A Primer on Gate Hardware for Double Gates
What exactly do you need?
With double gates – wood or metal – there are additional considerations to keep in mind with regard to gate hardware. We’ve written a discussion of each part to help you make the right decision for your project. You can read any or all parts of the information, and then click on images and links to see the items in the shop.
Double gates have one side that is “fixed” in place (with a cane bolt or other vertical bolt).
The opposite gate is the “active” gate and that’s the gate you’d install the latch on. In this photo you see the left panel has the latch installed to it. The latch extends across to the strike plate on the fixed gate.
The fixed gate has a cane bolt installed, holding the gate into the ground. The way this gate is set up, the left gate pulls toward you.
And if you need to bring something wide through the double gate opening, you can lift the cane bolt on the right panel and pull that toward you for a fully open gate.
Checklist of Items for a Double Gate
Anatomy of a Double Gate
These are the components that you will typically see on a double gate. The image below shows an in-swinging gate and its hardware. First view is from the inside of the yard.
Gate Latches for Double Gates
Almost any gate latch can work for a double gate. There’s nothing special about a gate latch for a double gate. It just depends on what you want your gate to do.
The latch will be installed on the “active” gate and the strike plate or catch will be installed on the fixed gate.
In-Swinging Double Gates
In-Swinging Double Gates can use most gate latches (lever latch, thumb latch, ring latch, bolt latch). Please read our complete discussion on Gate Latch Types to learn more about lever latches, thumb latches, ring latches, and bolt latches. The photo on the left shows the interior view of an in-swinging double gate. The latch is installed on the interior.
What to Do When You Want a Finished Look?
In-swinging gates have the latching portion of the latch installed on the yard-side of the gates. These double gates can achieve a ‘finished’ look on the street-side of the gates. You need to choose a latch that also offers a “dummy handle” that will be installed on the street-side of the fixed gate.
Out-Swinging Double Gates
Out-Swinging Double Gates, those that swing toward the street rather than toward the backyard, can use almost any latch. What you’ll see on the outside (street-side) of the gate is the latching portion of your set. If you use strap hinges, those are visible from the street as well. If you use butt hinges, you will see just the barrel on the outside of the gate.
What to Do When You Want a Finished Look?
What if I want a finished look, but I have an out-swinging gate? If you have a gate that swings out, but you don’t want to see the latch on the outside, check out the Alta Reverse setup. We designed this just for that purpose.
Factors to consider when choosing a double gate latch
Most Popular Gate Latches
The most important aspect of a double gate installation is that you protect the latch’s arm by installing a gate stop. The gate stop will provide a solid place for the active gate to stop, and it won’t put all the stress of closing (or slamming) onto the latch-arm.
Gate stops can be metal (coordinating with your other gate hardware) or can be built of wood onto the edge of the fixed gate.
a properly installed stop
This one is mortised into the left-hand (fixed) gate and will catch the right-hand (active) gate when it closes. Gate stops can be installed above or below the latch and can be mortised or surface-mounted.
metal gates & stops
Metal gates will often have a stop welded into the active gate, so that when the gate closes it catches on the fixed gate.
Hinges for Double Gates
The most commonly used hinge to hang double gates is a heavy duty ball-bearing butt hinge. Three hinges per gate are enough to hang a mid-sized gate. Some people choose butt hinges because they’re relatively hidden on an installation; all the focus lies on the gate design.
Butt hinges come in many materials: steel, brass, stainless steel, and bronze. Choose a material that works best with your environment. Coastal areas or oceanfront homes require either bronze, brass or stainless steel to avoid rust.
Adjustable spring hinges are often used to automatically close the gate. These self-closing hinges offer a mild closing action.
Most Popular Butt Hinges
When you’d like to add architectural flair to the gates’ appearance, or you have a wide or heavy gate, consider functional strap hinges. Strap hinges are comprised of a pintle (the male portion) and a hinge (the female portion). Strap hinges offer a way to both hang and adorn the gate. Any gate wider than 48″ should use strap hinges.
Does your double gate surround a pool?
Pool gates must conform with municipal codes, which often include: requiring the gate to swing out away from the pool; mandating a certain height to install the latch; requiring the gate(s) to close shut automatically; requiring the gate latch to self-latch. Be sure you comply with your local codes as you’re choosing your hinges.
Cane Bolts for Double Gates
Security & Locks for Double Gates
The ease of locking a double gate can range from easy to fairly complicated. Simple solutions include single-sided locks like a slide bolt that would slide from one gate to the other. Slide bolts and surface bolts are available in many sizes and materials, so you can find what you like.
Specifically for deadbolts on gates, read this page.
Deadbolts are the more involved choice. Because the deadbolt is installed on the active gate and its bolt throws into the fixed gate, you need to be sure that the fixed gate is constructed in a way to accept a deadbolt. Most deadbolts won’t fit a gate thicker than 3″. We do have a few options for thicker gates.