Bracing a saggy gate.

bracing-gate

 

There are 3 ways to make the home you live in look derelict.  Broken windows, saggy gates and standing on your front lawn in a bathrobe throwing jelly beans at everyone walking past.  Extra derelict points if you’re wearing banana peels as slippers.

I have no broken windows and gave up on throwing jelly beans at my neighbours years ago when I realized (judging by the fist shaking) not a single passerby seemed to like jelly beans.

I do however have a saggy gate.

I’ve been meaning to brace these gates since the day I built them.  But I’ve had other very important things to do that didn’t involve bracing a gate.  Mainly this is because I had no idea how to brace a gate.  I had a general idea I guess, but it wasn’t the sort of thing I knew exactly how to do or what to buy.  I’d go to the hardware store the odd time and kind of look at the wires and twisty things and know that these were indeed the sorts of things I’d probably need, but there were so many sizes and little parts involved that I inevitably turned on my heels, grabbed a bag of jelly beans and left the store.

 

sagging-gate

The difference.  Left side after bracing.  Right side not braced.

 

Every few months or so my neighbour Grant would take a look in my backyard and say “So.  Haven’t braced those gates yet, eh?”.  I’d tell him, NO!  Which he couldn’t hear on account of his ears being filled with jelly beans by the time I responded.

Finally, after a few years of being pelted with jelly beans, Grant offered to take me to the local hardware store to show me exactly what I needed to buy.

I agreed because Grant has a super-cool car.

 

mini

 

dash

 

wheel

 

If Grant drove a Corolla you’d be reading about how to make soup today.

How to Brace a GATE.

Materials (per gate)

(2 x )  4/16ths eye bolts

(4 x )    1/8th” crimps (aluminum sleeves)

1/8th wire (length of the diagonal measurement of your gate plus a couple of feet)

(1 x)    6 3/4 x 9 3/8ths eye

Tin Snips or cutters

Electrical tape

brace-a-gate-diagram

I was going to end the post there with that diagram I drew because I suddenly wanted to try to make biscuits.  But you people  have a tendency to be super-needy always asking for clarification and instructions and actual photos and such.  Since I find it very difficult to throw jelly beans through my computer I will comply.

 

cutting-wire

The first thing you need to do is cut your length of wire in half.  You’ll be using half on one side of your gate brace and half on the other.  If you measured correctly across the diagonal of your gate plus added another 2 feet you should have the right measurement for each side of your gate simply by cutting your length of wire in half.

 

cutting-wire-2

 

This wire is insanely pointy and sharp once you cut it so to make things a tiny bit easier on yourself use a GOOD pair of tin snips or cutters.  You can also tape on either side of the wire that you want to cut with electrical tape.  This will keep the wire from unravelling (which seems to be when it’s at its sharpest and angriest) after you cut it.  Just cut between the tape.

 

working

 

Maybe do so while sitting on the ground looking pensive and thoughtful.  With a blotch of black paint on your leg.

 

wire

 

The other thing using the tape does is keeps the wire as tight as possible when you’re cutting it. It has a tendancy to splay out when you cut it which makes it almost impossible to thread through your crimps.  Which are actually called aluminum sleeves.

Once your wire is cut in half, apply a sleeve to each end of the wire.

Run the wire through once, hang the eye bolt off of it, then continue the wire through the sleeve.

 

threading-eye

 

Keep your loop as small as possible.  This will allow you to have as long a wire as possible which will ensure your wire is long enough to run the full diameter of your gate.  Crimp the aluminum sleeves closed with either a crimping tool or a mallet.

Once you have eye bolts and sleeves on the ends of your two separate wires, you can then attach the sleeves and adjustable eye, making one continuous connection, like you can see in the photo below.  Crimp your sleeve the same way as before.

 

gate-bracing

Lay the wire on the ground while you drill a hole on opposite corners of your gate.

You want a hole on the edge of the gate that’s dipping (which will be at the bottom of the gate) and a hole on the gate diagonally across from that hole.  Just go look at the picture I drew and it’ll all make sense.

Notice below how I don’t have huge loops.

 

bracing-gate-2

 

Once your holes are drilled all you need to do is push the eye bolts through the holes and secure with a nut (and washer if you’re the type to do things right).  Tighten.

