When a gate sags or won't close properly, the first thing you should do is check its hinges. If they're bent, replace them with a heavier type of hinge. If the hinge screws are pulling loose, remove them and plug the holes by gluing in short pieces of dowel.
Then drill new holes and install longer screws or carriage bolts. Use only galvanized steel hardware.
With a gate that's sagging only slightly, you may be able to straighten it up by shimming under the bottom hinge. Prop the gate open, remove the screws from the post side of the hinge, and cut a thin piece of cedar shake to fit into the hinge mortise. Reattach the screw by driving longer screws through the shim.
Sometimes a gate sags because its own weight has pulled it out of alignment with the fence. One quick way to square up a gate is to drive a screw eye into the upper corner of the gate on the hinge side and another into the lower corner on the gate side.
Run wire and a heavy-duty turnbuckle from one screw eye to the other, and tighten the turnbuckle until the gate frame is square.
What if your fence is beyond repair and you need a new one? We have that covered, too. Read the next page to find out how to build a wood fence.