Well after four thousand, five hundred and sixty-five arguments on execution (as in, how to implement rather than offing each other – though I’m sure it crossed both our minds at some point!) we *finally* have a rolling gate for our back porch! It’s so amazing to be able to shut this sucker off and keep the dogs’ muddy paws off the furniture and give Charlie a safe space to color with chalk.
Building the gate was actually very basic. I measured the opening and added a few inches, cut the top and bottom pieces at 72″, chose 2″ fixed-wheel castors then figured out my necessary height (31″) for the two side pieces. They needed to fit just below the top brace of the railing.
Attaching the panel was different on the gate than on the railing. For the railing, it’s sandwiched between two 1×2’s. On the gate, I couldn’t fit the panel on the slim inch and a half of the wood. So we used some 3/8″ two-hole brackets for the corners for stability, then regular old fencing staples for the interior. You can see my pajama munchkin there, chalk in hand. And pop-tart on face 😉
As far as the latch, I kept it simple. It’s just a hook and eye catch like the kind you see in public restrooms. It’s high enough for little fingers not to reach and not quite easy enough for her to figure out yet.
For the catch side of the gate, we used metal deck (I think?) brackets my dad had on hand. Let me preface this section by saying I am exactly like my father in this respect. We’ll look at a random stash of supplies and brainstorm until we come up with some MacGuiver’d way of solving our problem. This drives my husband absolutely insane. But luckily, this worked so well! The top is a U-shaped bracket fed between the 2×4’s and screwed into place to stop the gate at just the right spot. The bottom is an L bracket with holes that we used to anchor bolts into the concrete and serves as a guide as well as a stopper to keep the gate from slipping out sideways. It’s not a conventional method by any means, but when you’re working with concrete your options are limited. Jacob was wanting to use sliding gate hardware that’s used for barn doors and just run it across the bottom. This would be great on a wooden deck that you can carve out space. Here, I just see myself carrying my toddler while massively pregnant and tripping over the slide, plunging head first down the stairs and breaking all our necks. No bueno. So brackets it is!
For the sliding side of the gate, we used two more L shaped brackets for the top, and one on the bottom at the closed portion of the gate. This keeps it all in line, and again prevents the gate from being pushed sideways. The fixed-wheel castors are great, but you can still make them slip sideways with a good hard shove. For the back side of the lower half, we just anchored in two concrete bolts to keep the gate in line and in place when opened. So far, so good! Everything lines up well, and it’s an easy way to roll the gate open and closed.
Plus it’s pretty minimal when its open, though it does stay shut most of the time. It’s so convenient to just open the doors from the house and let Charlie run in and out, looking for the cows and drawing with her chalk.
Plus its very effective at toddler wrangling. Now I can feed the chickens in the morning without the nagging worry that she’ll try to go up and down the stairs fifteen times and crash down them. I’m really pleased with how minimal the brackets are aesthetically. You hardly notice them when viewing the whole porch area.
Please excuse the mess. We’re in the process of leveling out the dirt for our brick patio, and will eventually mount that lattice for my grapes and blackberries. My dream is to have them grow up the panel as well.
So there you have it! I hope this helps someone out there looking for a rolling/sliding gate option on a concrete porch. I searched for ages and ages looking for an online tutorial and found nothing suitable. Now we have a simple (even if it wasn’t easy coming up with the idea!) solution with an easily operating gate. Just in time for summer too!