Deciding to incorporate a customized gate for your home’s driveway is actually quite exciting!  The mere fact that a gate will be personalized indicates pride and thoughtful consideration from the one who is considering a project that reflects his or her unique tastes and interests. 

When one decides upon having a custom gate created, one decision, in particular, has to be made:  Should the gate be constructed of wood or metal?  These two materials are typically the most used.    The final determination will depend on several variables including 1) the width of the gate 2) the type of weather the gate will continually be exposed to and 3) how much one is willing to spend.  These considerations should be thoughtfully contemplated since a customized gate is not just an item you add to your home—it’s an investment!

How Wide Will The Gate Be?

The width of your intended gate is very important for one main reason:  metal or iron can support their own weight much more so than wood.   Metal will provide the strength that is required to span the distance.  Longer wood gates will have a tendency to compromise their own ability to hold their weight with repeated openings and closings.  If the length is too long and wood is used, warping and sagging can be expected after being continuously exposed to the elements in addition to fastener joints that can work their way loose.  There is some encouraging news, however, regarding wooden gates when wider dimensions are an issue.  If one has a single-car driveway, a double-opening at about 4 or 5 feet in width for the two sides can be designed which will allow a wooden gate to bypass some of its own hindrances.

Metal brackets and cross-bracing becomes necessary with wood materials; and metal bracket plates need to be incorporated in wooden gates that are longer than 5 feet to ensure rigidity of the joints.    Metal gate components, on the other hand, are held together with welds, providing far more strength and stability. When it comes to wider designs, such as gates that will need to be 10 feet or more in width, metal or iron is your best choice since metal will assuredly maintain its structural integrity for years to come!

What’s The Weather Like?

Both metal and wooden gates will, due to their natural characteristics, begin to deteriorate if preventative maintenance is ignored.  In more humid or rainy environments, metal can rust, especially at any joints or hinges, and/or form colored markings that can leave the metal looking unsightly or even discolor the respective portion of one’s driveway.   To successfully counteract this potential issue, metal gates can be shielded with protective sealants and varnishes that work very well.

Wood can also deteriorate, only far more rapidly than its metal counterpart since wood, of course, is an organic material.  Wetter environments, even simple humidity, must be counteracted with specialized sealants to avoid the possibility of expected contraction and expansion of wooden materials.  Hinges and gate pickets can suffer warpage; and wood-rot can set in with any wood left unprotected.  Even with protection, however, metal gates would be a more lasting choice in those environments where continuous moisture cannot be avoided.

What’s In Your Wallet?

As one might guess, metal gates will cost more than wood.  Like anything else, one will receive what one is willing or able to pay.  Yes, the big advantage of selecting a wood gate, though, is the savings you will experience!  The savings of wood over metal or wrought iron can be the difference in thousands of dollars.  But the bottom line remains: considering the investment you are making with a customized gate, how long do you want your gate to last?

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