We demand a lot from hinges, particularly those designed for exterior applications. Gate hinges play an important role in how a gate operates as well as how it looks. When you take the time to carefully choose your gate hinges, the rest of your hardware will fall in line. In addition to hardware selection, you must also know how to install gate hinges so the gate functions properly for many years to come. Whether you are adding a fence to the backyard or you simply want to add some curb appeal to the exterior of your home, installing new gate hinges will add a lot of value in the long run.
How to Choose the Right Hinges
There are many types and models of gate hinges available to you, depending on your personal preferences. The most commonly used gate hinges include barrel hinges, case hinges, concealed hinges, pivot hinges, strap hinges, and tee hinges. You should also decide whether you would like the hinge to close automatically or close softly. If you are purchasing a gate hinge for a swimming pool enclosure, the hinges must fulfill certain requirements. It is very important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of hinge, so you can make the right decision.
You also need to determine where the hinges will be installed. As a rule of thumb, gate hinges are placed at the top and the bottom of the gate but heavy-duty gate hinges will often have a third hinge for the middle to support the weight. Double check what weight rating your gate requires to ensure that the installation will be structurally sound. What’s more, the screws or bolts used to attach the hinge will have a significant bearing on the gate’s overall strength.
How to Install Gate Hinges
- Position the top hinge against the gate temporarily to locate the best location for a solid installation. Mark the hinge location with a grease pencil. Depending on the type of hinge you choose, you can install it on the exterior of the fence or the interior of the gate. Position the bottom hinge against the gate to locate the best location. Place the hinges where the gate will ultimately swing in the direction you desire, either away from the enclosure or into the enclosure. Some hinge types are able to swing in both directions. When working with a wood gate, you will want the hinge to grab as much wood as possible.
- Using a power drill with a drill bit, drill pilot holes at each of the marked locations for the hinge screws to double check how they will look before you proceed with the rest of the installation. Take the hinges apart, if necessary, to allow for smooth installation while holding the gate in place when you are ready to install the hinge screws to the fence post or adjacent structure. It helps to have a second pair of hands during this step in the installation process. Replace the drill bit with a screwdriver bit. Position the hinges for installation.
- Place a solid piece of wood or a concrete block on the ground to support the weight of the gate as you position it for installation onto the fence post. You want to alleviate as much stress on the screws as you possibly can to ensure the gate is level and the hardware is functioning properly. Drive the hinge screws into the fence post and the gate as far as they will go to ensure a tight fit. You might need to use a ratchet to prevent the motor in your drill from burning out.
- Once all the hinges are successfully installed, inspect them to check that the gate functions properly by swinging the gate open and closed a few times. Allow the gate to come to a full stop. If the gate settles without swinging in either direction, the gate is level and your installation is complete.
- If you are also installing a center cross brace, mark the location of the brace on the latch-side fence post. Insert the latch strike in the latch. Position the two components of the latch against the post at the cross brace location and the gate until you are satisfied with the final placement. The final position of the center cross brace must allow the gate to shut flush with the fence. Mark the mounting hole locations. Drill pilot holes at each of the hole locations. Attach the screws for the gate latch to the fence post and strike to the gate to complete your gate installation.
Installing gate hinges may seem like an intimidating task at first, but you can make quick work of any installation with a little time and patience. HardwareSource offers a wide selection of gate hinges that can help you find the perfect solution for your installation. We carry tee hinges, strap hinges, weld-on hinges, pintle hinges, swimming pool gate hinges, and so much more. If you have any questions about this step-by-step guide or our products, please feel free to contact us.