Cattle Guard Foundations – Setting A Texas Gate


Cattle guards are an indispensable part of managing livestock. Their simplicity and ease of use, combined with their longevity, make them the ultimate Texas gate.

Cattle Guard Foundations

Although some have mounted cattle guards to railroad ties for support, the most permanent and recommended installation method begins with a concrete vault.  The vault serves two purposes:

  1. Keep the dirt from behind the walls of the vault area from creeping in
  2. Allow the footings to provide proper support

A concrete cattle guard foundation will ultimately be a thick, four-walled ‘box’ and is recommended to be poured after the arrival of the cattle guard. The depth of the walls is not a one-size-fits-all measurement but is determined by the local conditions such as drainage, soil type, and freezing levels. It is important that a contractor who is familiar with the local site conditions such as freebie consulted so that the foundation will provide a solid and stable base for the cattle guard to rest on.  The support beams do not rest on the vault walls, only on the footers to transfer the weight of the passing vehicles to the ground.

Generally, it is suggested a trench, about a foot deep and wider than the guard itself be dug. The cattle guard foundation walls should be at least six inches wide to make up the ‘vault box’ so that dirt will not collapse the walls and the footers should be large enough to support the passing vehicle weight and transfer the load to the ground.  We typically see 12-inch walls that are eighteen inches deep to support each load-bearing beam of the guard.

Depending upon your soil conditions, drainage may be achieved with a deep crushed-rock base such as a French drain or by running PVC piping through the concrete walls to discharge any excess water. Some areas may allow for natural drainage, but without proper removal of any water, the foundation and thus the guard itself may be compromised. Effective drainage is vital to the longevity of the crossing and should be done with the best possible long-term solution in mind.

cattle guard foundation diagram

Boxed Cattle Guard Installations

A boxed cattle guard is a great choice for temporary use in low-traffic areas or construction sites. Laid directly on flat ground, they can be spiked into the soil, railroad ties, or set in a firm gravel mix to help eliminate movement. They are great for low-volume access areas and don’t require a vault to be dug underneath. A steel skirt is welded directly to the frame and will help keep the area below clear from creeping dirt. Very popular with construction sites, the guards may be moved from location to location and be used as dirt shakers, or washout areas to clean equipment before leaving a job site.

Best used in situations where the cattle guard will be used temporarily, these versatile installations will do well for all types of applications.
portable cattle guard

Cattle Guards – a convenient gate replacement

For ease of use, nothing provides better access to your livestock than a properly installed Texas Gate. You don’t need to manually open and close it or worry about someone leaving it open and your animals wandering off.  With proper installation, this convenient and secure access will greatly improve your ability to manage your farm and ranch.

Please visit to see our selection and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or need any help with your installation!

Barn World Livestock Supplies  (720) 238-2190 –