How to Install a Gate on a Stockade Fence


The simplest way to create gates for stockade fencing is to use a cut-down stockade fence panel. Make sure that your posts are completely level and secure, as they are going to take a pounding. Buy the heaviest hardware you can afford to prevent frequent repairs or even replacement, and plumb the posts to make the opening space equal from top to bottom. This method is sufficient for single gates up to 48 inches.

Prepping the Opening and Gate

Step 1

Set your gate posts in concrete one-third as deep as their height above ground. For a typical 6-foot stockade fence, the concrete footing should be 24 inches deep. Before the concrete sets, level the posts so that the gate opening is equal from top to bottom.

Step 2

Cut a stockade fence panel for your gate to a width a half-inch narrower than the gate opening. Use a circular saw to cut rails and pickets in one motion for a clean cut.

Step 3

Set the panel on its face and place a 2-by-4 on top of the rails, running diagonally from top to bottom. Mark the 2-by-4 where it meets the rails on either side at both ends. Cut the 2-by-4 so that you have a miter on both ends and the 2-by-4 fits snugly between the panel rails.

Step 4

Attach the brace to the gate using treated deck screws 1 5/8-inches long. Drive the screws through the face of the pickets into the brace so that it is firmly attached to the back of the panel. This will help prevent gate sag.

Hanging the Gate

Step 1

Attach hinges on the picket side of the panel for outward swing; attach them on the rail side for inward swing. Fold the hinge to make a 90-degree angle. Set the inside of this corner against the edge of the gate. Center the hinge directly over the fence panel rail. Mark the screw holes on the panel and attach the hinges at the top and bottom rails.

Step 2

Drill holes for the hinge bolts with a 5/16-inch bit in every marked position. Drill all the way through the picket and rail, keeping the drill as straight as possible.

Step 3

Attach hinges with 3-x-5/16-inch carriage bolts. Place the bolt heads on the picket side of the fence for security purposes. Use a 5/16-inch nut and fender washer on the rail side to tighten the bolt.

Step 4

Set the gate in place with a picket underneath for spacing. Butt the hinge edge against the fence snugly. The rails of the gate and fence panels should line up; adjust the height if they are more than a quarter-inch off.

Step 5

Position the hinges and mark the screw holes on the fence. Drill pilot holes and attach, as for the gate side of the hinge.

Step 6

Remove the picket spacer and close the gate. Latches vary greatly, so follow the included installation directions for best results. In general, attach the gate piece first and mark the post piece position based on the gate piece height. You may need to chisel out the post to set the latch. Attach using the provided hardware.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use caution when chiseling out the post for your latch. Chisels are very sharp and cause a lot of injuries. Work with the chisel moving away from your body.

Things You'll Need

  • Fence posts
  • Concrete
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Stockade fence panel
  • 2-by-4-inch treated lumber
  • Drill
  • Treated deck screws 1 5/8 inch long
  • 6-inch, heavy-duty strap hinges
  • 5/16-inch drill bit
  • Carriage bolts 3-by-5/16 inches
  • 5/16-inch nuts
  • Fender washers
  • Gate latch of your choice


  • "Building Fences and Gates": Richard Freudenberger, Lark Books, 1998
  • Lowe's: Building a Gate

Who Can Help

  • Stanley Hardware: Strap Hinge Image
Keywords: Installing stockade gates, building fence gates, proper gate installation

About this Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published one novel and four stage plays with SEEDS studio. Mark specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.

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