I have a concrete driveway that continues to the side of my house, with a double gate (a person gate, and a large vehicle gate).

The gates are very old and made only with 2x4 frames and standard hinges. Needless to say, they are falling apart. The person gate ripped off the 2x6 which is lagged into the house in the last wind storm.

I would like to replace both of these gates with lighter gate-frames. My problem is that the vehicle gate is too wide for a standard gate-frame. The vehicle gate is on the left in the mockup below. It hinges on the corner post of the fence.

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I keep struggling with how to rebuild this. I would like to put a post 2 feet from the corner of the fence. The existing dirt is too close and is on top of several sprinkler and drain lines.

What is the best way to end up with a sturdy post? I hesitate to go to all of the trouble of cutting out a section of concrete and putting in a 5x5/6x6 post. I had another pole rot in between the two gates (which was put in before the side slab).

So my questions are:

  • Am I worrying too much about rotting? Is there a better option, such as a metal post?
  • Should I have two gates with no pole between? Can I rely on the vehicle gate to be sturdy with a ground pin holding it's swinging end?

1 Answer 1


I recently saw someone set a length of galvanized pipe in a concrete footer, and then bolt a pressure-treated fence post to the metal pipe. The galvanized pipe and footer should last essentially forever, and provide plenty of strength to support the fence/gate. The fence and gate can be replaced as needed. I thought it was a fairly clever approach. You might consider it for your application.

It's perfectly normal to have two gates without a center post, using a ground pin (often called a cane bolt) to hold the less-often used side of the gate stationary. The only downside here is that the gate will twist a bit more if side loads are applied near the top of the gate (e.g. wind, someone pushing on the gate), since the only fixed point is at the ground.

The longer the cane bolt, and the further up the gate it extends, the more support it can provide to the gate. Taking this to the extreme, if you were really concerned about the rigidity of the swinging end of the gate, you could make your own "cane bolt" out of a long section of pipe (perhaps 4 feet), and have it drop into a larger pipe set a foot or so into the concrete. That gate wouldn't go anywhere!

  • I had considered hiring someone to create a custom post from steel rectangular stock, with the gate pins welded directly on the side, and holes for bolting on a 2x5 to hide the steel from the front. The problem is steel has a rust issue, so I would need to have it coated and I don't know if it would stand up to being buried. I hadn't considered just using a piece of galvanized pipe. I could u-bolt the 2x5 to the front, but I'm not sure how I would attach the gate frame. Are you suggesting just attaching the post to the pipe, and the gate to the post?
    – Jeff B
    Dec 20, 2013 at 19:53
  • @JeffB That was my thought. You'd want to be sure that the wood hinge post wouldn't be allowed spin on the metal pipe, however. A suitable number of good-and-tight U-bolts would probably get the job done, or you could through-drill the metal pipe and use lag bolts or carriage bolts, though the holes create more opportunity for corrosion problems. I'd probably go with U-bolts.
    – mac
    Dec 20, 2013 at 19:56
  • I think you are on to something. I don't think rotation will be a problem if the post is attached to a small fence section going to the corner post. I will probably just offset the pipe such that the post sits where it normally would in the fence run. Probably need to set the post up a inch or so to keep it from sucking up water.
    – Jeff B
    Dec 20, 2013 at 20:00
  • @JeffB there already exists the exact metal post you are thinking of... contractors.masterhalco.com/Contract.nsf/woodpostmaster double two of these up back to back and it will be a really strong post. You can drill holes in it to attach hanger bolts for the gate hinge or just use strap hinges. check the install instructions
    – dotjoe
    Sep 17, 2015 at 18:12
  • @dotjoe: Cool, thanks for the info. I already completed the project. I ended up cutting out a notch at the left edge of the driveway for a new 5x5 post, making sure to slope the concrete away. At the other end I put a piece of 2" steel chain-link post in concrete between the 2 gates, flush with the ground. Then I attached a 1 5/8" steel post to the end of the large gate that could slide up and down and sleeved into the 2" piece in the ground. I don't know if that makes sense, but it is quite sturdy and I can still open the gates with no obstruction.
    – Jeff B
    Sep 17, 2015 at 18:20

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