How Do I Make a Latch for a Two-Door Gate?

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A double gate provides excellent access for wider loads, such as lawn tractors and wheelbarrows. Most of the time, one gate will suffice, so a latch is needed to hold one gate in position while the other closes to it. This makes the passage gate as easy to use as a standard gate and allows the second gate to be opened at a moment's notice.

Things You'll Need

  • Post hole digger
  • Concrete mix
  • Cement trowel
  • Drill
  • 1/2-inch rotary mason's bit
  • 3/8-inch thick barrel bolt, at least 3 inches long
  • Tape measure
  • Treated deck screws
  • Standard gate latch
  • Carriage bolts
  • Socket wrench
  • If your gate is hung over a sidewalk, driveway or other concrete surface, skip straight to the third step. If not, dig a post hole, centered under the end of the left gate, where it rests when closed. Make the hole 12 inches across and 12 inches deep.

  • Fill the hole to within an inch of ground level with dry concrete mix. Add enough water to mix the cement and stir it in the hole with a scrap of lumber until well mixed. Smooth the surface off, even with the ground, using a concrete finishing trowel. Make it level, it does not need to be perfect. Allow it to dry overnight before proceeding.

  • Mark your concrete 1 inch in from the end of the left gate, where it will rest when closed. Bore a ½-inch hole, 4 inches deep, with a ½-inch rotary mason's bit. Blow the dust from the hole.

  • Position a 3/8-inch thick barrel bolt latch, centered 1 inch in from the end of the left gate. Choose the bolt with the longest throw available. Some are as long as 4 inches, make your hole deeper if needed. Make sure it is mounted on the inside of the gate. Mark the holes and drill pilot holes for 1-inch treated deck screws. Attach the latch with 1-inch treated deck screws, one in each hole.

  • Slide the barrel bolt into the hole in the concrete to hold the left gate steady. Position the post half of a standard gate latch on the edge of the left gate, about 36 inches high, or centered in the horizontal brace on the back of the gate. Mark the bolt holes.

  • Bore 5/16-inch holes through the gate in every marked spot. Drive 5/16-inch carriage bolts through the gate and the holes in the latch with a hammer, tapping them firmly to seat the bolt heads, with the heads on the outside of the gate. Tighten a washer and nut onto each bolt. Snug them down with a socket wrench.

  • Position the gate half of the latch on the right gate and align it with the post half of the latch you attached to the left gate. Set it so that the bolt of the gate half rests firmly in the post half, but rides a little above the bottom of the latch. This will provide for proper operation without having to lift the gate to close.

  • Mark and bore bolt holes as you did for the other half of the latch. Bolt it in place with a hammer and socket wrench, as before. Open and close the latch a few times to ensure proper operation. Make adjustments as needed.

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References

  • "Ortho's all About Fences and Gates;" Martin Miller; 2001
  • "The Fence Bible: How to Plan, Install and Build Fences and Gates;" Jeff Beneke; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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