Looking to install your own wrought iron or aluminum gate, but you aren’t sure what you’ll need? We dive into the details to guide you through the materials and tools typically needed to install one of our DIY Stronghold Iron® or Infinity Aluminum® gates.
This will cover a standard DIY installation of a manually operated walk (pedestrian) or driveway gate. Unlike the fencing materials, installation of a wrought iron or aluminum gate is the same whether you are installing one of our Stronghold Iron® or Infinity Aluminum® gates. It’s also the same process and tools whether you are installing a small walk gate for a sidewalk or a large arched driveway gate. Only the provided hardware will change.
Let’s start with the materials that we will be providing you for the gate project:
- Iron or Aluminum Gate Leaf(s)
- Gate Hinges
- Gate Latch(s)
- Steel or Aluminum Posts
- Iron or Aluminum Post Caps
Iron or Aluminum Gate Leaf(s)
Iron and Aluminum Gates can have single or double configurations. Basically a single gate has one leaf whereas a double gate has two leafs:
All of our gates come in what is referred to as a ‘blank’ setup. This means there are no pre-drilled holes or attached hardware on the gate. We do this so that we can offer hinge and latch options as well as give you the decision on which way the gate will swing and hinge from.
If you are installing one of our iron or aluminum driveway gates, we offer a heavy-duty 7″ J-Bolt style hinge. This style of hinge is extremely durable and rides on a ball bearing for smooth gate operation. The other perk of the J-Bolt style hinge is that it allows for adjustability. This leaves you some fudge factor between the posts.
If you are installing one of our smaller walk gates, you have two options for hinges. The first is a smaller version of the J-bolt hinge we utilize for the bigger driveway gates. It comes in a 5.5″ size and like its larger counterpart, it allows for left-right adjustability.
The second option for the smaller walk gates is a self-closing style hinge. This style of hinge more closely resembles a standard door hinge. This hinge has a spring return mechanism so that when you open and release the gate, it pulls itself back shut. These type of hinges are often called for in swimming pool code, but can be used in standard installations as well. This style of hinge has no adjustability in it like the J-Bolt hinges.
For a manually operated gate, you will be supplied one of several latch options we offer. They include:
- Gravity Latch
- Cobra Latch (1-sided or 2-sided operation)
- Pool Latch
- Locinox Latch
Which latch you utilize will be based on your gate configuration and what your Iron Fence Shop® representative recommends. If no latch is specified, we typically supply the gravity latch as it is the most basic and cost-effective.
If you are utilizing a double (two-piece) gate, you will also need a drop rod for the center of the gate. The drop rod works in conjunction with the latch to hold your gate shut. The latch will hold the two leafs together and the drop rod will go into the ground or driveway so the gate cannot move back and forth, possibly popping the latch open. You can install one drop rod per leaf to hold both leafs open and shut or simply utilize a single drop rod on one leaf of the gate.
Steel or Aluminum Posts
The steel or aluminum fence posts will come loose and without a cap on them. The larger iron and aluminum driveway gate posts (4×4 and 6×6 sizes) will be blanks. Iron walk gate posts will also be blank, but aluminum walk gates can be blanks or Gate End style depending on how the gate is being installed.
If you are building some sort of column or pillar that you want the gate to be hung off of (stone, brick, engineered, stucco, cement, wood, etc) discuss the details with your Iron Fence Shop® representative. You may or may not need posts at all for your gate depending on the column/ pillar material and construction.
Iron or Aluminum Post Caps
The reason we do not ship the posts with the cap attached is because you have an option between our standard/ flat style and the ball style. The are affixed to the top of the post via an adhesive we supply in your install kit.
What Tools and Materials Do I Need Provide?
So now that you know what we are providing, the next question you have is probably about what tools and materials you will need to have ready on your end. Luckily, installing our Stronghold Iron® and Infinity Aluminum® gates don’t require anything too exotic. Here are the tools and materials you will commonly need:
- Cement – You can find all sorts of online calculators that will help you calculate how many bags you need. Just about any type of cement will work
- Bagged Gravel – This is optional, but useful for fine-tuning the depth of your post hole if you over-dig the depth accidentally. Any larger river gravel is good. Stay away from smaller fill or pea gravel that is too small
- Post Hole Digging Tool – You can usually find these for under $30 at any big box hardware store next to the shovels and rakes. For those not wanting the workout, you can also usually rent a powered post hole digger from places like Home Depot, Sunbelt or United Rentals
- Cement Mixing Tools – This varies a bit depending how you like to mix your cement, but usually isn’t much more than a wheelbarrow or tub to mix in, a shovel for mixing and scooping, plus a hose or bucket for supplying water
- Power Driver/ Drill – You will use this for drilling and attaching your hinge and latch hardware. If drill bits are required for your specified hinges (j-bolt style), we provide the correct size drill bits as part of our installation kit
- Tape Measure – You will use this for measuring the depth of your post hole as well as the spacing between the posts
- Level – You will use this when you set your fence posts in the cement to ensure your posts are nice and level
- Rubber Mallet and Hammer – The rubber mallet makes adjusting your posts in the cement for level easier than hands alone and won’t leave marks on the post’s finish. The hammer will be used for tapping your rebar into the ground
And That’s It…
There really aren’t a lot of parts to the iron or aluminum gates and a majority of the tools needed are something most folks already own or are inexpensive to buy. If you want some more details on how it all installs, you can visit our installation page and download our install guides, read the FAQs or watch some of our videos.
Don’t be afraid to tackle it on your own! You can save about 50% of the typical gate project cost, by doing it yourself. Our Stronghold Iron® and Infinity Aluminum gates are extremely DIY friendly. Don’t believe me? Check out our Photo Gallery. 95% of those photos are from homeowners who tackled it themselves and then shared the finished product with us. Still don’t believe me? Check out out Testimonials page and see what other DIY minded folks had to say after finishing the project.
If you still aren’t sure, you can always give us a call at 800-261-2729 or shoot us an email at [email protected] to ask our experienced staff any questions you may have about installing the fence on your own. We’re here to help!