You can now “brace” your gate by tightening the adjustable eye in the middle by twisting it.  The more you twist it the tighter the wire will get, lifting the bottom of your gate up as it goes.

 

braced-gates

 

If you go back up to the top of the post and compare the sagging gate to the lifted one you’ll see what a big difference it makes.

I’d have done this years ago if only someone had mentioned it to me.

 

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52 Comments

  1. Paula says:

    Look great – good job! I really like your chicken pen, too.
    Btw – how do you make biscuits? (just cause I am needy like that).

  2. ronda says:

    OMG! the car!! gorgeous! the gates are great too!

  3. Cynthia Jones says:

    I like Grant’s steering wheel cover. Cool. That wire is used to make clothesliines in Australia. They are called Hills Hoists.

    http://guides.naa.gov.au/records-about-south-australia/gallery/image022.aspx

    It always amazes me how clean you stay.

  4. barbee says:

    I don’t have a gate to brace, but nevertheless enjoyed your post (as always)

  5. Kelli says:

    I’m sure I will be judging saggy gates now, lol.

  6. Val says:

    Hi Karen,

    We installed a sixteen foot long gate that my husband made by welding two steel fence sections together. We used your neighbor’s method to prevent gate-sag, and so far it has held up beautifully, been three years now.
    Such an easy (and cheap!) solution.

    Val – from Canada eh?
    Have a great day Karen!

  7. Laura says:

    I need these for my boobs. Also, this is the same method I used to string wire across my yard from which to hang twinkle lights.

    • Ardith says:

      Laura, I’m so glad I wasn’t drinking or eating anything when I got to your comment. Now that you mention it, these gadgets might do wonders on a number of my now misaligned bits and bobs. Cheers, Ardith

    • Karen says:

      Maybe Botox would work for that Laura. I mean it would be an off label use but still … I think if you just pulled your boobs up and straight out then injected some Botox all around them it would probably do the trick. The only problem is no one would be able to tell when your boobs were angry or surprised. ~ karen!

      • Cynthia Jones says:

        Good idea. Careful symmetrical injections would be needed. Nobody wants Marty Feldman boobs. Both looking in a different direction.

        I knew a woman who had her boobs hitched up. She was not allowed to lift her arms for a year.

        Apparently now you can get some surgeons who put reinforcing mesh in and they never ever sag. not even 1000 mls ones.

        Mind you, they don’t move either.

        Just sharin.

      • Tigersmom says:

        Ha! Mine are obviously sad. Very, very sad.

    • Kim C says:

      I just spit a little coffee on my tablet screen! Both great ideas. 😉

  8. Dagmar says:

    Hi Karen, your gate is stunning. Well, actually, your whole everything is stunning: home, garden, front porch, your community garden, your blogs, your family, like I said, everything. I just wondered, is one gate already braced (the one on our left). Was that on purpose to teach us?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dagmar! Yes, I made a quick mention late in the post that the one side of the gate was fixed in the first photo and the other side not. I’ve now made a quick note under the first photo to make it more clear. 🙂 ~ karen!

  9. Karen Too says:

    I’m glad you mentioned about the pain blotch on your leg because I was going to advise you to get that mole looked at. I’ve had one or two dicey ones myself taken off so I am sensitive to this sort of thing. It’s not meant to be a snarky comment.
    Hey… I drive a Corolla! ;D

  10. Michael says:

    You did a great job on your gate…you have just the talent I need.
    The property I’m going to acquire is in Northern Arizona and over
    an acre just on the edge of the Navajo Reservation very close to
    Hopi Land. I have a few tons of tools and lots of work.
    The south west gate needs your professional care as does most of
    the rest. There is an old 3 bedroom house on the property that
    needs the best of Canadian assistance. The Little Colorado River
    is one mile to the east and this land is part of the Orion Nebula…
    by use of the Golden Ratio…transposed from the Pyramids of Egypt.
    Michael

  11. MaggieB says:

    OMG my first car! but in British Racing Green. It had sliding windows on the front side windows and the back sides were lift and tilt mechanism and to go full beam you had to step on a button to the side of the accelerator. It was of a build age that at the time of seatbelts becoming law in UK it wasn’t technically necessary to have them installed. Nice trip down memory lane. Wow WKRP and old minis after each other. Rats I must be of a certain age and will have to pretend to be an adult.

