The Pros and Cons of Bolt on Gate Hardware

The Pros and Cons of Bolt on Gate Hardware

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Depending on where you are in the world, there’s a good chance the gate hardware that is used in your area is not the same as everywhere else. There are also different types of gate hardware for different fence types.

One of the big choices when it comes to gate hardware, though, is whether you want bolt-on gate hardware or something else. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Gate Hardware?

Gate hardware is a collective term for the fittings that are used to hang or operate all types of gates. Gate hardware might include:

  • Gate hinges
  • Gate latches
  • Panic gate hardware
  • Gate wheels or gate rollers
  • Drop bolts
  • Gate auto closers

As you can imagine, every different type of fence and gate will require a slightly different kind of gate hardware, so there are nearly endless combinations!

What Is Bolt On Gate Hardware?

There are several ways that gate hardware, like hinges and latches, can be attached to gates.

In some cases, usually high-security fencing, gate hardware is welded to the gate frame. This makes the hardware part of the gate and is a more secure option.

However, sometimes, welding is not an option, or the fence system might not be as high security. In this case, various gate fittings and hardware might be bolted to the gate frame and gate post as necessary. Sometimes, this is done through holes drilled in the fence or gate component, but sometimes, it’s simply done by tightening a bolt on the fitting itself.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Bolt On Gate Hardware?

Like everything in fencing and in life, there are pros and cons to bolt-on gate hardware. These include:

Pros of Bolt on Gate Hardware

  • Can be installed on premanufactured gate frames
  • Quicker and easier to install
  • Usually less costly
  • Easy to adjust on site
  • Comes in various sizes
  • Can be combined in various configurations
  • Easy to replace if damaged
  • Pre galvanizeded and finished, so no additional coating is required

Cons of Bolt On Gate Hardware

  • Less secure – bolts and nuts are a weak point
  • May require on-site drilling
  • Finish and color could be different if purchased from different manufacturers
  • Limited design and configuration options, unlike custom gate hardware components
  • May have a different warranty to the fence and or gate, if purchased from a different manufacturer
  • May not be adequate for the weight and usage of the gate unless recommended and installed by a fence contractor

Choosing the Right Gate Hardware

Choosing the right gate hardware is a key part of good gate design. Fence and gate fittings and hardware are often the weakest part of any fence line, and if you choose the wrong options, they might not get the job done effectively.

However, while bolt-on gate fittings might not be ideal for high-security gates and fences, they are perfect for lower-security fences and gates, including residential fences and gates. They’re easy to use, many are readily available, and they are usually forgiving and adjustable.

As usual, it’s a good idea to speak to a fence pro if you’re not sure what’s best for your gates. They’ll be able to recommend options that will work for your site.

How to Make Bolt On Gate Hardware More Secure

If you do choose to use bolt-on gate hardware and you find that it’s not as secure as you would like, there may be things you can do to improve the situation.

Tack welding metal gate hardware to gate frames on site makes it harder for your bolt-on gate hardware to be easily removed. You could also damage the thread on the bolt so that it can’t be removed easily or apply an epoxy adhesive to the thread, which will have the same effect.

Welding a cover strip onto a gate frame or post that limits access to the gate hardware to one side only is another option that might make bolt-on gate hardware a little more secure.

Types of Bolt-On Gate Hardware

There are many different types of fittings that fall under the umbrella of bolt-on gate hardware, so let’s look at some of the bolt-on gate hardware fittings on the market and what they are usually used for.

Bolt On Gate Hardware Fittings


Flat Back Gate Latches


Flat back gate latches aren't strictly speaking bolt on gate hardware, since they are usually attached to a fence or wall with screws. However, they are one of the options you can use to latch a chain link or similar style of gate.



Bolt On Fork Latch


Another bolt on gate hardware option for chain link fence gates and similar is the bolt on fork latch. This gate latch attaches to the gate frame, and is hinged so that it can be lifted to open and close around the gate post.



Flat Back Gate Hinges


Bolt on gate hinges for chain link and similar round tube frame gates consist of two parts: a male hinge, which is installed on the gate post, and a female gate frame hinge, which is bolted to the gate frame. This flat back gate post hinge fitting allows you to hang a gate off a wooden post or even a wall.


Bolt On Chain Link Gate Hinges


If you are hanging a gate with a tubular frame like chain link off a tubular post, bolt on gate post hinges and bolt on gate frame hinges will work. Just ensure that you know the diameter of the gate frame and the gate post when you are ordering.



Bolt On Pool Fence Latch


If you need a different kind of security for a pool gate, this style of bolt on pool fence latch is a great option. They're child proof, and some even come with an audible alarm, so you can hear if anyone does open your pool fence gate.



Bolt On Drop Bolt


A drop bolt or cane bolt as it's sometimes known is the pin that is attached to the center of double gates that can be raised and lowered to open your gate or hold it in place. Usually, these bolt on drop bolts are installed with a section of pipe in concrete in the open and closed position, so that they can be held in place when they are lowered.



Bolt On "Slam" Latch


Slam style bolt on gate latches are designed to latch whenever the gate is closed. Sometimes, they are installed with a gate auto closer of some type, to provide a little extra security and convenience. These types of latches can be used on a variety of gates, including chain link gates, ornamental gates, palisade gates, pool fence gates and more.



These are just some of the bolt on gate hardware that is available for swing gates, sliding gates and other types of gates for all kinds of fences. So if you're looking for the perfect bolt on gate hardware for a project, the best place to start is usually by designing the gate, and then asking a gate or fence expert to recommend fittings that meet your needs.

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