How to Install a Gate Latch Cable (Pull String)?

Having a gate latch that’s easy to open from both sides will make your gate easy for just about anyone to operate. If you’ve got kids, older relatives, or anyone with reduced mobility who’s not able to reach over the gate to operate the latch, then learning to install a gate latch cable or pull string is worthwhile.

Many gate latches have a small hole integrated into the top of the latch mechanism which is designed for threading a pull string or cable through. That means you’ll be able to use your existing gate latch to get the job done, and won’t need to purchase a second latch.

Let’s take a look at how to install a gate latch cable in step-by-step detail.

Tools & Materials

How to Install a Gate Latch Cable – Guide

Step 1: Mark Drilling Location

The first step is to mark the spot on the gatepost for drilling a hole through. The hole should line up with the hole at the top of the gate latch mechanism when it’s pressed against the post. This will allow the string or cable to slide freely when pulled from the opposite side of the gate.

marking drilling location for gate latch

Lift the gate latch mechanism until the top is pressed against the gatepost. Mark the spot with a marker or pencil.

Step 2: Drill Hole through Gatepost

Next, use a large drill bit inside your drill and drill through the post on the spot you marked in the previous step. Try to hold the drill as level and straight as possible when drilling.

drilling hole for gate latch cable

Depending on the thickness of your gatepost, you may also need to drill from the opposite side in order to get all the way through the post.

If you need to drill from the opposite side, then you’ll need a way to transfer the hole measurement to the other side of the gatepost. A combination square or speed square both work well for this task. Simply use the square to mark the horizontal level of your initial hole, and transfer it over to the other side of the post with your pencil. Then, measure the distance between the edge of the post and the hole, and transfer it over to the rear of the post.

marking hole height with speed square
Both speed squares and combination squares make good tools for this task.

Then, use your drill to make a hole from the opposite side of the post to connect the two holes.

Step 3: Thread String or Cable Through Hole

Next up, you’ll need to thread the string or cable you’re going to use as a pull string through the hole. This is easier to do with a steel cable than it is with a string, as pushing string through a hole can be a little tricky. If you’re having difficulty, try tying the string to a pencil or pen and then pushing it through the hole.

After you’ve threaded the string or cable, attach it to the existing hole on the gate latch. If you’re using string, you may want to tie one or two washers to the end of the string, as they’ll keep the string in place.

Cable vs. String

While regular general-purpose twine or string will work fine as a gate latch pull cord, a stainless steel cable with a spring is a step up both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. The stainless steel cable will last forever, while the spring has a nice smooth operation. Check out this gate latch cable kit for a well-made and inexpensive solution.

Step 4: Test it out

Now all that’s left to do is test out brand new gate latch cable!

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