Baby/Dog Gate

  • Advertise with us
Project by CMC06 posted 01-31-2014 10:08 AM 42690 views 11 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We moved in to our house last year and really did not use the upstairs much because we did not have kids. At the time our kids were our dogs and they liked to run up and down the stairs. So the search for a dog gate that would work on our stairs began. I looked and found a few that could work but they all had a metal bar across the stairs, so that would not work. While I was planning the gate (>6months), we used a tension mounted gate that we propped up between the balusters.

The gate is made of red oak and hollow metal balusters that are a close match to the stairs. The square post wraps are made from 1×12 red oak are from the local home store along with the metal balusters. The gate is made from 7/4” x 7/4” x 42” red oak balusters that I order.

On the hinge side of the gate I used a sliding dovetails so that I could remove the gate if needed. When installing the gate I wanted to make sure that very little damage was done to the existing stairs, so when I remove the gate I would not have a lot of repairs to do. That is why I made the post wraps with a 1/4” plywood spline joint. I secure the joint with a little glue in a few spots and pin nails. It won’t be east to take off in the future but it is do able, I think.

The joint shown in the picture is at the bottom of each of the gate frame. One or the pieces connected to the post wrap and the other connected to the painted wood in the first photo. At the top of the gate frame there is a second price of wood connecting to the top of the post wrap. I also added a small piece of door stop to keep the gate closing past the gate frame.

It has been installed for about two weeks and is working great. I wish that I would not have taken so long to build it but that always happens, to plans not enough time.

-- CMC06

12 comments so far

View DonB's profile


571 posts in 3304 days

#1 posted 01-31-2014 01:25 PM

Well done – a perfect match. Looks as if it were built as part of the original stairs. I like the forethought of being able to take it down without much damage.

-- DonB

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

193 posts in 4014 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 01:27 PM

Looks good, but why prevent the dogs from running up/down the stairs? We play ball throwing the ball to the upstairs (open floor plan). Burns some of that dog energy!

-- --Bob

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2222 days

#3 posted 01-31-2014 01:44 PM

looks great, love how the spindles match the stairs, makes it look like it belongs there, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View CMC06's profile


20 posts in 2192 days

#4 posted 01-31-2014 02:08 PM

@Bob – We like to keep the dogs downstairs when we are not home. The entire downstairs is tile so if the dogs make a mess then it is easy to clean up. We also play ball on the stairs but mostly when it is wet outside. With three 65-85lb dogs ball inside can get rough and loud quick.

-- CMC06

View Tommy's profile


62 posts in 2192 days

#5 posted 01-31-2014 04:37 PM

This turned out great and blends right in with your railing for a perfect fit! A similar design is near the top of my to-do list, but just as you said: Too many projects, not enough time!

-- Tommy

View Core2's profile


62 posts in 2217 days

#6 posted 01-31-2014 06:24 PM


View CMC06's profile


20 posts in 2192 days

#7 posted 01-31-2014 06:33 PM

@Tommy- I also will be building a second gate for the top of my stairs once my daughter gets a little more mobile. To get the finish to match I took several stains (~10) and made a sampler on a scrap of red oak. On half of it I applied two coats of polly and the other was left natural. An easy way to know what your finishes look like.

-- CMC06

View Betsy's profile


3393 posts in 4508 days

#8 posted 01-31-2014 06:39 PM

that turned out great!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Tommy's profile


62 posts in 2192 days

#9 posted 01-31-2014 06:49 PM

@CMC06- Thanks for the tip! I have one of those store bought gates at the bottom of my stairs, but when I went to install an identical one at the top I realized I didn’t have all the hardware I needed (probably lost in a move). I started thinking, there is no reason I can’t build something decent that matches my staircase…exactly along the same idea you did. The only thing I am still not clear on, is what to use to latch the gate closed. I can’t tell from your pics, what was your solution? Thanks!

-- Tommy

View CMC06's profile


20 posts in 2192 days

#10 posted 01-31-2014 07:23 PM

@Tommy – Well that is the only thing I have not figured out yet. Two things are keeping it closed for now. First, I put a rabbet in the vertical part of the gate on the closing side before I assembled it. Once I had it all installed I pin nailed a small piece (~3/8”x1/2”x 30”) of red oak finished to match to act as stop, just like the wood trim inside a door jamb. Second, I installed a small ramp at the bottom that the gate to close on to. I did this because once installed the weight of the gate pulled the stair banister over just enough that the top of the gate was ~1/8 to 1/4” out of alignment with the other side. So the ramp guides the gate in to the correct spot and supports it when closed. If you have any ideas on a latch let me know.

-- CMC06

View Tommy's profile


62 posts in 2192 days

#11 posted 01-31-2014 07:33 PM

@CMC06- That is very good info, especially since I am likely to run into an issue with sagging as you did. I went to the big box store to pick up materials for several projects, including the ballisters for the gate (I haven’t started the project yet but have most of what I need). After standing in the hardware isle and staring/thinking for 15 minutes, I finally caved in and grabbed one of those simple small sliding type latches that people often use on shed doors. I figured I could paint mine white to match, but I wasn’t really satisfied with this solution. I’ll have to keep searching and see if anything else comes to mind.

-- Tommy

View Scooter McClain's profile

Scooter McClain

174 posts in 2534 days

#12 posted 02-02-2014 03:41 AM

Man that is sweet! Nice job!

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics