How to repair a twisted gate

Updated July 20, 2017

A garden or yard gate can begin to hang sideways and may even appear twisted after a number of years. This is caused by the expanding and contracting of the wood exposed to the elements of nature, or from natural wear and use caused by banging, slamming or hanging on it. When a gate stops opening and closing easily, or starts to look crooked and twisted you should first check the gatepost with a carpenters level to confirm the post is vertical and supporting the gate correctly. Otherwise, any work you do on the gate itself will not solve the problem.

Clear all the debris from the gate area nearest the gate post. Dig a hole next to the gatepost if it is leaning. Do this on the side it is leaning toward. The hole should be about 20 inches deep and approximately 8 inches wide.

Pour gravel into the hole and stop about 2 to 3 inches before you get to ground level.

Move the gatepost until it is in a complete vertical position. Use the carpenters level to achieve this.

Cut a 45-degree angle along a short 2-by-4-by-10-inch long piece of scrap board to make a wood wedge. Place the flat edge of the board against the post with the thinnest side of the angle furthest into the hole.

Hammer the wedge into the ground so the top is at ground level and the gravel surrounds it. This will keep the gatepost straight. Fill the rest of the gravel filled hole with soil if you wish to get a more aesthetic look.

Inspect the gate hinges and screws that attach to the gate post. If the screws are pulling out of the gate post and causing the hinges to move or change positions, unfasten the wood screws from the hinges on both the gate and gate post. Place the gate to the side.

Fill in all the screw holes with wood filler compound. Follow the directions on the wood filler compound to complete the process. Allow the wood filler to harden overnight.

Reinstall the gate hinges by first installing the top hinges and then continuing on to the next hinge until you get to the bottom hinge. Check the vertical position after each hinge installation with the carpenters level. Add a middle hinge for additional support if one does not exist.

Place the carpenters level against the length of the gate on both top and bottom to see if the gate is level.

Install a non-sag gate tension rod if the gate continues to sag or twist. Attach this from a top corner of the gate to the bottom opposite corner.

Drill a hole in the top of the first inner stile (vertical gate board). Drill another hole on the opposite inner corner, bottom of the last inner stile.

Fasten an eye-hook in each of the holes. Thread one cable end through the eye-hook and back around to a cable clamp. Thread the other end through the eye hole of a turnbuckle and back around to another cable clamp. Thread another end of a cable through the eye-hook located on the opposite end of the gate and secure it with a cable clamp. Run the other end through the other eye hook on the turnbuckle and back around to another cable clamp.

Tighten the cable with the turnbuckle shackle using a screwdriver. screw all the cable clamps tight. The clamp helps keep the cable secure and tight. Cut excess cable ends with wire cutters.

Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • 2-by-4 by-10-inch scrap piece of wood
  • Carpenters level
  • Hammer
  • Wood filler
  • Screwdriver
  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Electric drill
  • 2 wire cables (3/4 the diagonal length of the gate)
  • Eye screws
  • Turnbuckle
  • 4 cable clamps
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About the Author

Naoma Serna began writing in 2009 and has written for several online publications like Boomers Abroad and Point South Magazine. She is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in French literature and has other specialized interests in photographic art, computer technology and fine arts.