How much expansion to leave for Garden Gate Project

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Forum topic by Benvolio posted 04-14-2013 09:07 PM 1762 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 1930 days

04-14-2013 09:07 PM

Morning All

The six foot gate that came with my new house is as terrible as you can imagine. No members are actually joined to each other in anyway and the entire thing is held together by the nails in the featheredge facia boards. The gate is sagging so fouls on the patio. The stiles are too warped for the iron mongery to do its job, but the worst thing about it is the amount of expansion and contraction it goes through the year. In the summer it’s too small for the latch to engage, and in the winter, even without the latch on, it jams against the post so tightly it can literally withstand glae force winds!

So I’ve decided to try my hand at making a new one. nothing fancy. 2”x4” tannelised stock. Rails and stiles connected to each other with bridal joints, rough sawn timbers smoothed with a jack plane and all done this coming weekend with hand tools.

My question is how do I know how much of an expansion gap to leave for the door to adjust through the seasons? I’ve heard for interior doors you leave a gap the size of a £1 coin (1/4”) and allow the door to settle to a gap no smaller than a 2p coin (1/8”), but I think outdoors, in the UK’s damp and drizzly winters and dry summers, I should be looking at leaving more of a gap?

Any opinions welcome



-- Ben, England.

2 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 04-14-2013 09:13 PM

If you make it with full length stiles, you can make it
tight at first and let it move through the seasons, planing
it down where it sticks. It will shrink if it’s not thoroughly
dry too, so don’t make the error of assuming that it’s
fully dry when you get it.

Wood moves on average about 1/4” per 12” of width
seasonally, but along its length movement is small
enough to be normally ignored. So if you have 2 stiles
6” wide, you’ll be looking at about 1/4” of movement,
give or take a little.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2968 days

#2 posted 04-14-2013 10:22 PM

How high is the gate? Is it one 6’ gate or two 3’? How far are you prepared to go to make a gate, are you happy with “just a gate” or do you want the best gate on the street?

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