How to Block Off Stairs or Gate Them Off

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Stairs are dangerous for kids and pets.
Stairs are dangerous for kids and pets. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The best way to block off stairs is by using a baby gate designed to stop babies and pets from going into dangerous or forbidden areas. Two types of baby gates are available: pressure mounted or permanent mounted. Pressure mounted gates are handy because they install in just about any passage and can be moved from room to room. They don't leave marks on the walls and no drilling is necessary. However, these are not safe at the top of the stairs because they can come open or can fall over if a child leans on them, so use permanent gates here. Use pressure mounted or permanent gates at the bottom of the stairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure mounted gate kit
  • Permanent gate kit
  • Drill

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Pressure Mounted Gates

Insert the bumpers into the ends of each gate, where the gate connects with the wall. Push the bumpers in completely.

Line the gate inside the door frame so it's straight and perpendicular to the floor. Recheck this alignment as you finish setting up the gate.

Turn the bumpers until they fit snugly against the wall. Turn the top two bumpers first, and then the bottom two.

Open and close the gate to make sure it opens smoothly.

Permanent Gate

Drill two holes in the wall where the hinge bar will go. Use a 9/64 drill bit. Make each hole 2 inches deep. The hinge bar has to be straight on the wall, so line up the holes straight on top of each other. Use the hinge bar as a guide.

Attach the hinge to the wall using the provided screws. If screws don't come with the gate, use screw appropriate for the medium you are working with, such as drywall screws for drywall.

Attach the latch bar in the same manner as the hinge bar. Drill two holes into the wall directly across from the hinge bar and screw it in place. The two bars must line up evenly with each other.

Install the gate onto the hinge bar by snapping it in place. Put the hinge cap onto the metal post to cover it.

Slide the swing control onto the bottom of the gate on the opening side. The swing control keeps the gate from swinging out onto the stairs when it's at the top of the stairs. This will keep children from falling down the stairs when they lean on the gate.

Adjust the width of the gate by moving the adjustment knobs inward. Turn these counterclockwise to loosen the gate. Align it so it's 1/8 inch from the latch and tighten the knobs again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Measure the passage at the top of the stairs before you buy a gate to get the right fit.

References

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