Whether you’ve just purchased some property, or you’re proving to yourself that you are a DIY pro, you are probably on the lookout for some fixer-upper projects to help make your home look a little more like home. One of those projects will most likely, inevitably, be a sagging fence gate.
Gravity can do a number on a lot of things around the house. Due to the exterior weathering and constant use that a fence gate goes through on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that it can often fall prey to sagging.
Thankfully, this isn’t that big of a problem to fix, and should really only take a few hours, some simple tools and materials, and maybe a little bit of lifting.
Just follow these easy steps to make fixing that sagging fence post the easiest job done on your home renovation to-do list.
Step One: Assess the Damage
At worse, sagging fence gates can leave you with a fence that is inaccessible from either side. Half of the gate latches can fall, causing them to not be able to fit the other side.
Sometimes the gate can even fall low enough to scrape the ground, which can cause damage to concrete or a grass lawn.
No matter which reason your fence is sagging, you can end up saving yourself a lot of hassle by simply just giving your fence gate a good look-over. Be sure to test just how sturdy your gate is by swinging it open and pulling on it a little to see just how loose it is and where exactly it’s coming apart.
A sagging fence gate can be caused by one of two major reasons. The first is that the rail ends have weathered over time, leaving the fasteners to become undone.
In this case, it’s probably best to replace the rails, putting an anti-weathering agent on them such as stain, and tightening or replacing the fasteners altogether.
The second reason is that the person who built the fence left too big of a gap between rails, or that the rails aren’t strong enough to support the weight hanging off of them.
In this case, it’s probably best to replace your rails with stronger material and hardware.
The problem isn’t always that easy to fix, though. That’s why looking into using an anti-sag tension kit might be a good idea.
Step Two: Get the Right Materials
Depending on your situation, fixing a sagging fence gate can take about ten minutes, or a few hours.
One of the most common fixes for a sagging fence gate is to simply tighten the screws holding the fence together that can come undone over time. This simply just requires a screwdriver, and maybe someone to hold the gate up for you.
If you noticed that your hardware is old, rusted, or is just broken, take pictures of it and measure it to make sure that you get the right replacements at your local hardware store.
If you need new wood boards, it’s easy to get new pieces cut. If you’re unsure of what type of wood you need, there are plenty of guides online or you can consult a professional.
To match new wood with old wood, be sure to check out our article on the pros and cons of staining and painting.
If you’re sagging fence is a bit of a bigger project than simply just replacing a board or tightening some screws, there’s no need to stress.
Anti-sag-kits range from about $12 to $30, depending on how sturdy your fence needs to be.
Most anti-sag kits come with two to four corner braces, a turnbuckle, cable, and fittings. These kits make it extremely easy to repair your gate by using the gate you already have and adding stress to one side of the gate in order to relieve pressure on the other side.
Repairing your sagging fence gate this way is done by attaching a diagonal brace or a tension rod that connects to one of the hinges on the opposite corner of the gate. This allows you to easily lift the gate on the side that is sagging by using tension.
If you feel confident you already have the correct materials to fix your gate fence, then just grab your corner braces, turnbuckle, cable, or fittings, and a hammer or screwdriver.
Step Three: Take Off Any Unnecessary Parts
It’s not uncommon that a previous owner or builder might have misjudged what materials they needed, or just didn’t really care to do the job right when building your fence gate.
Before adding any new materials to the gate, this is where you need to take out any nails, screws, or other hardware that weren’t properly doing their job. Simply just taking a hammer or screwdriver and remove what you are prepared to replace.
Sometimes a rotted or weathered piece of wood is the culprit when it comes to a sagging fence gate. If this is the case, remove the board carefully, without damaging any other pieces of wood.
If you need to remove the entire fence from its position in order to replace something, be sure to take off the more loose screws to keep damages at a minimum.
Placing the full weight of the gate on one section of hardware could cause wood to break, making your job even bigger.
Step Four: Add Your New Parts and Secure Your Hardware
After replacing any pieces that are a necessity, and you still find that your gate is sagging, it’s best to rely on good ol’ tension in getting the rest of the job done.
The easiest way of making sure that your fence gate stops sagging, and doesn’t continue to sag in the future is by using tension. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to install a cable and turnbuckle kit, which are sold online or in most hardware stores.
As soon as your ready to fix your sagging gate with one of the kits, or the appropriate materials you might have just laying around, just follow the next few steps in order:
- Add the top corner bracket on the inside of the frame of the gate using a screwdriver.
- Take the other corner bracket and slide the cable through it, clamping it down to attach it completely.
- Screw-in the corner bracket you just attached the cable to, to the bottom corner of the gate.
- Loosen the turnbuckle and attach the hook end to the top corner bracket.
- Take the cable and string it through the eyelet of the turnbuckle.
- Place some materials under the gate so that the turnbuckle doesn’t need to tighten too much.
- Cinch up the cable and tighten it.
- Tighten the turnbuckle, allowing it to lift the gate up to the appropriate height.
- Remove the materials you put under the gate.
- Test out your new fence gate, seeing that’s it’s sturdy and doesn’t hit the ground.
Congrats! You’ve finished the job!
If you’re like most DIYer’s and need a visual of what kind of job you’re in for, just click on the play button on the video below:
Step Five: Protect Your Hard Work
Lastly, it’s of the utmost importance that you protect your hard work so that the future you can continue to enjoy your DIY’s.
This means constructing and maintaining your fence gate in accordance with city laws, so that it is not too big and heavy, and therefore unmanageable, or too low to the ground, allowing water to ruin it.
This also means apply whatever material your fence needs to stay solid, sturdy, and most importantly, functional, including water repellent stains or paint, keeping it safe from weathering.
If you see black or green areas start to appear on your fence, it’s best to clean them with chlorine bleach, so that the damage doesn’t sink in any further. If possible it might also be a good idea to just regularly power wash your fence, so that it can be kept safe from the damaging effects of microbes.
And if you notice broken hardware or building material, be sure to fix it or replace it as soon as possible. Relieving structural stresses before they become structural damages is key to keeping your home beautiful and functional for as long as possible.
Fixing a sagging fence gate can really be one of the easiest home improvement projects on your list if you know the right methods and materials to use.
So don’t settle for any amount of sag when buying a new home or repairing your old one. It’ll help to keep not only you but your neighbors and guests happy when they can pop over for a visit through your beautifully even and stable fence gate.