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I have a chain link gate with metal posts in ground with concrete and would like to turn this to wood. But I’m concerned about the structural stability and possibility of doing this.

  1. The gate right now is a double gate with each gate measuring 70” wide and 4’6” high.
  2. The posts for the gate are also metal and are in the ground with concrete. It feels very stable and sturdy.
  3. We just built a new wood privacy fence that’s 6’ high and goes all the way to the gate, so the gate looks weird being metal with a pretty wood fence against it.

My Plan:

I’m planning on cutting all the chain link pieces off of the gate and bring it down to the bare metal frame. This way, what I’ll have is two rectangular metal frames attached to two metal poles with hinges.

On this metal frame, I am planning on screwing some 2X4’s along all 4 sides, then nailing the fence pickets to these 2X4’s.

concerns:

  1. As mentioned, the gate is 4’6” high and the fence is 6’ high. Would I be able to make the frame just along the 4’ span of the metal gate and still have pickets that are 6’ high? This would mean that 1.5’ of the pickets are completely unsupported. Is this going to be an issue, if there are enough nails on the bottom 4 and a half feet?
  2. The 2X4’s along with the pickets might make this too heavy for the possibly fragile poles and might start sagging. Is there anyway to prevent this?
  3. The pickets themselves are very light. Would I be able to get away with some nice screws on the pickets and into the metal frame without the 2X4 frame? Will this be stable and help with the above two concerns?

Thank you

Update based on the answer:

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Thank you for the suggestion. I used just pickets against the metal frame using self tapping wood-to-metal screws (4 for each picket) and it looks gorgeous. The gate does not seem to sag and it swings much more freely and smoothly. Excellent advise!

I did forget to add some gaps for wind to blow through, but it seems to be not an issue. If it becomes an issue in the future, I got a hell of a fix to work on!

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Weight is going to be an issue. Wooden fence weighs a lot more than chain link, and your hinges (etc.) were only designed to support chain link. Wooden fence also catches a lot more wind force than chain link does. You may destroy your hinges, posts, and/or gate frames.

If doing this at all, skip the 2x4's and use self-drilling screws to mount pickets (preferably thinner/lighter than the usual, and perhaps with larger gaps as well, for lighter weight and less wind pressure) directly to the steel frame.

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  • Thank you for the confirmation of my worries. I’ll go with screws directly to the pickets against fence. Do you have any guidance on the type of screw to go with? Should I just get metal self tapping screws and drill pilot holes in the pickets? Could I possibly go with bolts of some sort, to make the screws look prettier? May 19, 2022 at 4:13
  • Also, could you provide some guidance on possibly leaving the pickets at 1.5’ taller than the frame itself? I can always cut it down to height if needed but it might be jarring to see a smaller gate next to tall fence! May 19, 2022 at 4:17
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    I'd consider adding a diagonal brace on the back of the pickets to prevent the gate from sagging. Doesn't need to be anything special - just another picket laid corner to corner.
    – brhans
    May 19, 2022 at 11:29
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    Or a steel cable for the brace, which would be lighter, stronger, and (with a turnbuckle) adjustable. I've already suggested using self-drilling screws, but you could use different fasteners if you want more work for a different look. Pickets should be fine sticking up that far, but may warp unevenly. A classic picket-gate design would be to have them get shorter towards the center of the gate, following a curve (usually a section of an ellipse.)
    – Ecnerwal
    May 19, 2022 at 12:02
  • Great, thank you so much for all the responses! I will go with just pickets and nicer screws. I will also get the steel cable brace in the back. May 19, 2022 at 12:55

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