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heavy duty gate hinge

Gate hinges can be likened to the weakest link in a chain, where the gate is the chain and the hinge is the link. Hinges might seem like small and insignificant elements, but they’re what keep gate panels in place, so it’s important to give them serious consideration.

Like other aspects of gate hardware, a hinge can be decorative or purely functional. A butt hinge is the simplest, most commonly installed type. These consists of two evenly sized leaves joined by a pin. Unlike more ornamental types, butt hinges aren’t handed, which is to say they’re not designed for mounting exclusively in one direction. Many hinges require that one plate is attached to the gate, and the other to the post; and the arrangement cannot be reversed.

An alternative that’s better suited to gates than doors is a strap hinge, which can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. The latter version has one leaf in a half-diamond shape, which is attached to the gate panel. The other leaf is in a truncated rectangular shape like that of a butt hinge. These are sometimes referred to as T-hinges or tee hinges, especially when their pivot pin is considerably wider than the strap. These are particularly ideal for garden gates. A tee hing ranges between 4 and 10 inches, with its length determined by the size and weight of the gate. Unlike a butt hinge, whose leaves often need to be drilled for screw holes just prior to mounting, a T-hinge typically comes with screw holes already drilled.

The simplest, most utilitarian versions are plainly designed, made with galvanized or plated steel. Decorative wrought iron strap hinges can cost several times as much, but they’re often worth it since plain versions can stick out like sore thumb on gates made of wood, or ones with a powder coat finish. But iron gate hinges aren’t the only option if you’re looking for ornamental touches. Black coated aluminum and stainless steel hinges can often be purchased for under $10.

Among heavy duty gate hinge products, a barrel hinge is recommended if the width-to-height ratio between the panel and post is less than one. Wider panels create too much of a radial load for ball bearing gate hinges. Barrel hinges consist mostly of the pivot pin. Only the stubs of the plates are welded to the pin, since the stubs themselves are designed to be welded directly onto the gate and post.

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