Gates: Repairs and Maintenance
Most of the damage to gates is caused by deterioration of capping on the top edge. This should be inspected at intervals and replaced if any cracking is noticed. The joints of gates are usually wedged tenons or dowel-pinned tenons, and these may be repaired and tightened.
A dragging gate can be dealt with in the same way as a garage door. A gate can be made to close automatically by fitting a return spring, or by moving the bottom hinge, so that the force of gravity causes the gate to swing shut if it is left open. The working metal parts of the gate should be kept rust-free and oiled at regular intervals.
Wooden gate-posts rot where they meet the ground in the same way as fence-posts. They may be treated to prevent rot (as described on Fence Repairs: Rotten Panels and Posts) by internal flooding of the base of the post, with a wood preservative, at regular intervals. It is not advisable to fit spurs to gate-posts that have rotted through at the base. The best method of treatment is to remove the posts and replace hem with new ones. The new posts will be most firmly seated if the stumps of the old posts are drawn cleanly out of the ground without digging them out.
To remove the stump of an old gate-post (see video below), hammer a stout nail into each side of the stump. A length of stout wire or chain should be fastened over theto form a loop. The end of a length of stout timber is passed under the loop and this, used as a lever, is rested on a fulcrum of bricks. With the fulcrum in place, pressure should be exerted on the free end of the timber to ease the stump from the ground.
As the stump rises, the fulcrum should be moved nearer the stump-end of the lever to maintain sufficient pressure to expel the stump cleanly from the ground. The base of the new post should be well coated with an outdoor wood preservative before inserting it in the old stump hole. The best method of ensuring protection consists of placing the base of the new post in an old bucket or an oil can, and partly filling the container with the preservative, allowing the base to soak for several days, before placing it in position. Oak is the best timber to use for gate-posts. As an alternative these may be made from concrete.