If your fence gate has a large gap between the gate and the ground, you probably want it fixed. That’s true whether you have dogs that get out, neighbor’s dogs that get in, or just want your gate to look better.
There are several ways to fix gaps under fence gates. For example, if the gap is level, you can lower the gate or lengthen the gate with an extension. On the other hand, if the gap exists because of a slope, you’ll want to raise the level of the ground.
In either case, you’ll have to assess your gate to decide on the best solution.
How to Fix a Gap Under a Fence Gate (5 Steps)
Figuring out how to fix a gap between a gate and the ground highly depends on the gate material and the reason for the gap. This guide will look at a few different solutions based on different gate materials.
Quick Tip: With many gates, you may be able to reduce a gap by simply lowering the gate. Gate gaps often happen when people level the top of the gate with the fence.
However, the gate doesn’t have to be. If you can drop the gate down a few inches to fix your gap, do it.
Extending a wooden gate
If you have a wooden fence and gate, the easiest way to fix a gate gap is to extend the gate. Alternatively, you can use a gate gap blocker, or install a few sections of under-door sweep to close small gaps.
The good news about wooden gates is they are extremely easy to extend. You can also easily paint extensions to look like part of the gate.
Things you’ll need:
- Wood in a size matching the other wood on the gate. You want the length of the gate plus three sections long enough to cover the gap to the top of the first cross-section.
- Wood screws
- Paint matching the existing gate OR make sure you buy impregnated wood that can stay outside without rotting
- Measuring tape
- Battery-powered drill
- Large flat screwdriver
- Wood saw (hacksaw, jigsaw, circular saw, etc.)
1. Measure the gate
Measure the distance between the gate at the point where you want to attach the extension to the ground. Here, you have a couple of options.
For example, you can tack the extension onto the very bottom of the gate. This won’t look as good, but it will be cheap.
Alternatively, you can run the extension up to the first cross-beam, which will somewhat hide the extension.
If you want it to look even better, you can add a second layer of wood over the whole gate, so the extension is just another layer of the gate. In most cases, you’ll want to match supports to those already on the gate.
Therefore, if it has a single center vertical bar, have one center vertical bar on your extension.
Therefore, your vertical pieces should be:
- Distance to the ground + Distance to the first horizontal board, the first crossbeam (center of the gate) or to the top of the gate
You’ll also need cross-pieces that are the full width of the gate.
2. Take the gate off (Optional)
It will always be easiest to work on a gate that’s been taken off the fence. However, if you don’t have someone to help, that may not be an option.
To remove a gate, you’ll normally have to either take the hinges off. However, if you have hinges with pins, you can lift the pins out instead.
Then, lay the gate on the side up where you want to attach the extension.
3. Cut the wood
Measure and cut your wood pieces using a square to ensure they are straight.
4. Attach the extension
Use wood screws to attach the horizontal pieces to the gate. Then, attach the cross-sections to that. If you’re adding cladding over the rest of the gate, you can go ahead and add that now.
5. Put the gate back on
Put the gate back on if you took it off. You can also take the time to add any paint or weatherproofing now.
Vinyl Fence Gates
Vinyl fence gates are often not strong enough to support a gate extension. However, you can almost always install a gate gap blocker. In this case, you’ll want to purchase a rubber flap for the bottom of the gate.
Many hardware stores also sell lightweight vinyl gate extensions. These clip or screw onto the vinyl gate.
However, you’ll want to make sure that you can cut them to size. You’ll also want to make sure that you can attach them to your gate.
For example, If you have a thin or hollow vinyl gate, it can be difficult to attach anything to it. You might have to use clips or a combination of glue and clips rather than screws.
If neither of those options work, you might want to raise the level of the soil. In that case, skip to the section below.
Chain Link Gates
You can fix gaps in gate bottoms on chain link fences by attaching a new section of wire to the bottom of the fence. Here, you may choose to use chicken or garden wire.
You might also choose to purchase a section of chain-link gate and cut the chain link to fit.
Here, you have several options:
- Cut a piece of chicken wire at twice the length you need to fill the gap. Fold it in half and press the edges flat. Use bailing wire to attach the extension to the bottom of the gate.
- Cut the chain link to the size needed to fill the gap. Use wire to attach it to the wire side of the gate.
If you have access to a circular saw and a welder and the skills to use them, you can also choose to cut a second gate and extend the frame on the one you have.
Here, you can ideally use a torch to cut the chain link fence frame in a semi-circle that fits over the bottom of the frame on the old gate for a stronger weld. Then, you can simply weld the old part onto the new.
Fixing a gate by raising the ground
If you’re fixing a gap under a gate with sloping ground, the only real solution is to raise the ground. Alternatives, like sloping the gate to the curve of the ground, do not work.
Why? The ground will continue to curve, and you’ll almost always have issues opening the gate. Unless, of course, the ground drops off further.
However, you can generally fairly easily raise the ground. Depending on the width of the gate and whether it has to support cars, this may require quite a bit of work.
- Always slope the dirt in a gentle curve away from the gate in both directions. The gentler the slope, the more easily you can avoid erosion.
- Use retaining walls where you can’t add slope.
- Make sure you choose dirt that compacts and packs tightly. For example, clay, local dirt (not topsoil), or caliche. You want a material that compacts tightly and does not easily erode.
- Mix your dirt with gravel to reduce erosion.
- Always be sure to tightly compact any dirt to prevent erosion.
Here, there are also several options you can use. For example:
- Build a ramp to level the ground but which functions as a gentle speedbump.
- Raise the level of the entire path or road and gently slope it out as much as possible, with retaining walls on either side of the road.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to fix a gap for a flat gate, you can install a speed bump. Because most cars have to slow down to enter gates anyway, this shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, it will raise the level of the ground to the gate.
Finally, if you’re filling a gate gap to prevent dogs from getting out, you’ll want to pave your newly raised floor. Using paving stones or slate will prevent dogs from digging it up. However, you don’t have to use mortar, unless you want to.
Instead, you can simply compact paving stones directly into the dirt, where they will function as a light deterrent from anything trying to dig the dirt up.
How do I fix a gate gap because of a crooked gate post?
In most cases, you’ll want to fix and straighten the gate post first. However, gate posts may be crooked for a number of reasons.
For example, if the gate is too short. Here, your best option is to move the gate post slightly to towards the road and fill the gap between that post and the fence.
However, once you straighten a gate post, you might find that your gate is even higher off the ground. In this case, you can either extend the gate, install a flap at the bottom, or see if you can lower the gate on the posts.
Can I attach a wood extension to a vinyl gate?
Some vinyl gates are sturdy enough to allow boards or vinyl boards to be attached to the bottom. Others are not.
Here, it’s a good idea to inspect the bottom of the gate. If your frame is sturdy, you should be able to drill through it.
Then, use bolts that go fully through the gate to attach your extension. This is important because bolts distribute weight evenly on both sides of the vinyl frame.
If you use a screw, the weight will be uneven and the screws could pull out or tear the vinyl over time.
What’s the best under gate dog barrier?
In most cases, any barrier that extends to the ground will keep dogs in. However, if your dog digs, you’ll want to pave the ground or use gravel or rocks first. After all, if your dog dug a hole at the bottom of the gate, they would just do it again.
Additionally, you have to be careful with using wire extensions for dog barriers. Chicken wire can cut or hurt your dog’s paws, especially if there are sharp ends.
There are many ways to close a gap under your gate. Choosing the best option normally depends on the gate material, your budget, and what you want it to look like. Additionally, you may also choose to simply buy a taller gate.