How to Build a Cedar Fence Gate


Building a fence gate is not a terribly complex project; however, you need to ensure that you have a few basics in place for the gate to function and last well. The gate posts should be installed on true vertical, with at least 3 feet of post buried in the ground so that they are sturdy enough for the gate to hang on without compromising the vertical line of the posts. Cedar is an excellent choice of wood for a gate and fence, as it is naturally rot resistant and weathers well.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-3 lumber
  • 1-by-6 lumber
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails, galvanized 2 ½-inch and 3-inch
  • Scrap lumber
  • 3 T-hinges
  • Drill
  • Screws, galvanized 2 ½-inch

Making The Gate

  • Measure the distance between the gate posts and take off one inch to get the width of the gate. The height of the gate should be as tall as, or a little taller than the fence itself, with 2 inches less for the distance between the ground and the gate.

  • Cut two pieces of 2-by-3 inch lumber to the width measurement and two to 10 inches less than the desired height.

  • Form these planks into a frame, with the ends of the longer pieces abutting the inside of the width pieces to form the frame corners. Secure together with 3-inch nails through the side of the width planks into the ends of the height planks.

  • Measure the distance between the inside edge of the height pieces and cut a plank of 2-by-3 to this length. Position it in the center of the frame and secure it with 3-inch nails through the sides of the height pieces into the ends of the central plank.

  • Measure the distance across the frame diagonally and cut a piece of 2-by-3 to this length. Place it across the diagonal and secure it with 3-inch nails through the top of the diagonal into the frame and the central plank. Tidy the ends of the diagonal plank so that they are flush with the frame.

  • Cut 1-by-6 lumber pieces to the desired height of the gate, and as many as will cover the width of the frame with around 1/2 inch space between them.

  • Place the 1-by-6 planks over the top of the frame, on the opposite side to the diagonal plank and secure them in place with 2 1/2 inch nails through the top of the 1-by-6 planks into the frame, diagonal and central planks.

Hanging The Gate

  • Position the gate between the gate posts, upright with the diagonal plank facing inward. There should be around 2 inches between the ground and the bottom of the gate. Use scrap lumber to jimmy the gate into position, and wedge it between the gate posts so that it can stay there without you holding it.

  • Position two T-hinges on the side of the gate that the gate will swing to. Drill pilot holes through the hinge hole places into the gate as well as the hinge-bearing gate post.

  • Secure the hinges in place with galvanized screws, then remove the scrap wood from around the gate to allow it to swing freely on its new hinges.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use hot-dipped, galvanized aluminum or stainless steel nails with cedar, as copper or electroplated nails and fasteners react with the natural preservatives in the cedar, causing corrosion and black stains to appear on the wood.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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