How to fit a stair gate: Pressure and screw fit gate installation guide
As an essential safety barrier, it's vital that your stair gate is fitted securely to keep your family safe. To help you install your safety gate, we'll be sharing our top tips on how to fit a stair gate, along with handy step-by-step videos so you can follow along. We'll cover the installation and removal of both pressure fit and screw fit stair gates, plus our essential safety tips to keep your stair gate secure while it's installed.
Where to install baby gates
All stair gates can be installed at the bottom of the stairs or in doorways throughout your home. Screw fit stair gates can also be installed at the top of your stairs, however this is not recommended for pressure fit stair gates. This is because pressure fit gates are built with a U-frame, with the base of the frame being a raised bar. This bar can be a trip hazard if installed at the top of the stairs. For this reason, we'd only recommend fixing a pressure mounted gate to the bottom of the stairs.
If your only option is to install a pressure fit gate at the top of the stairs, then we'd recommend installing and extra tall safety gate on the next step down from the top. This means the trip bar can be pushed back against the stair riser, minimising the hazard, while the right height can still be achieved. However, we'd always recommend installing it at the bottom of the stairs or opting for a screw fit gate for the top wherever possible. If you're not sure which gate would be right for you, be sure to take a look at our guide to choosing the best stair gate for your home.
How to fit a pressure fit baby gate
We always recommend consulting the installation instructions for your specific brand and model of gate. That being said, most pressure fit stair gates can be fitted in the same way by applying pressure to the four spindles in each corner: two at the top and two at the bottom. Because the pressure mounted gate relies on pressure alone, you won't need to use any tools to install it — you can install this baby gate without drilling into the wall.
Simply follow the handy video tutorial below, which will show you how to install a pressure baby gate step-by-step, or read on for written instructions.
- Place the spindle pieces into the corners of the gate. There will be gaps in the frame that the spindles slide into. If you're installing your pressure mounted gate to a rounded banister post, you may benefit from a stair gate adapter which can be installed in place of the spindle.
- Attach the wall cups onto the spindles.
- Place the stair gate in your space, ensuring the gap between the stair gate and floor is no taller than three inches. You may find it helpful to use a spirit level to check that the gate is perfectly centred and vertical rather than leaning slightly to one side.
- Using a pencil, mark on the wall where you'll be fitting the wall cups.
- Take your adhesive pads and stick one side to the wall where you made your marks, applying pressure to each one for around a minute. Do this in all four corners. If there is any movement at this stage, use the screws provided to secure the wall cups in place.
- Put the gate into position and push the spindles into the wall cups.
- Turn the handwheels to tighten the spindles and secure the gate in place, starting with the bottom two spindles before moving onto the top. The stair gate is fully installed once there is no gap between the stair gate frame and the wall. Some stair gates also come with a safety indicator which turns green once the baby gate is properly installed.
Please note that if there is still a gap after fully tightening the spindles, then you may need to use a stair gate extension. These slot into the side of the gate for easy installation. If you're using an extension, you'll need to make sure this is attached to the gate before fitting the full unit.
How to fit a screw fit stair gate
A screw fitting stair gate attaches to the wall using wall mounts and screws. Again, we always recommend consulting the fitting instructions for your specific brand and model of stair gate. That being said, the video and tips below will apply to most screw fit safety gates.
- Lay out the pieces of your screw fit stair gate. You should have been provided with a pair of paper templates with drill markings: one for the hinge side and one for the opening side of the gate. This will help you align your fixings precisely, helping you to measure accurately and avoid drilling in the wrong place.
- Hold each template against the wall and mark your fixing points in line with the template.
- Screw your fixings in place using the appropriate fittings, making sure they align with the markings you made. We provide fittings for both plasterboard and wood, but if you need extra just take a look at our stair gate fittings.
- If you're installing an adjustable gate like our Safetots Chunky Wooden Screw Fit Gate or another one of our wooden stair gates, you'll need to extend it to the right size. You can do this by measuring the size of your space and referring to your gate's installation instructions, which will tell you the correct width setting for your stairs. You can then screw the two panels together.
- You'll be given two different types of spindles, one for the opening side and one for the hinge side. Decide which side will be used for your opening and attach the correct spindles to each corner.
