We all have that one neighbor with the perfectly aligned fence door who makes us wonder why our’s is such a sad-looking one? Well, here are few things to keep in mind before you roll your sleeves and make your fence door that does not sag or drag.
The first thing that one should sort out is the materials. Don’t be shy; go to the store, and ask for assistance to get your supplies within your budget. I suggest you make a visit to the store and make an idea of what you need.
Make a list and get the supplies the next day. Get your 2/4 (preferably pre-treated), fence pickets, brackets, hinges, screws, and gate latch. Throw in any other equipment or supplies, such as wood glue, and make sure you have everything from the list you made.
What Wood to Choose?
Now, what wood to choose, right? Among Cedar, Redwood, Teak, Mahogany, stick to Cedar if you want something sturdy and cost-effective. Teak is a bit on the expensive side, and Mahogany needs finishing. But if you are feeling fancy, I say you go for it.
Close your eyes and try to visualize your fence gate. Now, do you see your door swinging in or out? What about the height of the door? Any idea about the shape of the head of the pickets? Well, if not, surf the internet and get inspired by different ideas.
How to Strengthen the Post
For a strong fence door, the prime thing is the foundation, which is the post. A general rule of thumb is to sink a third of the post’s total length into the ground and use post anchor if needed. Make sure you concrete it well and preferably a day or two before building your door.
The post needs to be beefy as it will hold the door while your kids swing on them on their way out. Start working on that frame by taking your measurements correctly so that the door’s framework is an inch shy from the post.
A rigid woodworking joint keeps the door from sagging, so make sure you make clean straight cuts. Do not just rely on the screws; put some wood glue at the joints, and toenail your blocks clean. Remember, your framework decides how your door is going to hold up in the coming years.
Mount your frame before you place your pickets. Now there are two ways to do it. Conventionally one will start to fix the door frame against the post and drill in the hinges. Now, it might sound a tad bit weird but drill in some scrap boards against the post horizontally as a brace.
It will help you to achieve the perfectly aligned straight door that the next-door neighbor got. Because of the brace’s support, you won’t have to hold up your heavy frame while you try to place those hinges. Do not forget to use your scale and ropes for maintaining the alignment while placing your pickets.
Make Sure Everything is Going Well
Once done, drill in your hinges to remove the brace and hope that the door does not sag. You have somewhat an idea of what to do, but there are few things you should keep in mind. Always use heavy-duty galvanized stainless-steel hinges.
The upper-most hinge must be the biggest and sturdiest as it takes all the force and the leverage. If your 2/4 is not pre-treated, make sure to pre-drill it. For tension solution, use a rod or a cable and turnbuckle, keeping in mind that it needs to be adjusted from time to time.
You can also go with the traditional and trustworthy compress solution by placing a 2/4 diagonally. Use hot-dipped galvanized fasteners and a decent enough latch. For finishing, whitewash or transparent skin works perfectly with a few touches up from time to time. Do not skip this step as untreated wood weather to grey or attract pests.
Now that you got a clear idea of how to make a sturdy fence door for your perfect backyard, please do not be lazy and get to it!