Yard gates have to hold up to a lot of wear and tear. There is constant opening and closing. The family dog may pound against it in hopes of escape or to ward off a stranger. The children might use it as an unofficial swing. This article will go over the steps you should go through to check and repair your yard gate hinges. Below, are the tools and materials you may need, depending on the type of gate and what needs to be repaired.
Tools and Materials
2-by-4 scrap lumberShimsWood puttyCarpenter's hammerBall peen hammerSledge hammerScrewdriverLong, narrow stonesPaint or stainTurnbuckle tension rod kitShovelWood putty (to fill the old holes)Carpenter's levelElectric drill with screw driver bitDrill bit for drilling holesGalvanized or stainless-steel screws
The gate hinges are often the scape goat for other problems with the fence, such as posts which are loosening. Check the posts to make sure they are still vertically plumb, and level with the top of the fence. Make sure the fence posts are not wobbling. Check the structural integrity of the gate itself. You can use a diagonal support to bolster the structural integrity of the gate.
Step 2 – Check The Hinges
After checking everything else, check the gate hinges for rust, being bent or loose, or showing other signs of wear. Next you will have to remove the hinges, but you may not have to replace them if the hinges are in good or repairable shape. See step four for instructions on repairing hinges.
Step 3 – Removing the hinges
It is important to support the weight of the gate with a 2x4 and any necessary shims so that you do not damage the gate in the process removing the gate hinges.
Once the gate is supported, use a drill as a screw-gun to remove the screws from the gate hinges.
Step 4 – Inspecting and Repairing the Hinges
Check the hinge to see if it is still straight by placing it on a hard level surface. If it is only slightly bent it can be fixed with a ball peen hammer. Check for rust. The rust may be cleaned with a spray lubricant. For rustier hinges, try soaking them in naval jelly first. If after these steps the hinge is working well, you can save the hinge to put back on the fence later. If you have any doubts, it may be best to replace the hinges.
Step 5 – Straightening the Gatepost(s) – If Necessary
First, dig away the soil from the side of the post which is leaning. Make the hole about a foot-and-a-half deep.
Next, pack some long narrow stones in the hole, leaving a few inches clear at the top of the hole. Now you want to position the post so that it is vertically level with the level's vertical mark.
Next, cut two foot wedges out of a 2x4. Point the wedged end of the wood toward the hole. Now hammer down the wedge till the wedge is flush with the ground and the stones are holding the post tightly in place. Check the level again, then shovel soil on top of the stones and tamp down hard.
Step 4 – Putting Hinges Back On
Drill new holes for the hinges. The diameter of the holes should be a little smaller than the diameter of the screws. When measuring for the new holes, you want to leave one-quarter to one-half of an inch clearance between the gate and the post. Replace the top hinge first. Use long screws, but measure before selecting to make sure the screws don't come out the other side of the post. Replace the bottom hinge. Recheck the level of the gate and the posts, and check to see if gate easily swings open and closed. Make any necessary adjustments.
Check out the www.handyamerican.com website for a full list of professionals and contractors for your gate and fencing repair needs.
Key Hiring Tips
From large to small projects, before you select any contractor be sure to take the time to properly screen them. The time it takes now to screen a contractor will help ensure success for your home improvement project and avoid problems down the road.