Installing a gate on your deck keeps your family and pets secure while hanging out or relaxing on your deck. Of course, it becomes even more rewarding when you build the deck gate yourself.

Learning how to build a deck gate is a valuable skill to acquire, especially if you have other DIY home projects in mind. It’s a simple project that doesn’t require tons of experience and expertise to make while, still being one of the most useful things you can build at home. You can then build upon this experience and work on other, more complex DIY projects.

In this blog, we’ll share how to build a wooden gate for deck projects through this helpful guide.

How to Build a Deck Gate: A Quick Guide

Safety Guidelines to Follow

A DIY deck gate is just what your deck needs to protect your family and pets from falling hazards. But before working on your home project, you should familiarize yourself with building standards and codes. This aligns your project with safety standards to ensure the quality of your work while eliminating potential hiccups during building inspections.

Building codes are pretty extensive. Luckily, you will only need to comply with a few of these guidelines under the International Residential Code (IRC). You can find the guidelines for residential homes below.

  • Deck gates should open inward and not towards your stairs or grounds.
  • The deck surface and the gate should not have a distance higher than 4”.
  • Similarly, the baluster-to-baluster distance must not exceed 4”.
  • The distance between the top of handrails and gates and the deck’s surface should be 42” or higher.
  • Devices with a self-latching mechanism must be installed at least three inches from the top of the gate.
  • Gates and handrails must have a maximum diameter of 1 ¼“ and a maximum diameter of 2 ¼“ to make them easy to grip.
  • For wooden gates, the strap hinges must have enough strength to accommodate the weight of the gate.

Although most local codes align with international standards, it’s also helpful to take a look at your local building code to ensure that you comply with their regulations.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Measuring Tape/Steel Tape Measure
  • 2 x 2 Wooden Balisters
  • 2 x 4 Lumber for Framing
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Gate Hinges
  • Gate Latch
  • Metal Corner Braces
  • Framing Square
  • Table Saw

Building the Deck Gate

This section will contain instructions on how to build a deck gate DIY-style. It will be divided into two subsections: building and installation. You can find them below:

  1. Measure the width of the deck gate using a tape measure. Subtract one inch from the measurement to allow sufficient space for the latch and hinges.
  2. Measure the desired height of the gate. From that number, subtract four inches or less, depending on the amount of hang you want the gate to have.
  3. Now, it’s time to check the space. Using a 2-foot level, check if each post is plumb or leaning one way or the other and take note. Then, measure 4” and 42” from the deck surface using your tape measure. Make a rough drawing on a piece of paper with the measurements.
  4. Select a wood material for your gate. Ideally, it should be the same material as your deck rails for uniformity in design, but you can also choose other wood materials. A vertical grain on your lumber is recommended since this is less prone to twisting and warping. Also, make sure to avoid low-quality lumber to avoid shrinkage and warping when exposed to harsh elements.
  5. Measure the lumber using the earlier measurements and mark areas on the wood where you need to cut.
  6. On your 2 x 4 lumber pieces, cut the top and bottom gate frames according to your earlier measurements, making sure that you subtract the amount required to allow opening and closing without touching the posts. Repeat the same process while using the measurements for vertical size frames.
  7. Layout all the pieces of wood flat on the deck to check the pieces of wood you’ve cut. From there, measure the inside dimensions to determine the length of the balusters and cut your 2 x 2s using that measured value.
  8. Assemble the frame using the pieces of wood you’ve cut. Create half-lap joints and glue the joints together while assembling the outer frame before installing the screws. It should look like a large picture frame once you’re done.
  9. Install all your balusters and fill in the gaps inside the frame, being careful not to exceed 4” between each. Connect the top and bottom halves of the frame using wood screws.
  10. Stain or paint the lumber using an appropriate staining material to achieve the desired color. This is to ensure that your wood is protected from the elements.
  11. Once the stain or paint has sufficiently dried, screw in metal braces into each corner to reinforce the frame.

Installing the Deck Gate

  1. Lift the assembled gate and place it between posts. Support the gate temporarily at the bottom using pieces of wood to allow 4” of space between the bottom of the gate and the deck surface.
  2. Attach the hinges using 1.5” galvanized screws. Make sure that your gate opens toward the deck and not the stairs.
  3. Use 2.5” timber screws when attaching the end of the hinge to the post.
  4. Perform your final checks to see if the gate is level before attaching the hinges. 
  5. Remove the supports and ensure the hinges swing freely.

And that’s it! You can now enjoy your safe and appealing DIY deck gate.

Can You Save Money? DIY Cable Railing Gates Courtesy of Stainless Cable & Railing

Building a wooden gate for your deck is undoubtedly a rewarding experience. However, not many have the time, skills, and equipment necessary for such a project. At Stainless Cable & Railing, we offer finished gates for cable railing. But the question is, can you save money? DIY cable railing kits from SCR are affordable and easy to install, so you don’t just save money, but it can also save you time in building and installing your deck gate. Browse our catalog to view your options, or contact us at if you have other ideas in mind. Are you looking for other information? Give us a call at 888-752-8029 to talk to our experts today.