    So back to the post – excellent instructions and pictures as always Karen. Wish I had a saggy gate now…… dont have the other use problem – two fried eggs on a plank!

  12. Carol says:

    Arrrr, an adjustable eye – sounds very pirate like. Down here in Oz we call them there thingies ‘turnbuckles’
    Also very pirate like.

    Off to chomp on some jelly beans…

    • Jennie Lee says:

      Darn it, Carol! You beat me to it! As soon as I saw it, I said, all smarty-like, “That’s a turnbuckle!”. I actually have some in my basement, just in case of…something. At least I can chip in that they are also called turnbuckles in the U.S. . (You’re right-it is strangely pirate-ish.)

  13. Cindy says:

    wonderful post – – I’ll get right on that! Thank you! Speaking of needy the thing that I’ve really been needing to know is how to keep the gate from slamming any ideas on that? Thank you so much for your ever-supportive posts.

  14. Teresa Jennings Richardson says:

    I really needed this information and did not know it. I recently had my front porch screened in. I had a single door put on the carport side with a screen door that pushes in so I can bring in groceries easier. I had double doors put at the front sidewalk so I could have enough room to bring a new couch in without having to twist and turn and squeeze it thru, but within a few months, those doors were sagging and looked just awful. I called the carpenter who did the work to come back and fix them and his answer was an “L” bracket at each corner. So far that has held up, but I think they really need this brace system. I can’t decide right now if I want to fix it correctly myself or just get the materials, give him this blog to read and let him learn for the future. I really hate droopy doors.

  15. Ei Con says:

    I’m thinking there’s a typo in your list for the eyebolts. Should be (2x) 4″ x 5/16″ eyebolts, no?
    I’ve also always called that twirly thing in the middle a turnbuckle ( yes, does sound pirate-y). We used a big one when we put a zipline in our back yard for my son. Also, my hubby restored a ’79 Mini about 20 years ago. It came from Canada. . I love how your posts are always relevant to my life. How do you DO that?

  16. Ei Con says:

    Also, Centsational Girl did a post yesterday about black-painted garden fencing and other outdoor accents. I just knew that your backyard would be included in her photos. But no. Harrumph!!!

  17. Su says:

    kinda wish I too had a saggy gate but do not…. I’ve found that when I need help and instructions like this, I got to our local hardware store and look for the oldest guy there and ask him how to do whatever it is I need to do….. these retired dudes are full of helpful and useful advice! Plus he reminds me of my grandpa 🙂

  18. Wendy says:

    The real question: what on earth are you doing to look that good in short shorts? I mean, I guess all the “doing stuff” keeps you trim, and I think you might be a runner . . . but is there anything else? Just curious.

    • Karen says:

      Oh, I just look good because I’m sitting down and my knees are up Wendy. I don’t do much of anything other than a lot of stuff, lol. Thug gardening helps. I try to run but I suck at it and I hate it so … The one thing that helps is a Fitbit. I really do pay attention to whether I have 10,000 steps in and if I’m looking low, I’ll walk to the store instead of drive or park far from the door or whatever. ~ karen!

  19. Karol says:

    Seven references to jellybeans. I know that mentioning that is weird as shit, but I am a counter and can’t help it. That being said, great tutorial! I would have thought it would have been a much more difficult DIY, and it may be, but you made it look very simple.
    With love from an OCD follower.

  20. SusanR says:

    I don’t have any gates or doors that need to be un-drooped, but I do have a very large walk-in closet in the bedroom that will ultimately be a crafts and sewing room, and I’ve had this idea of putting wire across part of the open ceiling space to hold tubes of wrapping paper, but I was wondering how I could make sure the wire was taut enough. I think I now know what to do! Thank you, for once again schooling me in the nicest way. 🙂

    • Lauren says:

      Su have you considered using dowels instead of wire? That way you can simply lift the dowel up and out when you need to change paper rolls. With wire I think you might have to undo something, which could be annoying. You can buy doweling that’s skinnier than standard closet doweling and the holders to fit at any Home Depot, etc.

