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The weather affects gates in a variety of ways depending on what the gates are made from. Wind, rain, snow and changing temperatures can all have the potential to cause damage to the gate itself, gate hardware and the automation system components. It is important to understand how the elements affect different gate materials in order to understand how to protect them.
Strong winds affect swing gates which act like a sail. As wind blows on their surface, the force required to move them increases. Fully-boarded gates with no gaps are affected more than part-boarded swing gates. But enough force from strong winds can stop them moving and even damage automation system components. At its worst, a big, heavy gate can come loose from its gate motors and become incredibly dangerous as the wind blows it around. This may even damage the hinges and bring down posts or pillars the gates are hung on.
Heavy rain can wash away the ground around pillar or gate post foundations. This can affect their ability to support the weight of large gates. Consequently, gates and their supports should be examined carefully after heavy rains and any repairs carried out quickly. Underground gate motors are housed in foundation boxes below gate hinges. As they are below ground, underground gate motors need sufficient drainage to prevent them from being submerged in water for more than half an hour at a time. Regular clearing of debris from foundation box drain holes helps keep properly installed underground motors functioning properly.
Clearing sliding gate tracks of accumulated leaves and debris is good practice to keep sliders moving smoothly, especially during the Autumn and Winter months.
Cleaning a gate helps prolong its lifespan by keeping the surface coating in good condition to help extend a gate’s life. Regular checks will highlight any necessary cleaning, greasing and the reapplication of a surface coating.
Various factors can affect wooden gates. Issues such as decay caused by rot, mould and fungi can all cause a gate to deteriorate. If the wooden gate doesn’t have a protective coating, or the coating is cracked, the wood will absorb water which causes it to expand and get heavier. However, when the weather gets drier the water evaporates from the wood which causes it to shrink and become lighter. Over time, this constant change in size and weight detrimentally affects the gate’s structure, moving parts, joints and surface coating.
Wooden sections are bolted together so that the sections are tight against each other. As the wood expands, it pushes against its neighbouring section and pulls the bolt through its hole slightly. As the water evaporates from the wood and it shrinks, it grips the bolt and reveals gaps between the adjacent sections. It’s also worth noting when the gate has absorbed water and it’s heavier, it will put more pressure on motors and hinges, which could stop them from working as efficiently.
Iron gates suffer in wet weather too. Bare iron oxides to rust when it comes into contact with oxygen and water. The process is accelerated in the presence of salt water. Iron gates must be maintained on a regular basis to ensure rusting does not happen. A specialised protective layer must be applied to the surface of the gate during manufacture. This should be checked often to ensure there are no holes that allow the ingress of water.
Offering a robust alternative, aluminium gates are able to resist the elements better than wood or iron ones. Aluminium is naturally rest resistant and at Linkcare, all of our aluminium gates are applied with a specialist coating that comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Linkcare offer a variety of electric gate kits, gate remotes and other accessories. We are here to answer any questions you may have and are also able to recommend trusted companies for gate installation and maintenance across the UK. Contact us on 01895 232626 or visit our website for more information.