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Side Gate

How to install and maintain garden gates

How to install and maintain garden gates

Due to our wide range of side gates that we have available here at Ruby, we’re positive you’ve found the right one with us. Commonly used as a visual and protective barrier to the side and back of your property, these gates are made to last due to the strong bracing and quality materials; not to mention the care and detail our joinery team has put into each one. We want to make sure your side gate is one that you can be proud of for many years to come. All our side gates are either made from a joinery grade Scandinavian redwood or Larch/spruce mix, both of which are pressure treated. However, you will still need to maintain your gates regularly, and therefore we have created this blog to provide you with some tips and pointers on how to install and maintain your side gate. The first part will focus on the installation of your gate before moving onto the maintenance side ensuring your gate stays in immaculate condition. Make sure to check out all products related to your side gate as we go along.


Installing your Side Gate


To begin with, it’s important to prepare the space by creating a clear and easily accessible area to work in. If replacing an old gate, make sure your measuring is precisely accurate and if any gate posts have rotted slightly, we would definitely recommend replacing them. New gate posts can be installed by using spades or a post hole borer to dig a hole in the ground which has a depth of 1/3 of the total height of the gate post. Using props and other materials, put the posts in place and using postcrete, secure the posts in place and leave to set for 48 hours.


Now you want to secure the hinges onto the back of the gate. The back of the gate is where the structural bracing is visible. By securing the hinges to the back of the gate, it will make sure that the gate swings inwards. In terms of what side the gate should be hung from, will depend on the diagonal bracing. Looking at the top of the gate from the back of it, if the diagonal bracing starts in the left-hand corner and goes downwards to the bottom right-hand corner, you will want to hang your gate from the right-hand side and vice versa. The hinges should be fitted on the bottom and top horizontal braces from the sides of the gate. This can be done by placing the hinges in place on the gate and marking where the holes are before predrilling the marks and then screwing the hinges in place. It’s important to take the time to centralise and make sure the hinges are completely level. Then you want to place your gate in between the posts. The gap between the posts and gate should ideally be 10mm each side to allow for any swelling of the wood and to allow the gate to open and close efficiently.


Measuring around the gate and the gaps between the posts and gate are important. It’s also important to measure the gap at the bottom between the gate and floor. To achieve a sufficient gap, use a spacer and put it between the gate and floor. Ideally the spacer needs to be 25mm high to create a gap where any leaf's or stones can come through and stop a build-up of debree under the gate. Once the spacer is in place, place the gate back in the opening and mark where the hinges need to be secured to the gate posts. Remove the gate and predrill the holes where the screws will be placed. Now it’s time to screw the hinges into place removing the spacer once fitted.

To secure your gate we would recommend using a ring latch for any side gates. To start with, you want to place the ring latch in the middle bracing at the back of the gate, and on the side that will shut close ensuring that the bar of the latch is overhanging the side by 50mm towards the post. Making sure the latch is level, mark and predrill the holes in which the screws will fix too. You will now have four holes making a square and using a ruler, find the middle of that square and create a slightly bigger hole going through the gate so that the bar which will connect the two ring latches, will fit through and be able to turn easily. You can now screw the ring latch in place onto the back of the gate. Finally, the holding catch that will secure the rectangular bar in place will need to be screwed onto the gate post. To do this effectively, slide the holding catch along the rectangular bar until it is on the gate post and fix this to the post using predrilled holes and screws. Then, go over to the front of the gate and secure the ring latch onto the stainless-steel bar and screw it to the gate.

Job Done!


Maintaining your Side Gate


Water and sun is woods worst nightmare in most cases. Water can cause swelling and produce rot causing it to weaken and lose its structure. The UV rays can cause the timber to change colours from the natural pigments it once was to a silvery grey design. We therefore recommend using Osmo UV protection oil available in several colours, which will protect the boards from the harsh UV rays keeping those natural organic colours and grains within the wood, whilst also regulating moisture levels within the wood. A water and rot resistant oil-based preservative that doesn’t flake, peel or blister. Please do apply this oil to your side gate before the installation process to allow all edges and corners to be protected and preserved. It is recommended that you apply this oil every 12 weeks to keep optimal protection.


Checking your side gates every 6 months or sooner if required and giving it some TLC is an effective way to preserving your gates for long periods of time. If there are any loose boards or parts, do try to fix or replace them as soon as possible to stop the weakening of the structure. Brushing away any leaf’s or stones from the bottom of the gate is crucial and stops the wood from absorbing moisture content from the debree on the ground. Our side gates are made from a joinery grade Scandinavian redwood and can therefore develop cracks over time, also known as ‘shakes’. These ‘shakes’ occur due to constant changes in the weather but do not affect the overall performance of the timber structure.


If wanting to paint your side gates, make sure there are no sap or resin situated on the bracing or boards as this will affect the process and spread of paint. A stain blocking primer and knotting agent will help clear any sap and resin and stop it from happening again.  Because the materials we use to make our side gates are pressure treated, there may be some green marking visible due to the salt leaving the timber. Please don’t panic regarding this as it is completely natural and will disappear over time. Cleaning your side gate may be necessary to remove any dirt or dust that has collected from the weather. Use warm soapy water making sure that you don’t soak the boards completely affecting the moisture levels. If the gate was painted prior to washing, apply a new coat when dry.

We hope this has helped you to install your side gate and you are able to do so hassle free. Make sure to take some of our tips and pointers on board to keep your side gates in immaculate condition and have a gate you can be proud of. If you have any more questions or queries regarding this, don’t hesitate to contact our sales team on 01409231763 and they will be happy to help.

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