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 “Shop the Store” to look at the selections of Double Gate Hardware.
Latches for Double Gates – click to read the section
Gate Stops – click to read the section
Hinges for Double Gates – click to read the section
Cane Bolts – click to read this section
Security and Locks for Double Gates – click to read this section
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.
When you’re choosing hardware for a double gate, use this as a checklist:
- a gate latch
- 6 hinges
- a gate stop
- a cane bolt
- optional: a dummy handle for the fixed 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.
Gate Latch: This is the two-sided latch that will open and close the gate from either side.
Dummy Handle: the purpose is for aesthetics and pulling the gate closed, if needed. On an in-swinging gate you will see a dummy handle on the outside of the fixed gate. You might also choose to add a dummy to the inside of the fixed gate, especially if that gate gets opened a lot.
Cane Bolt/Drop Bolt: The cane bolt is installed on the interior side of the fixed gate. It creates a stable element for the gate latch to latch onto.
Gate Stop: The gate stop is vital to a long-term gate installation. Read more details below.
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 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.
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? 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.
When considering which gate latch to purchase for your double gate, there are several considerations:
- Choose a latch that will work in your geographic area (meaning: don’t pick cast iron gate hardware if you live on the coast of Florida; or if you do, know that it’ll start rusting a short time after installation). Coastal areas and oceanfront properties should choose only stainless steel or bronze.
- Choose a latch made from a material that’ll withstand the type of use you give it. If you’re opening and closing a gate constantly, choose a material that is strong and durable. It also is imperative that you install your gate with a gate stop.
- Choose your latch to reflect the amount of maintenance you want to do. While all outdoor gate latches require periodic/annual maintenance, some require more than others.
- Choose a latch that has a finish and style that complements your home and/or other outdoor hardware.
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.
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.
When you’d like to add architectural flair to the gates’ appearance, 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.
Butt hinges come in many materials: steel, brass, stainless steel, and bronze. Strap hinges are available in stainless steel, 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.
Is this double gate surrounding 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 swing shut automatically; requiring the gate latch to self-latch. If it’s allowed, we recommend using one spring hinge as the center hinge of three to hang a gate. The two hinges above and below would be heavy duty ball-bearing hinges. This offers enough swing power to close an average sized gate. For heavier gates or for pool gates required to use all spring hinges, consider using three spring hinges.
Cane Bolts for Double Gates
Cane bolts make having a double gate so much easier. They are the mechanism that allows the “fixed” gate to be “fixed”. The bolt sits either in a keeper/strike for finished/paved installations or directly in the ground for yard/gravel installations. Sinking a piece of PVC pipe or metal pipe into the ground creates a keeper for the cane that doesn’t allow it to slip around.
When you need to open the fixed gate, simply lift the handle of the cane bolt and the gate can be swung open. A second piece of pipe set in the ground where the gate is opened can hold the gate open as well as closed.
We carry cane bolts in stainless steel and bronze to maximize rust resistance. BELOW (from left to right): Dark Bronze 20″ Cane Bolt, Dark Bronze Surface Bolt (installed vertically).
See our collection of cane bolts here.
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.
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 (even those with extension kits) won’t fit a gate thicker than 3″. A qualified installer (or we) can help you make the right choice. We have a few options for thicker gates.
Other topics to check out in our Gate Latch Information series….
Categories of Gate Latches | Securing Your Gate | Gate Latch Material |
Types of Gate Latches | Chart of Gate Latch Options | The Do’s and Don’ts of Gate Latches