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How To Build A Pet Gate: A 5 Step Process for Large Opening

To start, it may seem simple but in reality, picking the right spot can absolutely make a big difference. Let’s say you want to block off a flight of
how to build a pet gate
To start, it may seem simple but in reality, picking the right spot can absolutely make a big difference. Let’s say you want to block off a flight of stairs. You might consider a gate across the bottom step. Think about it though. When you come down the stairs opening that gate or climbing over it might not be what you had in mind. I know it’s a matter of preference but I think it’s also a matter of practicality as well. Is there a better way, or a better location to put the gate?

Indoor Dog Gate and Pet Barrier Ideas

Step 1

Determine where the opening is that the new gate will be closing off

Step 2 

Take your measurements. Look at the opening while considering how a gate would fit and look at the location

Step 3  

Read about the different pet gates and what each style has to offer in the way of mounting options. There are 3 types of mounting choices: fixed, pressure mounted, and freestanding gates.

Step 4  

Now you can pick the style of gate you feel will serve your purpose.

Step 5 

While taking everything into consideration, ensure that the gate you are looking to purchase will work for the location and measurements.

pet gate with door
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The easiest location for any gate to be located is in a doorway. It provides the 3 best scenarios you’re looking for when you are looking to buy a gate. First, the doorway creates a natural boundary location for the pet gate. Secondly, there is a solid surface for mounting the gate and provides you with more options and styles. And third, most doorways provide a common width that the pet gate will span.

So are you measuring to install a gate at a stairway, archway, across a hall? In any case, it’s not a problem. What we are looking for no matter where you want the gate, depending on the style, is the smallest measurement across the width you will have available. I say depending on the style because at the same time we are considering how to mount the gate, we need to look at any obstruction that might be in the way from the top of the gate to the bottom. We’ll look at this more in a minute.

Depending on your pet, some of the items we discuss will become obvious during the selection process. For example, if I have a big dog I’ll probably want a “Tall Pet Gate”. So if I measured only at the bottom thinking this is where the gate will be mounted anyway, what if I have a chair rail at about 32” high off the floor? If I am buying a gate 40” tall how can I accommodate this railing? You can probably figure out what to do but without looking at it upfront you might just overlook it.

Ok, you finally decided where you want the gate to be. I mentioned that there are 3 mounting options to consider. Pressure mounted pet gate exerts outward pressure against a wall, doorway, or railing once the “locking” or spreader mechanism is engaged. The gates use either a sliding width adjustment bar or adjustable pressure pads. If you use one or the other there need to be the smallest or no obstructions in the way or you won’t be able to position and lock-in the gate properly.

A fixed installation is typically attached to a wall, door jamb, or a “railing kit”, (because you don’t want to put a screw into a handrail) when a more stable mounting system is required. Maybe you have a more aggressive pet to hold back that would tend to push on the gate. On one side you’ll some type of hinge assembly, while on the other side there will be a mounted locking system.

The last installation isn’t really an installation at all. A “Free-Standing” Pet Gate is completely self-contained having its’ own set of feet to keep the gate upright without hardware or pressure. Once the gate is assembled to the width you need you just place it in position and forget about it. Because there is no installation involved, it’s the easiest one to move around wherever you need it at the time.

Keep the overall process simple. For example, I have a situation going into one of the rooms where I want to keep the “girls”, (my two Min Pins) out during the day while we’re out at work. On one side is a wall that’s great for any type of pet gate but on the other side at 34” off the floor is a chair rail. Because of this, we decided to go with the free-standing gate which solved all the problems. By the way, we actually have 3 free standing gates, 1 pressure mounted gate and one 5 panel metal configure gate. We use it to close off an area like a pen.

Just remember this simple rule, you don’t buy a gate that has a maximum dimension within 1” of the opening you are looking to close off. No matter what type of installation you want, always buy a gate that is at least 1” wider. You can always readjust it so that it’s narrower, but if it’s too narrow you can’t make it wider. The only exception to this is if you were to buy an Extension Pet Gate. If you need to, you can always buy an additional panel or two if necessary.

So in recap, you need to take your time, make sure that the measurements are on target, read and understand what each type of pet gate has to offer, and pick a style that fits your needs and budget. A call to the vendor is also a good idea if you still aren’t sure. They are more than willing to help you with your questions and selections.