I am going to build a gate in place of this fence panel approximately (5' x 5') in size.

  • Currently, there is 2x4 bolted to the house of the left side.
  • The right side is nailed to the perpendicular fence panel (not hanging off a post).
  • It's hard to see but the panel is about 6" behind the post on the right side.
  • At the bottom there is a basement window with a frame around it, which is why i believe they set the panel back and not hanging off the post.
  • It doesn't really matter to me which way the gate swings open.

My questions are?

  1. What do i need to add to hang a gate?
    • Can i attach another 2x4 over the existing one on the left, to create a 4x4 post? Or do i need to remove from house and replace with 4x4? Can I reuse lag bolt holes for new 4x4?
    • On the right side should i set a post for the other side of the gate to attach.
    • I am looking for the path of least resistance but still have the structural integrity to hold the gate.

enter image description here

  • Where are the hinges? Gotta have hinges. And whenever one works with wood other than finish or furniture work, NEVER use nails. Always use screws. Take the nails out and reattach using screws. There is a screw called a 'star drive'...it pulls itself INTO the wood. Easy to take out. Wood attachments are affected by heat, cold, drying wood, wet wood swelling...screws are the ONLY thing to use attaching wood to wood out of doors! Where are the hinges? You should have that gate HINGED to the 4X4 or an attached 2X4 to that 4X4. Three hinges, don't skimp. Left side a latch is needed.
    – stormy
    May 2, 2017 at 20:17
  • Thanks for tips but this is just the panel. I am going to create a gate from it. I am asking what structural elements are needed. Please see questions above.
    – dre
    May 2, 2017 at 20:44
  • Depends on how that 2x4 on the left is secured to your house's framing, but I'd be worried about the constant torque on my siding (holding up a swinging gate is a lot harder than holding one side of a fence panel). Especially if it stops right at your green arrow; the physics of that would put a lot of force on the lag bolts. A new post on the right would definitely work; or, perhaps you could just hinge the gate to the existing post and figure out a clever way to latch it with the existing left post (maybe a 2x10 screwed flush onto the 2x4?). May 2, 2017 at 21:24
  • I don't like the fact it is attached to the at all but was looking for simple. So a 4x4 post in the ground on the right , attach hinges to that then another 2x4 or left to put stop?
    – dre
    May 3, 2017 at 3:31
  • On the left you can't see but there is a window to the basement wasn't sure if it needed to be clear or not.
    – dre
    May 3, 2017 at 3:32

3 Answers 3


Size the gate to clear the window obstruction. From the image it looks like a 4x4 post set flush against the siding is sufficient to clear the window but if there is a light well then you need to leave more space. Also, a narrower gate will look better visually. If this is a 6' tall fence then a 4' wide gate would be typical (gets you close to a golden ratio 1.618). A smaller panel would be used to bridge to the siding.

The gate threshold should be anchored with posts buried in the ground on both sides. Gates are heavy and take a lot of abuse. You would be wise not to anchor your gate to either your house or the adjoining fence. This is true for the hinge side as well as the latch side.

If you build a narrower gate with a small panel on the house side it should be fine to re-use the 2x4 strip against your house for attaching one side of the panel (not the gate). And this avoids patching holes in the siding.

Here's what the pro's did on my fence gate in a very similar situation. You're looking at a 4 ft gate framed by 6x6 posts with a small panel attached to a 4x4 post. The total span here is 7 ft. Those are 9 ft posts buried 3 ft in the ground with dry packed cement footers. The two end posts are buried flush against the existing fence and the house (not holes I'd like to dig).

Note the A-frame bracing on the gate. This is something you should build into your existing fence panel. You could build a simpler Z-frame brace too. But make sure it's pointed the right way. For the pictured gate with hinges on the left a wooden Z brace should look like the letter Z. With hinges on the right you would form the mirror-image of the letter Z.

Fence Gate (rear view)


gate beside home to match screens of neighbor's trashThis other answer looks phenomenal. But I'll take a stab trying to use what it is you've already started.

You need a 4X4 post to match the one on the right secured in concrete right next to the house. You NEVER want to connect anything to the house itself. Myself I never use anything less than 6X6 posts. Mainly for aesthetics. 4X4 is structurally just fine.

You need a 2X4 that goes from the bottom right corner to the top left corner near the house to do a minimum job structurally for your gate. I'd use 3 hinges. This other picture of this gate is great but you'll have to redo your gate panel a bit. The closing hardware would be on that top left corner nearest the house and connected to a separate 4X4, not the house. Use SCREWS. Nails and wood make no sense at all. Use concrete to set your posts, sonatubes with post anchors are fine but not as stable as the pressure treated post set right in the concrete of the sonatube . Make dang sure you are plumb on the money or your gate will be a headache. Stuff like this you never want to skimp on, reduces the value of the home tremendously.

And I just now saw that on the right side you are attaching to the stringer of the fence not the post. There should be a post on BOTH sides of a gate. You can choose which side the hinges should be installed. If you use the left side for hinges the 2X4 should go from the bottom left of your gate to the top right corner. Undo that 2X4 attached to your home. Looks like that would make sense but there is a hard fast rule to NEVER attach any structural stuff to the home itself. Might even not pass for a permit if you tried to do so. Your panel will have to be redone slightly but you'll be glad you asked this question now, not later!


Can i attach another 2x4 over the existing one on the left, to create a 4x4 post? Or do i need to remove from house and replace with 4x4?

While you can attach your post to your house, understand that if your posts start to tear loose from the house, you've now damaged your siding, any vapor barriers, and anything underneath. If you damage a 4x4 inside concrete, you pull it out and put a new one in. Much easier to repair and/or replace.

Do NOT attempt to use a doubled 2x4 for your hinge side. You need the structure of a 4x4. It needs to hold the weight of the gate.

On the right side should i set a post for the other side of the gate to attach.

The 4x4 on the other side should be fine. The latch side merely needs to stop the gate

This is a simple Z-frame I built this weekend. It's smaller than your opening but it should give you some idea of how this goes from a DIY standpoint. I have two 4x4s set in concrete (18" down for strength), two galvanized hinges and a galvanized latch. For a larger gate, I would highly suggest a handle on both sides as well.

enter image description here

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