Installing Post for a Gate

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Our chain link gate was getting harder to ignore. Each time we opened or closed the gate, the side posts would wobble back and forth like a 7 year old’s loose teeth.

We knew it was time for an immediate upgrade when we discovered that the posts were not cemented in – in fact, they were starting to rot. We were shocked because the original owners loved to secure everything with cement!

Before we rebuilt the gate, we had to replace these shaky posts that support it. This is the process of installing a post for a gate and here is what our gate looks like today:

back of wooden gate with pergola above

What do you think? Do you remember what it looked like before? How about I show you:

old fence with chain link gate

So this was the first step (after redoing the fence itself) to building a gate for our fence. Here is how we installed new posts for our gate.

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INSTALLING POST FOR A GATE


MATERIALS:

TOOLS:

  • drills
  • level
  • shovel
  • razor blade knife
  • tub or wheel barrel (to mix concrete)
  • safety glasses
  • face mask (for dust)
  • ear protection

DIG HOLES FOR THE NEW POSTS

To start, we removed all the old pickets, rails, and 4×4 posts. Then, we dug new holes where the new 4×4 posts would go (we needed 3 but a normal gate needs only 2). We tried to have them in the same place as before. 

We also decided to have the new posts cemented in by 2 ft (24 inches underground). So we (my husband!) dug the holes wide enough to fit the 10″ concrete forms and about 26 inches deep.

hole dug for gate post

ADD CONCRETE FORMS

It was my job to cut the 10″ concrete tube form in half (24 inches). To cut it in half, I measured and marked the tube; then, I used a razor blade to cut along the marks.

After cutting the tube in half, we placed them into the holes. We tried to place the forms directly across from the other (using a level) and about 1 inch below ground level. 

Next, we poured a few inches of gravel into the tubes (about 3-4 inches). Then, we placed the 4×4’s into the tube and onto the gravel. SIDE NOTE: We decided to stain the bottoms of the post with our fence waterproofer before placing them into the tubes.

post placed into cement form

ATTACH THE RAILS TO THE FENCE

At this point, we were ready to attach the rails of the fence to the post to make everything level. So, while I held the post, my husband attached the rail. 

SIDE NOTE: We made sure things were level (with a level) before, during, and after the whole process. See how we attached the rails in this post. 

TIP: If you are creating this from scratch, here is a great tutorial on how to line everything up when building a fence

REINFORCE THE POSTS

Our fence comes off our garage for a couple of feet, hits a post, and turns and goes another foot before hitting the post for the gate. We were redoing these two posts plus the other one for the gate, so we wanted to make sure that the two posts for the gate were square (level with the other). To check this, we took two scrap boards (with a 2×4 between them) and braced them around the 4×4’s with clamps.

installing post for gate by concrete into place

We also braced the 4×4 posts with some scrap 2×4’s on the sides to make sure the post would stay level and not move while the cement formed. 

See picture below for an example:

level post for gate

PREPARE THE CEMENT MIX

Once we finished bracing the post so they were level and did not shift, we moved on to the fun part. We started to mix our cement (we used a big plastic tub to mix it in… we are cheap!). 

Please make sure you mix your cement beforehand – don’t just pour the dry cement into the hole and add water. I have heard that this does not hold up as well over time. So, take the extra 10 minutes and mix it in a separate container. Also, follow the instructions on the bag for the amount of water.

CREATE CEMENT FORMS

After mixing the cement, we then put it into the cement form I placed it in while my husband had a scrap 1×2 board that he used to compact the cement into the form. We used about a bag and a half per cement form. 

After filling, we covered with tarps to protect the cement from the rain; then, let it sit for 24 hours (it was actually longer because it would not stop raining).

cement forms for post for fence

After the rain stopped for an evening, we took a razor knife to the form and removed it from the cement (we did not know if you could just leave it on, so we removed it – it was not hard)

Then, we filled in the holes around the cement with dirt, making sure to compact it as we went. Once all the holes were filled in with dirt, we removed the bracing (OK, we did it before but it would be a good idea to wait!).

back filling around cemented posts

That was the process we used to install new posts for our gate. It feels so good to have a firm foundation for our new gate!

Now we could start on the pergola! Anyone else need to redo their posts for their fence?

installed post for gate
cement post for fence

Install post for a fence or gate

Yield: post for fence
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 1 day
Additional Time: 3 days
Total Time: 4 days 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Cost: $$$

Does your gate post need to be replaced? Or are you installing a new fence? Here are the steps we used to install a post for a gate.

Materials

  • 2 – 4″x4″x10ft board
  • 1 – 10″ concrete tube form
  • 3 to 4 – concrete bags (we used about three 60lb bags for 2 posts)
  • 60lb – gravel
  • water
  • scrap boards to brace posts w/screws

Tools

  • drills
  • level
  • shovel
  • razor blade knife
  • tub or wheel barrel (to mix concrete)
  • safety glasses
  • face mask (for dust)
  • ear protection

Instructions

  1. Dig holes for the post. This could mean that you need to remove the old post.
  2. Add concrete forms to the hole(s) and fill the bottom with about 3-4 inches of gravel. Place the 4x4 in the tube.
  3. Reinforce the posts with strap boards to keep the post level.
  4. Mix the concrete then pour the concrete into the forms. Let the forms sit for at least 24 hours.
  5. Backfill around the concrete forms.
  6. Now you're ready to build the rest of the fence or gate.
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2 Comments

  1. Your gate is beautiful. About how much did I cost you in supplies?

    1. Thanks, La Dawn! I did a total cost of the whole fence but I would say that the gate would not cost more than $170 and that includes the hinges and gate latch we used. Hope this helps!!!

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