How To Build a Deck Gate In 5 Steps


Hey Again!

Summer is almost here, well I’m hoping it will come quick anyway, and outside is where everyone will want to hang out. However, with two dogs we need to be able to have separation between them and us when we just want to relax (and maybe so they won’t chew through every cushion on our patio furniture  😛 ).

Our deck did not have a gate on it.  So for a while the dogs were able to run up to the house and scratch on the door which was not ideal.  And like I said, it makes any outdoor moments also dog at your feet moments.  So today I will show step by step how I built the gate that will give us some space this summer!

Let’s get started!

Materials Needed:

  • 2- 1in x4in x10ft treated wood (need 5 cut pieces the width of your gate, for my deck I needed 5-37.75 inch pieces)
  • 10 deck straight end (not angled) balusters (cut to the height you need for your deck, I needed 34 inches)
  • 1 package 2.5 inch deck screws
  • 1 gate latch kit
  • Screwdriver, preferably with drill bits to pre-drill holes

Materials: cost less than $50 

Time: less than 1 hour from assembling to completed attached gate

What to do

Picture 1. Materials needed.

Step 1: Measure.  The opening of the stairwell is 38 inches.  I need to adjust this number for room for my gate to open.  So, I took off 1/4 inch.  This would make the widest piece of wood 37.75 inches.  The height from the flooring of the deck to the top of the deck handrail is 36 inches.  I don’t want the gate to touch the floor so I wanted to take off 1 inch bringing the height to 35 inches tall.  *The first thing with any project involving cutting wood, is MEASURE.  So keep in mind, any height or width numbers I have used for my project may need to be adjusted to the width and height that you need for your gate.  Even an inch can make it so your gate does not fit in the stair opening.

Picture 2. Opening for gate.


Step 2: Cut.  I got all my materials from Lowe’s.  Here they will do cuts for you.  I think only a couple are supposed to be free but I had a nice employee who made all the necessary cuts for me at no extra charge.  You will need 5 pieces of the 1×4 inch boards cut to the width you measured your gate to be.  Since my gate is 37.75  inches wide,  I could get only 3 full cuts off of one 10 foot board.  So, I needed two 1inch x4inch x10foot boards to get all 5 pieces.  These are for a front and back header and footer on the gate as well as a ‘handrail’ piece for on top of the gate.   I wanted my gate to be 35 inches tall.  Since ~1 inch will be taken up by the top ‘handrail’ on the gate the balusters height will be 34 inches.  Lowe’s made all of these cuts for me as well.  10 balusters was more than enough spacing for my gate to have, ~3 inches.  If you have a more narrow gate and 10 balusters, the spacing will be smaller. 

Step 3:  Assemble the gate.  Line everything up.  You want all the corners to be square so your gate will fit in the opening (Picture 3).  You also want all your balusters to be evenly spaced out (Picture 4).  I did this quick and dirty so I did not measure where ‘exact’ spacing would be.  I just eyeballed it.   🙂 


Picture 3. Square up the edges.
Picture 4. Evenly space balusters.
Picture 5. Add front for header and footer of gate.

Step 4:  Screw, screw screw.  The deck screws have a drill head that will be included in the pack since they are a funny shape.  Also, if you have a drill bit that can pre-drill the holes it would be best to use it (Picture 6).  Without it, screwing a screw on the edges of the wood  runs the risk of splitting the wood. 

For the balusters on the ends of the gate I screwed in two screws for the top and the bottom to make sure it was secured.  Then I screwed one row of screws in the balusters on the header and footer of the gate (Picture 7).  Lastly, I attached the handrail to the top of the gate by screwing the deck screws into the top center of 4 balusters (Picture 8).

Picture 6. Screwing in the row for the footer. You can (kind of) see the pre-drill hole for the next screw.
Picture 7. All screws in for the sides.
Picture 8. Screw on the top board.
Picture 9. Side of gate not showing screws.

Step 5: Attaching the gate to the deck.  I was so excited getting to this step because it meant I was almost done!  I started with the top hinge and first attached it to the gate then the deck and did the same with the bottom hinge.  Lastly, I attached the latch to the gate first and then to the deck side.  And viola I have a gate! 

Picture 10. Attached gate.

This was one of the simplest wood projects I have ever done!  It didn’t cost much, it was easy to do and it will help out so much in privacy and safety.  I also think it looks pretty good too! I hope you will be able to use this as a guide to help build your own deck gate.  I know I’ll enjoy mine! 

Thanks for stopping by!

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