How To Convert A Fence Panel Into A Gate: The Ultimate DIY Vinyl Fence Gate Guide

Do you want to know how to make a gate out of a vinyl fence panel? This article explains how to make an attractive gate from an existing panel, be it vinyl or wood – so we’ve got you covered. That’s right, you don’t have to go out and buy an expensive gate for your existing fence, with this little project, you can make a privacy gate from an existing fence panel and you’re all set.

If you have a well-designed gate to go with your fencing, your place will look even more beautiful. Your wood or vinyl fence panel can be used to make a gate if you have a spare piece. Taking this approach ensures that the new gate blends in well with the overall look of the fencing.

How To Build A Vinyl Fence Gate

A wood or vinyl panel can be easily transformed into a gate using a gate hardware kit. A power drill and measuring tape are necessary to build a sturdy, non-sagging gate.

With the right size fence panel, you can install the gate in 30 minutes or less.

Learn how to make a fence panel gate from the following step by step tutorial instruction guide.

What You Will Need To Do To Convert An Existing Fence Panel Into A Gate

To convert a fence panel into a gate you’ll need braces, hinges, and a latch from a hardware store or Amazon or Ebay. There is a range of fence and gate hardware kits that contain all you need for the job.

Of course, you will also need a few basic tools such as a power drill and tape measure. You will need to use a circular saw to cut down a panel to size. Small fences can be cut with a hand hacksaw instead.

Measure The Gate Opening Width

The first thing you need to do is measure the gate’s width. Measure the entrance’s width using a measuring tape.

Gate openings should be 1 inch wider than the gate that will be placed there.

This small allowance will allow freely swinging movements once the hinges are attached.

Cut The Panel To Size

The fence can then be cut to size, but only if needed. The gate opening should be the same size as the panel – with that one inch extra as just mentioned.

If you are lucky, the opening may already be the right size, but chances are, you are going to need to adjust the desired width of the panel to suit the opening.

If this is the case, you will need to cut the panel down in width in order to match the opening.

A handheld circular saw is the best tool to use for this – the best option is one that is battery-powered so you can do the sawing on site and not have to worry about having a power cord reach the working area.

At a push, you could get away with a hacksaw if it is a small fence with very little sawing required.

You will need to make cuts on the horizontal boards but between two vertical boards of the panel. If you are dealing with a vinyl panel, it is highly recommended to avoid ripping along the length of a vertical slat because it won’t end up being a nice finished edge. Always best to leave an existing vertical board edge if at all possible.

Reinforce The Gate Panel With Bracing

To strengthen the gate, attach brackets.

The top and bottom rails of the gate should be attached with brackets from the gate hardware kit in order to give it the rigidity it needs to stand the test of time with countless openings and closings of the gate.

Install the bracket screws into the gate panels with a power drill.

If it is a vinyl panel, because it is not wood you are dealing with, be very careful not to over-tighten the screw and strip the thread on the vinyl. You can do this on wood too, but it is much easier to accidentally strip the thread on vinyl.

If you needed to cut the panel smaller, you would have reduced much of the integral structural strength of the panel in the process – especially for vinyl. This will require adding diagonal plates so as to put the strength back in it and stop it from falling apart over time.

Attach The Gate With Hinges

Now it is time to attach the gate to the fence with hinges. Measure where the edge of the panel will be attached to the hinges that will attach to the gate.

On the gate and the panel post that it will be attached to, use a pencil to mark where the holes will line up. Do it carefully – measure twice to make sure.

Screw the hinges into place on the gate with a power drill.

The panel post that will hold the gate needs to be drilled with holes, and these need to line up exactly to get the placement right. It may be helpful to have someone to help hold up the gate for this step.

Install the hinges on the panel post once the gate is steady.

The gate has now been installed! Well done.

Add The Latch Mechanism

Finish the whole thing by attaching a latch. Once the gate is attached to the fence, it needs to be latched to the panel post on the other side of the gate.

Your yard gate can be controlled and made private by installing a lockable latch.

You need to choose the right latch from the options available.

