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Gate Gaps & ClearanceWhen building the gate for your wood fence, it’s important that we maintain a gap under the gate and on its sides…

…to ensure the gate opens and closes with ease.

You don’t want your gate to drag on the ground or rub on the sides.

As a wood fence gets older, it’s not uncommon for gate gaps to change in places.

This can happen from ground shifting, wood expansion/contraction and other factors.

At Empire Fence, we try to avoid gate problems by factoring in generous gate gaps and by recommending “anti sag” options using metal frames to reinforce the gate.

Let’s take a closer look at gate gaps and how they help.

Things That Affect Gate Gaps

There are certain factors outside our control that can increase or decrease gate gaps over time.

As you know, when it comes to Oklahoma fences, sometimes the ground can shift.


Clay or sandy soils are prone to movement through expansion and contraction, especially during wet/dry and freeze/thaw cycles.

Shifting Soil

Shifting soils can cause posts to move or tilt in some cases.

When this happens, your fence gate could begin to have problems.


Another thing to keep in mind is the nature of wood.

As a natural product, wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity.

This is normal.

These natural changes in wood can affect how the gate functions.

Gate Sag

Finally, one of the most common reasons for gate gap changes is that the gate begins to sag.

The cheapest gate options are built with wood only.

And due to the nature of wood, it’s difficult to prevent at least some sagging.

A well-constructed gate with some metal reinforcement should not sag…

…and can be adjusted over time if necessary to maintain rigidity.

While we cannot eliminate all problems that cause changes in gate gaps, there are certain things we do to help.

Gap Between Your Gate and the Ground

We leave a ground gap below your gate to make sure the gate does not drag when opening.

If your yard is fairly flat, the gap can be relatively tight to the ground.

In this case, we may try to closely match the ground gap for the rest of your fence.

However, when the ground is not level, we have a couple options.

Sloped Gate Bottom Gap

We can build the gate level across the bottom, leaving a gap high enough for the gate to clear when it’s opened.

Or, we could rack the gate to follow the slope of the yard and tighten up the ground gap.

Gap Between Gate & Post

In general, we build gates to accommodate a 3/4-inch to 1-inch gap on the latch side.

The hinge side gap depends on the type of hinges used and can range from no gap to about 3/4-inch.

Here’s an example.

Gate Gaps on Latch Side

The latch side gap helps to keep your gate moving freely, so the top corner does not hit when closing.

If you notice the gap closing near the top of your gate and widening near the bottom, you might need some reinforcing braces.

Metal Options to Maintain Gate Gaps

We offer a few options to create stronger fence gates.

Metal is a great choice when it comes to strengthening wooden fence gates.

Metal Frame

One option is a welded metal frame we use to create anti-sag gates.

The metal frame provides excellent rigidity for the gate and is absolutely necessary if using an automatic gate opener.

Combined with metal fence posts, this gate/post combo creates a very stable solution.

Metal Frame Wood Fence Gate

Metal Braces

We also offer a some commercial products that can be installed on new gates or existing gates.

One example is the E-Z Brace, which offers a relatively low-cost option to reduce or minimize gate drag.

Other similar products are available.

Most of these systems are adjustable, so you can fine-tune the tension as your gate ages.

Gate Brace

In Summary

Gate gaps are normal. And slight changes over time are normal.

If you want more information about the E-Z Brace or other methods of strengthening your gate…

…contact us to discuss options.

We’ll be glad to help!

Contact Empire Fence

As Northeast Oklahoma’s #1 residential fence company, Empire Fence of Tulsa is the area’s premier fence builder… providing professional service at affordable prices. Contact Empire to get a quote for your next fence ›