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The perfect gates are unique to everyone but there are definitely steps to make the process of choosing your perfect gates easier.
First step is to identify the perfect gate design. This will usually be something that matches or compliments the style of your house and doesn’t clash too much with neighbouring properties. If you’ve chosen to live in a modern house, you probably want modern gates. More traditional gates would also clash with a modern house but modern gates would not look right in front of a cottage.
Gate design is also affected by what the gates are made from. This includes iron or steel, wood or aluminium. Iron and steel gates tend to be ornate with thinner vertical and horizontal elements in an open boarded design.
Wooden gates are often full boarded but wood is perfect for creating many design styles. It is often used in rustic gates but very modern gates can also be made from wood.
Aluminium can now be made to look remarkably like either iron or wooden gates.
Wooden gates can be supplied with a clear treatment or stain that preserves the natural grain of the wood and offers a degree of protection against the elements. Alternatively, they can be painted a suitable colour to match or compliment your house, existing fencing or outbuildings.
Iron and steel gates are traditionally finished in darker colours and many are coated with specialist rust-preventing paints.
Aluminium gates are coated with a strong coating that is bonded to the gate surface. This layer provides the colour or wood-effect or steel-effect finish.
In all cases, the choices of colour are practically endless but only aluminium gates and wooden gates themselves provide a wood-grain finish.
Once a rough idea of basic design has been arrived at, where the gates will spend their working lives can be considered.
Open or close boarded
Gates can be made without gaps (close boarded) or with open sections (open boarded). As a gate is subject to the forces of moving air on its surface, larger gates and gates installed in exposed, windy locations can benefit significantly from a degree of open boarded design. This allows some of the air acting on their surface to pass straight through the gate instead of resisting or reinforcing the gate’s normal opening and closing movements.
Gates are exposed to the weather so they get wet and dry out and get wet again. Wood can suffer when wet, as it soaks up water and expands and gets heavier. Over a period of time, wet wood also starts to rot. In drier times, wet wood slowly dries, contracts and becomes lighter. It will eventually develop cracks and larger splits. Regular treatment of wood can slow down this process but it will happen eventually.
Iron rusts when it is exposed to water and air. Again, surface treatment will help delay the process but rust is hard to eliminate.
Aluminium is highly resistant to the damaging combination of water and air. Aluminium are also usually covered with a tough coating that incorporates the colour or wood-effect design chose for your gates.
All swing gates are hung on posts with hinges and sliding gates move along tracks on rollers. But they can also be automated so that they open and close at the touch of a button. This can be from inside your car as you leave or return home, or inside your house using an intercom system connected to a call panel outside the gates. Nowadays, you can even use your mobile phone with access control systems that will open or close your gates from anywhere in the world.
Swing gates can be automated with a variety of motors which are either visibly mounted on the gate and adjacent gate pillar or installed underground for more discrete gate automation. Sliding gate motors all mount on the ground next to the gate a use a cog meshed with a rack mounted on the gate to slide the gate open and closed.
Final considerations for the perfect gates include locks and gate furniture including hinges, letterboxes and gate stays. You could include cat flaps, lights and even cut-outs depending on what makes your perfect choice of gates.