We try to plan our projects out in advance, regardless of size, to help us stay on budget. When our toddler started making a dash for the stairs at every opportunity, hanging a baby gate jumps to the top of our list. Fortunately, this is a quick “knock-out-during-a-nap” sort of project, so we dove right in.
We have a couple of older expandable baby gates that just require a few screw eyes in the wall to hang. We’d hung one of these before, and the alignment process for the four screw eyes was a bit finicky. In this case there was the added complication of our stairs butting up to our front door – we had to move the gate up to the second step to avoid putting the screws into the door trim.
Aligning things has always frustrated me. Hanging curtain rods, hanging pictures – it seems like no matter how carefully I would measure and check level and measure again I’d be ever so slightly off by the time I finished. So finally, about a year ago, I broke down and bought a laser level. It may have been a bit pricey, but let me tell you… Throw away your levels, folks. Burn your straight edges and tape measures. This is the future.
Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but I’m a huge believer in having the right tool for the job. We like this Dewalt laser level (not affiliated). Sometimes it’s worth upgrading tools in order to save time and hassle. There are so many uses for a laser level- you’ll see us use it a lot. Anyway, back to the gate.
I started by propping the gate up in its approximate location, making sure to leave a gap at the bottom so that it wouldn’t rub on the carpet. Then I set up the laser level to project a horizontal beam that crossed where I wanted the top screw eye in the stair post. After a few adjustments of the level’s placement, this beam nicely wrapped around the corner of the stair turn.
Next, I put up a couple of strips of painters tape along the beam, and marked the spots for the top screw eyes. I measured the distance between the gate hooks to get the spacing for the screw eyes. Then I switched on the level’s vertical beam and ran it down the post. Using that as a guide, I marked the spot for the lower screw eye.
I used another horizontal beam to place the spot for the lower screw eye on the other side. After I had four spots marked, I drilled the pilot holes and inserted the screw eyes. Then, the moment of truth- hanging the gate. This is typically when things go wrong and choice words are said. Not with a laser level!
We were happy to be able to hang this baby gate so quickly to keep our curious and scary-fast toddler off the steps!
It’s amazing what you can accomplish during a good nap. Now when do we get our nap? Check out C’s totally nap-able nursery!