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We recently bought a house with a gate between the driveway and back yard. In the mornings and evenings, the gate opens and closes with minimal rubbing between the latch on the post and the latch plate on the gate. After the sun shines on the gate for several hours, the latch plate on the gate collides with the latch on the post, and will not close.

Here is a picture of the gate:

Gate between driveway and back yard

Total height of the posts is roughly 6 ft. The ground height is different on each side of the gate, so precise length of the posts is different. Width of the gate is 48 1/2".

I am guessing heat makes the gate expand.

The latch post is screwed to the detached garage. The gate post is mounted firmly in the ground. There is a cable with a turnbuckle going diagonally across the door. If I tighten the turnbuckle the door gets more clearance, but then the latch is too high to close. The hinges have an adjustment to bring the door closer to the gate post, but at the top the hinge is already colliding with the hinge screws.

Screw/hinge collision

The bottom hinge screws have 1/8" to 1/4" inch clearance.

The previous owner apparently tried to fix it by jamming a log between the gate post and the walkway:

enter image description here

The log is wedged in pretty tight, and no play. I can get the gate to close by pushing it away from the latch, but all the movement is flex in the post, rather than movement in the ground.

What is the best way to fix this?

Things that have occurred to me are:

  • Swap out the hinge screws for flat head screws and hope that the extra 1/8" is enough.
  • Try to brace the posts at the top. Not sure how to do that in an attractive way.
  • Dig out the gate post and re-set it to get better clearance (a lot of work)
  • Disassemble the gate and trim 1/4" to 1/8", then reassemble (Not sure how much work is involved. I have not worked with vinyl fencing before).
  • Try hammering the log in farther (inelegant, might break the post, but simple if it works)
  • Is it possible to move the top hinge screws to an adjacent position at the other side of the adjustment slot? – Michael Karas Jun 5 '16 at 18:10
  • The amazing expansion of Vinyl. Leave hefty gaps when this stuff is in full southern sunlight. I've seen fences & storm gutters tear themselves apart when not installed properly. – Fiasco Labs Jun 6 '16 at 6:03
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There is a pretty sizeable gap within the hinges themselves. I would definitely swap out those screws for flat head screws (and probably countersink the hinge while I have it off). Then remove as much gap as necessary with adjustment, assuming you can remove enough. That's what the adjustment is for, so that's the best and cheapest fix if there is enough play.

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Whoever installed this gate installed a turnbuckle to be able to adjust when the gate sags. All gates will eventually sag. Use a screwdriver for some leverage and insert it in the turnbuckle and turn it. That will raise the gate up and prevent it from sticking.

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Pull the gate off the hinges and notch only the area the hinge bracket covers the thickness of the bracket or slightly more this should come close to giving enough clearance. If more clearance notch the post at the point where the bracket is attached. Done well this is the cleanest looking way and less work than resetting the post or trimming the edge (this may look really bad because some plastics have a very thin color then go white). Make sure to notch them the same amount or it will not be even top to bottom.

  • The bracket on the gate post does not wrap the post. You can see that better in the third picture (bottom and top bracket are the same). I could notch the gate itself. I worry that the screw holes that hold on the bracket would only be 1/4" to 1/8" away from the existing holes and that the weight of the gate would pull the screws through to the old holes. – wrdieter Jun 6 '16 at 5:22

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