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Gate / Fence

Prerequisites for Gate / Fence:

  • As much of the heavy construction prior to cleanup (e.g. Decking, Tile) done as possible to minimize damage to your new gate.  Its convenient to do it as close as possible prior to cleanup so that if they leave some construction debris around, the cleanup crew can pick it up.  If you're not concerned about the debris, but you're concerned instead about the cleanup crew dinging the brand new gate, you might consider getting it done _after_ cleanup but prior to final inspection.



Ever since the house was built I've been second-guessing myself on whether or not I should have paid a few extra hundred dollars to get an 8-foot double-door RV-style gate.  I knew we were thinking about putting in a pool down the road, but at the time, I guess few extra hundred dollars was more than we wanted to spend on it.  I knew that if a pool was going to get built, it would require tearing down the current 4-foot gate and putting up a new one.  The pool project finally gave me an excuse to do it.

If you've been following along for the whole project, you'll remember the 4 foot gate was torn down during the excavation phase a few months back.  The excavation crew just gave it a few whacks with a sledge hammer and that thing was history.  Since that time, all I've had up was a couple of 4' x 4' plywood boards as a makeshift barrier to cover up the ugly hole that led to the backyard.  I'm fortunate that my Homeowners Association (HOA) hasn't sent me a letter of complaint about it.  The boards have been there since the beginning of September at least.  I was glad that it was finally going to be replaced with a real gate.

For this gate, I had contacted the company who originally put up my gate for the home builder when the house was going up.  I had already gotten a firm bid from them and everything was set for me to schedule them to come in.  They were going to charge me around $450 or so for the new 8-foot RV gate and about $275 for the new pilasters.  If you remember, Mike (my BBQ sub) as a part of the great deal he gave me, threw in some new pilasters for the front gate when he was building my BBQ.  I wasn't even there for it.  He had come in during a day I was out and when I got home I saw the new pilasters sitting there, all textured and ready to be painted.


Mike had asked me at the time who I was planning to go with for my gate and I told him about the company I had spoken with and told him the price they were going to charge me.  He said that he had a friend who had his own iron gate business (Moon Ornamental Iron) who could do it for $375.   Hmmm, save $75?  It was worth a chat with him.

I called up Moon (thats his first name) and he agreed to come by the house on Friday evening to meet with me and measure the gate opening.  When he arrived, I basically told him I was interested in two things:

  • Meeting the City of Chandler Barrier code requirements - which includes having all gates leading to the backyard opening outwardly and having them self-closing and self latching.  Also per code, no horizontal or vertical openings, holes or gaps in the interior barrier large enough for a sphere four (4) inches in diameter to pass through.  Finally, the gate latch cannot be less than 54 inches above the finished grade (to make it inaccessible from the outside by small children).

  • Have the style of the gate look like all the other gates in the community (dictated by the HOA), which is a black iron gate with wood paneling.

Since the style of gate I was required to have didn't have any more than about 1/2 inch between the wood panels, the only I needed to make sure of was that the grade of the soil under the gate was no more than 4".

Moon said that he had just the gate I needed, but that in order to put springs on each door, it would be an additional $10 per gate door.  The total price would be $395.  I agreed to it and he said that it would take a few days for him to order the gate with my width specifications.  He said that he could come by next Tuesday evening to do the install.

Over the weekend, to prepare for his arrival, I painted the sections of the pilasters where the gate would be hung since it would be harder to paint that area after the gate was up.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 5:45pm
I had a long day at the office on Tuesday and wasn't able to get back home until almost 6pm.  When I arrived, Moon was already there with his wife and they had already put up one section of the gate.


By the time I put everything down and came back out with the camera, he was securing the bottom hinge on the first section of the gate and getting ready to hang the second one with the help of his wife.  Together they hoisted the gate up and aligned it with the the first section


With his wife holding the gate steady, Moon drilled the holes for the hinges and fastened the hinge to the pilaster with the anchoring bolts.


In the pictures below, you can (barely) see the springs that are attached to the gates.  These springs are required by by city code to meet the barrier requirement.  Moon showed me how to torque the springs tighter using these two little toothpick-like tools to ratchet the spring mechanism up a few notches.  Before he left, he torqued them both up a little to insure the gate closing motion was adequately robust.


Next, Moon pounded a couple of cylindrical bar holder spikes into the ground.  These holders are used to secure each of the gates.  Each door has a little rod that can be dropped into the cylindrical holders in the ground to effectively lock them in place.  Lastly, he touched up the gates with a little bit of black spray paint, then left me the paint in case I needed to touch it up in the future.


And that's it.  It took him about 45 minutes for the full install.  Moon finished the work and was gone by 6:30pm.  All I have to do now is to get some decent stain to water-proof the wood panels.  It sure is nice to be able to look at a new gate after staring at a couple of boards for the last couple of months.

This gate is only a part of the total barrier code requirements that I have to meet before the final (pre-plaster) inspection can take place.  I still need to retrofit the patio doors and windows (that can be opened) in the house with springs and locks also.   And actually, this gate by itself is not ready to pass inspection.  Like I mentioned earlier, one of the rules is that,  "There shall be no horizontal or vertical openings, holes or gaps in the interior barrier large enough for a sphere four (4) inches in diameter to pass through."  This includes the clearance space below the gate from the bottom of the gate to the surface of the soil.  I took one of my son's rubber basketballs (which has a 4" diameter )and put it under the gate on the side where there is bare dirt.

You can see in the pictures below that there is about an additional 3 inches that I need to fill in before I can meet code.  I'll take care that by backfilling with dirt just prior to the inspector coming through.


Incidentally,  I could have put up the new gate right after the excavators finished up months ago, but I didn't want to risk banging it up as I knew dozens of other subs would be coming and going through before the final inspection.  I wanted to wait till the last possible moment.  And actually, I did the gate even a little earlier than I needed to.  I could have waited on getting the gate done just prior to inspection, but I had a gap of time in the week and thought I should try to take care of miscellaneous things now instead of bunching everything up at the end.

Speaking of miscellaneous things, Ray, my gas sub told me to call him after the acrylic was done so that he could set the fire ring in the fire pit and hook up the heater to the gas line.  I called him up and he said that he could be out on Thursday to do that work.  There will be a lot of little miscellaneous things like this to wrap up before the final clean-up crew comes in and I get prepared for the final inspection.

Problems with the Gate Fence work / Things I would have done differently:

  • Nothing


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