- Put your gate into place and slide the hinge side spindles into their brackets, checking that there is an equal distance between the wall and gate on each side.
- Attach the caps to the brackets on the hinge side to secure the gate in place.
- Tighten all your fixings up and drop the opening side into position.
Stair gate safety tips
When it comes to stair gates, security is of the utmost importance. To help keep your family safe and sound, be sure to follow our essential stair gate safety tips below.
Always check safety testing
While you're shopping for a stair gate, always check the safety testing of the product and make sure you opt for one that has been tested to European Safety Standard EN1930:2011. This is the standard of testing for child safety barriers and ensures your child can't get through or get caught in the gate, that the gate is strong and secure, and that it is the right height. Here at Safetots, all of our stair gates have been through rigorous testing to pass EN1930:2011.
Try to avoid using pet gates in place of baby gates. While they are secure, their primary use is not for children. We'd always recommend choosing a safety gate that specifically states that it is designed for infants. Again, looking out for the EN1930:2011 Safety Standard is a good way to check this.
Follow the instructions
The advice above will help you install most pressure fit and screw fit safety gates, including retractable stair gates. However, we always recommend following the instructions provided with your specific stair gate, as there may be some nuances to bear in mind. Your stair gate will come with a set of written instructions but you can also find online versions of our product instructions, plus video tutorials.
Don't install your gate too high
When installing your baby gate, you should always ensure the gap between the floor and the base of the gate is no bigger than three inches, to prevent your baby or toddler from trying to crawl underneath it. One to two inches should be enough to allow the gate to open without catching on the floor. If you're installing a screw fit gate, the templates will help you get the right height. For pressure fitted gates, you may need to measure the space.
Remember the skirting board
Your stair gate should be completely straight which can seem tricky to do if you have a skirting board. To help install your stair gate correctly, you'll want to use a stair gate spacer, which you can find with our stair gate accessories, latches, and adapters. These can be installed at the top of the gate so the space matches the skirting board thickness.
Always use an adapter on rounded banister posts
To ensure your safety gate is fixed securely, never install your hardware onto a rounded or angled banister post. If you need to install your gate on a rounded or angled post, you'll need to use a pressure fit gate and a stair gate adapter.
Always close the gate behind you
While this might seem like an obvious point, it's incredibly important to make sure your gate is fully closed behind you. Many stair gates need to be manually closed via a slide and lift mechanism. If you're worried about leaving the gate open, you can invest in a self-closing stair gate that will shut automatically. For extra peace of mind, we'd always recommend checking that the gate has shut fully, even with the auto-shut function.
Supervise your child
Stair gates can help keep your little ones safe from potential falls on the stairs, but we'd always recommend adult supervision even with safety features in place. Don't forget to babyproof the rest of your home, too. Other baby safety products like room dividers, fire guards, and play dens can all help to keep your little explorer out of places they shouldn't be.
Check regularly for signs of wear and tear
When installed correctly, stair gates are extremely secure, but you may notice some general wear and tear through use. We'd recommend inspecting your safety gate at least once a month to check it's secure and tighten any of the fixings if they have become loose. If you spot any signs of damage, such as a crack, it could compromise the security of the gate. In this instance, your best course of action is to replace your stair gate.
How to remove pressure mounted baby gate
To remove a pressure mounted baby gate, unscrew the spindles in all four corners. You may also need to place a screwdriver under the wall cups and adhesive pads to loosen the pressure slightly. Afterwards, they should lift straight off.
How to remove screw fit stair gate
Removing a screw fit stair gate is just as easy as removing a pressure mounted baby gate. All you'll need to do is remove the caps on the hinge side fittings. The gate will then slide right out, allowing for temporary storage or complete removal. If you want to remove your baby gate permanently, you can then proceed to unscrew the fittings and plug up any holes.
Installing your baby gate properly is an incredibly important task and by following the steps above you'll know how to fit a stair gate securely. Here at Safetots, we stock a vast range of stair gates, including pressure fit stair gates, screw fit baby gates, and retractable gates, as well as extra tall gates and gate extensions. Our stair gate buyer's guide will help you find the right option for your home, so be sure to take a look. We're experts in child safety products so you can rest assured that you're only getting the very best advice and products from us, so shop online at Safetots today.