DIY: How to Install a Swing Gate Closer

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A swing gate closer is a spring assembly with a compression spring. Its function is to apply lateral spring tension along the twisted or compressed spring so that it will expand into its original dimension and push the gate closed. With this type of gate closer, the power to operate the gate closer is provided by the person opening the gate. These types of gate closers are typically used to close gates in fencing around pools that self-latch or security gates that self-lock. Installing a swing gate closer is a simple and straightforward project.

Things You'll Need

  • Steel or wooden gate
  • Swing gate assembly
  • 140-amp stick welder (optional)
  • Power drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Socket set
  • Wrenches
  • Examine the gate and its connection to the fence or opening that it spans. Verify the gate closes and latches with existing hardware. If the gate does not latch securely or latches undependably, replace the latch with a serviceable latch.

  • Mount the spring closer on the same side of the gate as the hinges. If the gate is wood, there is typically no preparation required -- most closers have brackets to drive wood screws through. Use a power drill to drill pilot holes smaller than the diameter of the screws. For left-hand gates (hinges on the left, hinge-bearing side of the gate) mount the top plate of the spring closer on the gate and the bottom plate on the gatepost. For right-hand gates (hinges on the right, hinge-bearing side of the gate) mount the top plate of the spring closer on the gatepost and the bottom plate on the gate.

  • Weld or bolt the bracket to the frame, if the gate is steel. These dimensions vary. Bolt-on assemblies require drilling into the gatepost and attaching the plate with heavy machine bolts. Weld-on assemblies require the direct attachment to the gatepost or connecting plate. These dimensions vary — verify the drill or weld locations before completing the attachment. The same top/bottom plate instructions apply.

  • Open the gate to determine if the gate is still opening correctly and that it closes and latches. Ignore the correctness of the strength of the close, just observe the quality of the latching process at this point. Make any necessary adjustments, following the gate manufacturer's instructions, to bring the latch pin back into the correct closing position. Note: this is the same process used when the gate was originally hung.

  • Pull the gate 90 degrees (fully open) and allow it to self-close. Observe the closing of the gate and the impact of the latch pin against or into the latch sleeve. If there is insufficient lateral force (insufficient spring tension), the gate will typically not close and the latch pin will touch but not pass through the latch sleeve and into the latch to lock itself closed. Increase the spring tension by wrenching the top nut clockwise. If the gate bounces hard against the latch, reduce the spring tension by wrenching the top nut on the spring hinge counterclockwise. Retry the closure and adjust as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use caution when working with spring closers.

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References

  • "Fences, Gates, and Bridges"; George A. Martin; 2010
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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