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Is there a standard for how to specify gate widths? In other words, is a 48" wide gate a 48" actual width or a 48" opening between posts?

Good question. Typically a 48" wide gate should refer to the opening size. That is the distance between the posts. Be careful though, the actual gate width is determined by the type of hinges and latch to be used with the gate.

There is no standard there. It is best to specify the gate actual width measurement, the type of hinges and latch to be used and the gate opening width. If we provide the gate, hinges and latch, all we need need to know is the gate opening size, size of posts and height of the gate. Naturally the type of gate also. These factors can vary significantly among the different types of gates. Always determine which latch and hinges are to be used in advance.

Chain link single swing gates are typically 3 1/2"-3 3/4" smaller than the gate opening size, if standard drop fork latch and male and female strap hinges are used.

Wood fence gates can be only 1" smaller than the opening size. The hinges generally take up little to no space and the latch only 1/2-1".

Vinyl gates vary significantly. The size we most commonly use is 50". That is the actual gate width. Add 1 1/2", or a total of 51 1/2" for the gate opening size. Again, it depends entirely on the hardware to be used. Our standard self-closing hardware only uses 1 1/2".

Ornamental gates can vary also. The sizes in our catalogs are opening sizes. the gates measure less to make up for the hardware. Some types of hardware only use as little as 1" as in wood gates.

The first time installer would be wise to set the hinge side post of the gate first. Hang the gate and hardware and then install the latch-side post last. You will be guaranteed of a perfect fit every time.