Which is the Better Option: Build a Fence Gate or Buy a Fence Gate


When choosing between building a fence gate manually and purchasing a pre-made one, most homeowners find themselves perplexed. That’s because each option comes with its distinctive advantages and disadvantages that make it challenging to find out which fits their demands. 

This idea encouraged us to craft this article and focus on answering this question: “Which is the better option: building a fence gate or buying one?” In our post today, we aim to review all the details you need to know regarding building a fence gate. Then, we will compare it with all the benefits of purchasing a pre-made fence gate instead. Eventually, the conclusion would be enlightening on which option is indeed the more effective one. Read on to find out. 

Table of Contents

How to Build a Fence Gate

Building a fence gate is like a controllable DIY project that can beautify the aesthetics and enhance the functionality of your house. To build a fence gate, you can follow the steps below in a row. But first, let’s see what we need:

Materials Needed:

  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Fence boards or pickets
  • Gate hinges
  • Gate latch
  • Screws
  • Wood glue (optional)
  • Gate hardware kit (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Circular saw or handsaw
  • Drill with screwdriver bit
  • Pencil
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves

Step 1: Measure and Plan

Initially, try to accurately measure the space between your fence posts. That’s where the gate will be erected. Consider a small clearance to let the gate swing with ease. 

Then, decide on your gate heights, which should usually correspond to the height of your fence. Now, draw an uncomplicated sketch of your gate layout. Remember to consider the dimensions of the frame and any extra cross braces you may possibly append. 

Step 2: Cut the Frame Pieces

In the subsequent phase, try to cut two vertical pieces — known as stiles — that match the height of your gate. Then, cut two horizontal pieces — known as rails — as per the width of your gate, minus the clearance from the previous step. 

Step 3: Assemble the Frame

Now, put the horizontal rails facedown on your work surface. Make sure they’re parallel at their ends. Arrange the vertical stiles evenly between the rails. Employ a carpenter’s square to see if the frame is square. 

Then, pre-drill pilot holes at each corner to prevent splitting. At the end, apply wood glue to the ends of the rails and screw them into the stiles to make sure the frame is secure in place.

Step 4: Add Cross Braces (Optional)

Once the assembly of the frame is over, you may tend to add diagonal cross braces for the highest gate equilibrium. To do so, measure and cut diagonal pieces so they can accommodate within the frame diagonally. 

Use screws to confirm that pieces are securely linked to the frame. Although this step is optional, it can substantially fortify your gate and sweeten its figure. 

Step 5: Attach Fence Boards

Now, measure and cut the fence boards so they can accommodate within the frame. Try to leave equal spaces between each board. Place them vertically or horizontally as per your desires. Then, use screws to tighten the fence boards to the frame. Start from the top and continue to the bottom. These tasks complement the construction of the gate. 

Step 6: Install Gate Hardware

For this step, attach gate hinges to one side of the gate frame based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Arrange the gate within the fence opening and see if it’s level and plumb. 

Then, use some screws to clamp the hinge side of the gate to the neighboring fence post or structure. Connect the gate latch to the opposite side of the gate and align it with the related part on the fence post or structure. Ultimately, test the gate to see if it can swing comfortably and latch properly.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

To finalize your gate, use wood filler to plug any gaps/holes. Then, sand the surface smoothly. Apply a coat of exterior wood stain or paint to shield the gate from the elements and sweeten its exterior. Lastly, let the finish dry entirely before you start using the gate.

Where to Buy a Fence Gate

If your option is to buy a fence gate, then, you’ve got diverse resources. Both online and offline options may match your schedule. It ultimately hinges on your tastes, budget, and the level of customization you want. Here are places where you can buy a fence gate: 

  • Home Improvement Stores: Retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards present a broad spectrum of pre-made fence gates in diverse styles, materials, and sizes. Pay their physical stores a visit or check their websites to assess their options. 
  • Fencing Companies: The majority of fencing companies can create and install fence gates. They usually offer customization options so you can craft your gate as per your unique demands. Talk to your friends/neighbors or check online directories to discover these local companies. 
  • Online Retailers: Amazon, Wayfair, and Overstock are among online retailers with countless fence gates. At your home, conveniently dig through their websites, read customer reviews, and compare prices before finalizing your investment.
  • Specialty Stores: Some of these stores specifically concentrate on outdoor products such as fence gates. See if they present high-quality fence gate choices in myriad styles and materials, in addition to expert advice on installation and maintenance. 
  • Local Hardware Stores: These stores are usually small but offer basic fence gate designs and hardware components. Despite their limited options, you may find what you exactly need for your DIY project.
  • Custom Woodworkers: You can even commission a custom woodworker or carpenter if your fence gate design is unique/intricate. They craft the gate based on your orders and employ decorative elements. 

Online Marketplaces: In addition to online retailers, platforms such as eBay and Craigslist may also present fence gates. Just make sure you thoroughly inspect the product prior to purchasing it.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Building a Fence Gate

Building a fence gate manually comes with its own advantages and disadvantages compared with purchasing one. Let’s start with the advantages and head to the disadvantages thereafter. 