      • SusanR says:

        Thank you for the suggestion. I wasn’t thinking of “stringing” the paper onto the wires, I was thinking of creating maybe a 3-4 wire crisscross, and then just setting the rolls of paper on top of that, perpendicular to the wires. I will be using dowels for the many “rolls” of lace that I’ve acquired over time and rolled onto old toilet paper cardboards. But those will be in a wall rack.

  21. Tigersmom says:

    We’re only super-needy because you’ve made us that way.

  22. Lauren says:

    You explain how to do these things better (and way funnier) than just about any body else. I’ve got a big crush on Tommy Silva from This Old House, so that’s why you got the ‘just about’.

    I had one tile pop off from a too short clamp whilst making pasta with a 25 year old pasta maker. Would you recommend using Elmer’s to put the damn thing back on or do I have to go buy a tub/pkg of thinset?

  23. Melissa in NC says:

    Jelly beans, droopy gates and droopy boobs what a great post.

  24. Dale says:

    Lauren, just buy a bag of jelly beans, (or walk past Karen’s) pick a color to match the color (colour) of the tile, chomp a few times to get them nice and goopy, slap them under that tile and smoosh it back in place. Good for a quick fix but Gorilla glue would last longer and can be used for more stuff in the future.

    • Jennie Lee says:

      Dale, I’m afraid Gorilla Glue would not be a good choice because it expands as it dries. That’s nice when you’re gluing things that don’t fit neatly together, because it fills up the space, but the tile should be a neat fit. I’d suggest a bit of clear silicone caulk.

      • Lauren says:

        Don’t have any Gorilla glue – or jelly beans, so this comment saved the day. I think I know in my heart of hearts I SHOULD spring for a small tub of thinset, chip off the old thinset, etc. I may try the silicone caulk in the interim though cuz I’ve got some hiding out in the garage.

        • Karen says:

          K I’ve held my tongue long enough. Just use the thinset, lol. It’s easy, fast and will fix it properly. Plus you’ll get that feeling of accomplishment and I’m sure you’ll find othe things you need at the hardware store. 😉 ~ karen!

  25. Wisconsin Gal says:

    Karen, I’m going to print this out and take to Home Depot, come home and get out the drill. At that point, my husband will take over and (finally) fix our sagging gate. I’ve been mentioning it twice a year for five years now, since I’ve run out of things to throw at him. (And jelly beans don’t work.) Thanks for giving me the tools to get the ball rolling!

  26. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    What kind of soup…turkey soup right..of course…it’s leftover week in Canada…

  27. Keelea says:

    I’m with Paula. I’m ready for that biscuit recipe! Gates look fab, btw!

  28. Jody says:

    Love Grant’s name because that was my single name. Love his car. Love the little ash tray on the dash. And he has over 800,000 km on that puppy. Yikes! Did he let you drive?

  29. Jody says:

    The banana peels help my calluses.

  30. Rondina says:

    I should have asked you how to do that years ago when the original ugly gate was here. Fortunately, a dump truck that hauled off the pile of destruction that was the inside of the garage apartment hit the gate and brought one side down. A couple of hundred dollars for 6×6 metal posts and a rounded top and I had a brand new one paid for by said dump truck company. It’s not the wrought iron gate of my dreams, but it was almost free. The old one had these on it. They apparently were not installed correctly as they had huge wire loops.

    Now for the important question. Grant drives a super-cool car. It should be featured on Jerry Seinfield’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” (There are a lot of Canadian comedians down here. I think because we have so many things to make fun of.) What kind of car is that?

    • Karen says:

      Well that is fortunate. Maybe a dump truck will run over my neighbour’s tree that shades my front yard garden. Just kidding. Kind of. That car is a Mini. 🙂 ~karen!

  31. Barbie says:

    It’s nice to have great neighbors! I once owned a mini….when I lived in Scotland! Loved it!

  32. Alberta Gal says:

    You have the best blog I have ever seen, in every way. Thanks so much for sticking with us.

    I have a pile of those wire tensioners, and now I remember why I bought them! Need to straighten the main farm and garden gates, and some corner fence posts. Now I know how to do this job, once, correctly.

    I have to install a new toilet, and was wondering how to do it. Your post showed up just in time!

    And yes, I butter both sides. Keeps the moisture in the filling from soaking the bread, and I use mayo, too, on top of that, and sometimes mustard. ‘Butter is Better’! So they say.

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