Are you considering a gate design for your property? If so, whatever design you might choose is a big consideration, of course; and an equally important consideration deals with gate hardware that will have to accommodate the respective weight, size and usage of the gate.
If you choose a steel or iron driveway gate, you will probably need to have gate hinges custom-fabricated due to the inherent weight. If you plan on purchasing a wooden gate, you’ll have the probable option of choosing from a vast selection of catalogue samples. An important feature that should never be overlooked concerning gate hinges is the ball bearings, which should be an automatic consideration. Ball bearings do wonders to allow ease with the gate’s ability to open, not to mention keeping the gate operating properly for many years.
Gate Latches and Locks:
It goes without saying that a driveway gate will get its share of slams throughout its lifetime, not to mention just everyday use. If the gate is made from a heavier material—such as steel vs aluminum—the gate latches will prematurely wear down when something as innocuous as smaller screws are used. Gate latch failure can also become a problem if the latches are made of cast aluminum—a flimsy material not suited for latches that will have to endure repeated use. Cast aluminum latches have a shorter lifespan than heavier materials and will bend and warp to the point where the gate will not be able to latch shut, at all.
So what’s the best material for gate latches?—heavy steel! Steel latches should, also, be properly sealed to prevent corrosion of the locking device. There is one thing to be aware of regarding steel latches and locks, however; and it’s this: if any kind of shifting of the soil occurs, and if the gate pillars were installed improperly, the latches would present a real challenge as far as their adjustment would be concerned since they are embedded into the gate frame, much like a steel door handle on your front door. Other types of gate latches that are secured with proper screws on the exterior of the gate frame would not be problematic and could be easily removed. If any shifting of soil occurs with gates constructed of screw-on latches, new holes can be effortlessly drilled to reposition the latches.
Gate Post Materials:
Have you thought about what type of material you might use for the gate posts? Some of the most widely-used materials are 1) stucco 2) natural stone 3) cultured stone and 4) wood. Deciding which material to use will rest on two factors—what look you desire and how much you are willing to spend.
Possesses the classiest look, costs the most to construct but will last forever!
Stucco and Cultured Stone:
Are simply aesthetic coverings over cement blocking and are more affordable. Stucco can be painted to suit any changing tastes; and cultured stone can be removed (not cheaply) to accommodate a different style of stone, if and when desired. When sealed against the elements, stucco and cultured stone will last a good many years!
Wood gateposts can be expensive and must be sealed and have the ability to thoroughly withstand the elements. European Oak is one type of wood used for gatepost construction due to its extreme strength and reliable durability. This particular oak finishes well and has very little shrinkage.
And as far as topping off the posts, gate post caps are narrowed down to two main choices: precast concrete or natural stone. Both materials are very durable.
Any Design Is Possible!
Whatever material one might choose for a custom gate, the bottom line is that the finished product will add sophisticated beauty to any home—whether large or small. There should be consistency between the style of the home and the architectural design of the gate. There also needs to be proportion in relation to the respective home to make sure the gate doesn’t overpower a smaller home nor appear too small for a much larger home—this is where a professional gate designer comes in! He or she will incorporate not only consistency and proportion but scale and balance; and if really creative, will take some of the existing design elements of the home or even characteristics of one’s lifestyle and incorporate one or the other into the gate’s design, as well.
The fun part is the prospective gate owner having the option to incorporate whatever design trips his trigger. Elvis Presley, with the help of gate-fabrication specialists, had a custom iron gate created with a silhouette of himself playing a guitar on both halves of his bi-fold, Graceland driveway gate—anything is possible!