How to install a wood gate latch

Updated February 21, 2017

A thumb-operated gravity latch is easily installed on a wood gate. This type of latch is easy to operate and closes a gate securely. The thumb-operated gravity latch should be installed on the inside of a wood gate. This allows the gate to be opened from the inside, and also from the outside by reaching over the gate. A gravity latch is self-latching, which means that when the gate closes, the latch secures it.

With the gate in the closed position, determine the height of the latch. Near the top works well, so that the user can reach over from the outside to operate the latch.

Hold the two parts of the thumb-operated gravity latch -- the rod/bolt assembly and the gravity latch assembly -- against the face of the inside of the gate and across to the strike side of the fence or fence post. Position the two assemblies so they function per the manufacturer's instructions.

Use a pencil to mark the two mounting holes for the rod/bolt assembly, and mark the four mounting holes for the gravity latch assembly.

Use a screwdriver or a screw gun to install the wood screws (provided in the latch kit) and mount the rod/bolt assembly on the gate following your pencil marks.

Hold the gravity latch assembly in place on the fence or post following the pencil markings. Slowly open and close the gate to check the operation of the rod as it engages the gravity latch. With a screwdriver or screw gun, install the gravity latch with the four provided wood screws.


Most rod/bolt assemblies allow for minor adjustments by loosening the screws, shifting the rod/bolt assembly slightly in one direction, and then re-tightening the screws. A self-closing spring kit works well with a thumb-operated gravity latch, making a wood gate easy to open and close securely. Installation of a self-closing spring kit is similar to the installation of a latch kit. A padlock can also be installed on most gate latches.

Things You'll Need

  • Thumb-operated gravity latch kit
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver or screw gun
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