete on a regular fencepost, but not on something bearing a great deal of strain right away. Before I put any side-pressure on that gatepost I want to see the thing securely set in something SOLID. Even when building decks & loafing sheds, we set each post, dump in a bag or two of Sakrete with at least 4-5 gal of water, and let it set up overnight (securely braced if there are any livestock around) before doing anything else. Second point -- we like the idea of bracing with a second post, but don't think a couple of horizontal rails spiked into their end-grain is going to add much strength. Any "pull" strong enough to affect the gatepost or the hanger is just going to pull that spike out of the endgrain quite easily, we believe. We've seen farmers attach a cable & turnbuckle between the top of the gatepost and a piece of steel or wood sunk into the ground diagonally 6-8 feet away, which seems like a better bracing technique. Using a cable (or chain) and turnbuckle between the top of the gatepost and the next fencepost should be a great deal stronger than just spiking in a rail. You could strap the rails to the posts with metal, of course, but it isn't as easy to adjust later as a turnbuckle. Gates that are periodically left open for long periods of time, such as between grazing pastures, should also be supported somehow in the open position to keep the strain off the hinges & posts. A couple of bricks or cinder blocks will often work, or a piece of wood spiked into the adjacent post. Some years ago you could get used creosote poles (10 - 12 ") from our local power company, and a lot of farmers would cut them up for gateposts. The company would even drop them at the end of your driveway for free. In our area that isn't available anymore, but in other rural areas it's worth checking with the local power company or electric co-op if you have a tractor that can handle something that hefty. We framed several loafing sheds this way, and some farmers framed whole pole barns with this free material. One further suggestion -- bolt-thru hangers like this can be readily unbolted by trespassers, of course, so for security some farmers just bend the end of the bolt (behind the nut) with a hammer. Often, though, you can still loosen the nut far enough to knock the gate loose, so be sure to bend the bolt far enough to prevent any movement of the nut.


11 years ago on Introduction

don't know if I'll ever use it but job well done on the instructable. Very nicely and professionally explained and photographed. I wish there were more this good! +1


11 years ago on Introduction

FLATULATIONS--With much trepidation I took a sideways glance at this Ible to see if I did my gates correctly. Amazingly I seem to have basically done a similar job. I can attest that your technique will allow the landowner many years of worry-free time not having to continuously re-align the pintles, (hinges) and/or dragging a sagging gate open and closed. Good Work--And thanks.


11 years ago on Introduction

Great Instructable! The photos are just absolutely great too, nice job!