Pro Max Tips

Dot your “i’s” and Cross Your “t’s”…especially when you’re comparing your fence contractor quotes.

In this edition of PMT we want to talk about the hardware selection for gates, specifically the hinges. This is a small, often overlooked detail on a fence quotation but it’s a BIG detail after all is said and done.

Did you know there are different hinges made for different situations? For instance, you may need your gate to swing shut after you open it for several reasons like pets, children and swimming pools. That requires a specific set of hinges that are known as “self-closing”.
Self-closing hinges come in an array of styles and materials and are also specific to the type of material you plan to install such as vinyl, chain link, wood, ornamental etc.

Here are some points to consider for your hinge selection:

  • The weight and size of your proposed gate
  • Self-closing vs non self-closing
  • Adjustability
  • The look of the hinge which can be dictated by the material/style chosen for your project

Let’s break it down
1. Weight and size of your gate – for the most part, homeowners are in need of at least one pedestrian gate, which means a gate you walk through which is usually 3 to 4’ in width in opening (width of the gate opening, between the posts). If you have a need to access your yard with equipment or vehicle you may need a drive gate, which means a double gate to get a riding mower or vehicle through and it would be a “double” gate with two gate leaves. Usually 6 to 10’ in opening width.
2. Self-closing vs non self-closing – each have their own benefit with regard to functionality. If you have a lot of activity in your yard, especially with children in and out, self-closing may be an option for you. The opened gate will “spring” back and connect with the gravity or magnetic latch to close. Non self-closing is best for heavier gates although a gate spring can always be added at any time.
3. Adjustability – this is a wonderful function for gate hinges. Having hinges that allow adjustability is very helpful for many reasons. If your yard has any kind of sloping or grade change, your gate posts may vary and using an adjustable hinge would be helpful should adjustment be necessary.
4. For the most part hinge selection should be made on the basis of the material, weight and function of the gate. Looks are important so you should consider if you are interested in looking at your beautiful gate or if you would rather have the hinges as a focal point. Some gates, like wood or vinyl can have the hinges on the “face” of the gate which means you could use something like decorative strap hinges however that dictates the swing of the gate and in some cases will cause the gate to be made a certain way for reinforcement.

All in all it’s a good idea to ask to have the hinges presented in the quote to be specified. That way you can ensure you’re getting the right hinges for the job and that your quotes are in alignment enabling you to make a good decision.