Pros of Building a Fence Gate

Cons of Building a Fence Gate

Cost Saving Benefits 

Greater Time and Effort

Customization Options

Skill and Experience Required

Quality Control

Specialized Tools and Equipment

Sense of Accomplishment

Potential for Errors 

Advantages of Building a Fence Gate

  • Cost Savings: The first obvious benefit is saving money. When building a fence gate manually, you’ll purchase materials separately and craft the gate on your own. You’ll avoid the markup of pre-made gates. Plus, this approach allows you to flexibly pick cost-effective materials that match your budget with the same high quality. 
  • Customization: Building a fence gate manually allows you to customize it based on your certain preferences. You can personalize the design, dimensions, and materials so that they fit your current fence, landscape, and architectural style. This gives you the freedom to create a simple, functional, decorative, or any other form of fence gate. 
  • Quality Control: When building the fence gate on your own, you have full control over the quality of materials and build. It allows you to handpick mighty, quality materials and confirm that the gate matches your distinctive durability standards. 
  • Skill Development: This is like an opportunity for you as the homeowner to build priceless skills. You can experience woodworking, carpentry, and home improvement. This allows you to sweeten your mastership and confidence in DIY projects as you’ll manually measure, cut, assemble, and install the gate. Eventually, you can see yourself empowered to handle other home improvement tasks with more ease. 
  • Sense of Accomplishment: Manually building a fence gate can inject a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment into your mind. It’s absolutely rewarding to eventually see the gate has been installed and functions properly. This proves to you that you can craft a functional and gorgeous addition to your home with your own bear hands.

Disadvantages of Building a Fence Gate

  • Time and Effort: It might take a great amount of time and effort from you to construct a fence gate on your own. Each of the construction steps — including planning, measuring, cutting, and assembling — can be enormously time-consuming, especially if your woodworking experience is inadequate. Also, unpredicted challenges or mistakes during the construction may even extend the project time further.
  • Skill and Experience Required: You certainly need a certain level of skill and experience in woodworking and carpentry if you tend to build a fence gate alone. Those without these skills will find the project tough and may possibly not achieve their desired results. If you don’t have the required knowledge and techniques, your mistakes can lead to improper structural harmony and functionality of the gate.
  • Tools and Equipment: You’ll undoubtedly require technical tools and equipment such as saws, drills, and clamps to build the fence gate alone. Those who don’t have these tools will have to purchase them in advance. What’s more, power tools demand precise safety precautions and skills so you can operate them without the threat of injuries. 
  • Material Costs: Although building a fence gate manually comes with cost-saving advantages, the cost of materials must be considered too. This is paramount when you go for high-quality materials. Also, purchasing smaller numbers of materials for a single project may raise their individual prices compared to purchasing them in bulk orders.
  • Potential for Errors: Building a fence gate on your own comes with a higher risk of errors and mistakes. Inaccurate measurements, misaligned cuts, or assembly errors can make you frame a gate that can’t fit appropriately or function as you please. To fix these errors, you may have to spend additional time and money, not to mention all the effort.

Build a Fence Gate or Buy a Fence Gate: Which is the Better Approach?

Although both building and buying a fence gate come with their distinctive benefits, the chance to buy a pre-made fence gate is most of the time known as the more sensible and useful strategy. 

When you buy a fence gate, you don’t need to spend a lot of time, have specialized talents, and purchase professional tools/equipment. Pre-made gates are obtainable from myriad retailers and suppliers. You can save your priceless time and effort as you pick a gate that corresponds to your distinguishing demands, without having to construct everything from scratch. 

Besides, purchasing a fence gate assists you in having a dependable product. That’s because pre-made gates are usually formulated from enduring materials and thorough construction techniques. This gives you peace of mind that your investment will lead to a well-constructed gate that can withstand intense conditions. 

What’s more, buying a fence gate allows you to pick between innumerable design and customization options. These gates are presented in a broad spectrum of styles, materials, and sizes from reputable suppliers. This helps you discover a gate that completes your home’s aesthetic and fits your functional necessities. 

As mentioned earlier, although building a fence gate manually helps you save your money, drawbacks such as the potential for errors, the need for skill growth, and the risk of inadequate results generally outweigh all the benefits. The intricacies and hardships of building fence gates manually often make it more convincing to purchase one instead. 

For all of these reasons, the majority of homeowners find it a more fruitful decision to purchase a fence gate instead of endeavoring to build one. This gives them all the comfort, dependability, and peace of mind that come with picking a professionally crafted gate as per their appetites.

Final Words

Ultimately, the decision on either buying or building a fence gate hinges on your unique preferences, dexterities, and circumstances. Whether you choose to handle the project on a DIY basis or decide to appreciate the comfort of buying, your ultimate goal stays the same: to sweeten the appearance, functionality, and security of your house. Therefore, feel free to weigh both options and go with one that suits your necessities the most.

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