How to Install a Self-Closing Deck Gate

Dress up your deck and add security with a gate.
Related To:

Materials and Tools:

six pressure-treated 2x2x8-inch boards
four pressure-treated 1x4x8-inch boards
two self-closing gate hinges
gate latch
polyurethane glue
clear wood sealer
air compressor with hoses
galvanized finish nails
measuring tape
pattern bit for router
pneumatic finish-nail gun
power miter box


1. Measure the opening. Be sure to allow for any obstructions such as handrails and post-caps.

2. Make a full-scale sketch of the gate on a piece of particleboard to act as a template. This will help you to visualize the gate and make the form later.

3. Using the power miter saw, cut all the straight pieces. Label them and set aside.

4. Using the template, cut a piece of particleboard to form the curve of the gate top. Make a total of three of these, using the first one as a template, cutting the others with a router with a pattern bit. The template should be a rectangle with the arch cut through it. Allow ¾-inch for the arch.

5. Cut 3/16-inch strips of the wood to form the arched top of the gate. If these aren’t flexible enough, cut them thinner. The strips should be wider and longer than necessary — they'll be trimmed to fit later.

6. Apply a liberal coating of polyurethane glue to each side of all the strips. Stack the strips on top of each other.



7. Put the bottom of the form with the convex curve on the table, followed by the stack of strips, then the top of the form with the concave curve.



Clamp the two forms and tighten until the strips curve around the bottom of the form and bend into place. Clamp tightly and let sit at least eight hours.

8. After the glue has set, remove the form. Trim the sides to remove excess material and glue. Use a circular saw or a table saw to remove the excess. After the sides are trimmed, put the curve on the template and mark the ends. Cut to fit with a miter saw.

9. Assemble the gate with the polyurethane glue and the finish nailer, following the template.

10. Leave the gate flat until the glue sets.

11. Hang the gate with spring-loaded self-closing hinges. Once it’s secure, install the latch.

12. Stain the gate if desired, and seal with a water-repelling sealer.

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