Hook and eye latches are the most popular. The downside of this type is that is necessary for you to manually insert the hook every time you want to close it – that’s pretty annoying over time.

Self-locking latches are a favorite for the sake of convenience. These gravity levers close automatically – exactly what you want but expect to pay a bit more for these. A standard-size padlock can be added when you want a higher level of security if needed.

Your gate’s size and weight should be taken into account when it comes to getting the right latch. Make sure you have the big gate latch on a big gate or heavy steel gate. A little flimsy latch can just be ripped away without much effort – this is not what you want for a secure gate.

Decorative pulls with latches are another option to fasten your new gate. There are two pieces to the latch. A part of the latch is attached to the gate, and the other part needs to be attached to the fence.

With a pencil, mark the holes on the latch and place it on the closed gate door. To install on the panel posts, use a power drill.

Congratulations, now your fence includes a gate that works along with the correct latch arrangement.

Rember Periodic Maintainance

In order to maintain the gate and fence’s beauty, some periodic maintenance will be required. Use a pressure washer or mixture of water and vinegar to remove stains and mold every 6 months or so. Hinge joints that squeak can be lubricated to make them work like new again – you will know it is time for that when you hear the noise of the hinges.

Additional Resources

Below are sections about different fence materials and double fence gates and how to go about things.

Using Vinyl Fence Panels As Gates

PVC fences or vinyl panels are more resilient than wooden panels. A white cottage picket fence is one of the common color options available.

Adding braces will likely not be necessary due to its general innate sturdiness if there is no need to cut the fence panel to shorten it.

A steel frame gate kit can be used to support a shortened panel. The thing about vinyl panels is that they are very robust if they are not altered, but become very flimsy if they are altered and you need to add support to keep everything square.

Otherwise, making a gate from a vinyl fence is similar to making one from a wood panel – just watch the issue of screwing in screws too tight and stripping the vinyl – wood is more forgiving of this.

When it comes to hinge colors with vinyl fence panels as gates, black hinges contrast beautifully with white picket fences. Alternatively, you can opt for white hinges to make your gate accessories less noticeable and blend in with the overall gate color.

Double Fence Gate Building Advice

You can install a double panel gate arrangement to create a larger entrance to your yard or country property.

It can be created with two panels that can be opened and closed like french doors.

A gate brace should be attached to each fence panel, one on each side. Double panel designs will be stronger for the long term and will not sag with this addition.

A minimum of four hinges will be required. There are two hinges per gate. Double gates should be hinged to fence posts on opposite sides.

A double gate latch should then be attached. A drop rod latch and a self-locking latch are common double gate latches.


Q: How do I go about turning a fence panel into a gate?

A: Here is how to go about turning a fence panel into a gate: The key steps for turning a fence panel into a gate are:

  1. Measure the opening where you want to install the gate and make sure you have a fence panel that will fit the width. You may need to trim the fence panel to size.
  2. Add bracing and support boards to the back of the panel to prevent sagging when used as a gate. Cut and attach diagonal bracing boards.
  3. Attach heavy-duty gate hinges designed for outdoor use to the fence panel and gate posts. Make sure they are aligned and level.
  4. Install a gate latch, ring, or handle hardware onto the gate panel. Test opening and closing.
  5. Seal, prime, and paint the gate and hardware to protect it from the elements.
  6. Consider adding gate posts on one or both sides for additional strength and stability.

Converting a fence panel into a gate takes some handywork but can be a budget-friendly way to add a new gate to your yard. The key is reinforcing the panel well so it does not sag when used as a swinging gate. Sturdy hinges and latches also help create a long-lasting, functional gate.


In 30 minutes, simple gates that don’t need to be altered can be made from fence panels using a gate bracket kit.

In the case of double gates and panels with cut edges, a gate brace should be added to each panel for additional support. Many gate sizes can be accommodated by the telescoping brace style.

Adding a steel frame to an old sagging gate that was not initially strengthened adequately can also restore it to its full structural integrity.

Stunningly functional and beautiful, you can create a gate from a panel for your yard with very little effort. It is also much cheaper than buying a custom-made gate.

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