Do-It-Yourself Stair Gate

Gone are the days of a stair gate that did not function for our home and enter our new Do-It-Yourself stair gate that now meets beauty and functionality!

Our old baby gate was just not conducive for our home. We only had one place to step, the dog could still jump over it, and honestly it was atrocious to look at.

So at the end of summer 2021, I decided that The Hubster and I needed to make over a few areas of our home to fit our family and lifestyle. The gate at the top of the stairs being the first project we really needed to tackle.

Supplies You’ll Need:
  • Miter saw
  • Brad nailer with appropriate nails
  • Screw driver
  • Drill bit
  • 2 1/2” wood screws
  • Door hinges
  • Gate latch
  • Tape Measure
  • 1”x 3”x 8’ boards
  • 1”x 2”x 8’ boards
  • Wood filler
  • Orbital Sander
  • Sanding discs in 220g
  • Stain of your choice
  • Polyacrylic finish in your choice

Calculating the Gate

You’ll want to begin by measuring your space that you intend to put the gate in to know the approximate amount for supplies.

Our situation was a little different in the fact that we had a feature wall and the wall and stair newel were not flush with one another. We had to buy an additional MDF 1”x4” square board to have the cohesive look where the gate would hang.

After figuring out the appropriate width and height for our space, we purchased our material. Before cutting, we sanded each piece before moving onto the next step. This allowed for the wood to be properly sanded and to ensure that every piece was smooth.

Building the Gate

In order to make sure our gate properly fit the space, we had to take a multi-tool and remove a part of our feature wall so that we could attach the gate to the wall.

Once we removed that section and place the board as a temporary placeholder. We then began to cut the boards for the actual gate.

Our space was approximately 42” wide and 30” high. We cut two pieces for the top and bottom portion of the gate using the 1”x3”x8’ board. We made sure to check both pieces once cut to make sure they would fit the space.

The Hubster and I then moved onto the middle slats. We originally wanted the gate to be the exact height as the stair railing. However, we did not take into account the measurements of the top and bottom pieces of wood. In the end, it worked out fine! It allowed the space we needed on the stair newel for the latch. If you are wanting the exact height, make sure to account for the measurement width of the top and bottom pieces.

Assembling the Gate

This portion of the build was the trickiest! Due to the difference in width dimensions, we had to make sure to get every slat in the specific place in both the top and bottom pieces.

The Hubster and I realized that it would be easiest to build a “U” shape first with the bottom piece and two side pieces. We would then attach the remaining middle slats and then attach the top piece last.

Because we knew that the bottom portion of the gate would be getting the brunt of the weight, we wanted to attach the slats to the bottom piece with wood screws.

Some tips

We found that by drilling a pilot hole before drilling the screw from the bottom portion of the gate was the easiest way! Plus, this prevented the wood from splitting.

We also found that placing a long board under the middle slats by the bottom piece of wood allowed for each middle slat to be drilled in the appropriate location with the correct spacing! To find the correct spacing between every slat, you’ll want to take the total measurements and divide it by two. That will give you your measurement for your middle mark. Then you will take one half and divide that area by three. You’ll repeat this process on the remaining half.

Once the slats were screwed into the bottom piece, we repeated roughly the same process for the top piece. Placing a long board under the middle slats by the top piece of wood still allowed for each middle slat to be in the appropriate location with the correct spacing. However, we secured the top piece to each slat using our brad nailer.

Securing the Gate

The Hubster and I found out during this part of the build that our stair newel wasn’t level, which meant that we had to change directions for the gate latch. After a trip to Lowe’s, we were able to get a gate latch that would reach the distance needed between the gate and newel post.

Once the gate was ready to hang, The Hubster cut the board that would be attached to the feature wall to make sure that it would be flush with the top of the gate. Using our Brad nailer we secured this piece to the wall. We installed the gate hinges to the wall board first, following the package directions. Next, we placed a board underneath the gate frame to ensure level accuracy to attach the hinges to the gate.

Securing the Latch

The Hubster and I attached the latch portion to the top part of the gate for easy convenience. To increase the sturdiness of the gate, we decided that having the latch go into the stair newel would be the best option. We put a little dab of paint on the end of the latch and moved the latch as if we were closing it, to mark the place to drill into the stair newel.

Using a drill bit and a screwdriver, The Hubster drilled on the mark, we tested the latch… and we had a perfectly working gate!

Cosmetic Touches

The goal of this gate was to make it look as original to the house as possible, meaning make it look like we had our builder’s build it.

After filling in the finishing nail holes with wood filler and sanding the top, I applied several coats of stain to achieve the appropriate match. I’ll be real, this step was a nightmare with trying to get two different types of wood to stain the same, but I eventually ended up finding the perfect solution.

Once that was done, I sealed the entire gate with three coats of Polyacrylic and then added the finishing touches to the feature wall.

The Finished Product

We are always working on new things at the Farmhouse. If you want to see snippets of these projects or to see my everyday life craziness, head on over to the 1776 Faux Farmhouse Instagram account. I’ll see you there!

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