Picked up some screening slats from our local timber wholesaler, a hardwood called Ironsomething in 180cm width, 7cm height. You can also use decking timber as slats, but most decking timber is reeded (grooved underneath) whereas slats are DAR (Dressed All Round, or smooth/finished on all sides) and slats are thinner/weigh less than decking. Anyway I had planned to use 17 slats, but after trial fitting all the slats, took a few off to reduce weight on the gate. Fortunately the precut length was exactly right for the gate size.
You need to predrill all the holes for mounting the slats, otherwise the wood will crack. Drill out the holes large enough so the fixing screws don't impact on the wood!
Calculate the proper spacing for your slats and mark on the frame. That said, I tried to calculate the right distances and I must've screwed something up, because after marking the frame and trial fitting the slats again, everything was way off. I gave up on that, and used a couple of hardwood stakes to get the spacing right. Anyway, I fitted the first three top and bottom slats, then every few slats after that I rechecked all the spacings.
Seemed to turn out OK. Now, if I'd been more prepared here, I would've bough a bit of extra galvanised steel to reinforce the centre mount of each slat, as 180cm is quite a wide span. I'll get it done in a week or so. To secure the slats to the metal frame, I used galvanised self-tapping metal screws. Make sure they're galvanised or stainless steel screws (more expensive) to prevent rusting!
Finally, with a bit of muscle from Tina, we rehung the game. Let's see the dog get out of this one!
So there's only a couple of things left to get this gate finished properly.
- Reinforce the middle of the gate with a gate of extra galvanised steel, and secure each slat to that to prevent the slats sagging over time.
- After a week or two of weathering, stain/oil the timber. Will choose a dark stain to match the bricks.
- Install a latch to the brickwork to secure the gate shut.
And to everyone, merry xmas - hope there's plenty of beer and food coming your way!