April 9, 2021

Fence Gates: A Gate For Every Purpose!

The finishing touch to any fence is a gate that both beautifies the surroundings and improves the functionality of the space. However, with so many gate types, styles and materials to choose from these days, you may not know where to start in your search for the perfect option. It is important that your gate matches well with your current fence. The wrong gate design can destroy the look of an otherwise gorgeous fence around a home or business.

Although fence gates are most often used as small openings in fences, they can have a variety of other applications as well, such as entrances to homes or businesses. This handy guide will give you a better idea of the many types of fence gates available today and will give you a place to start when choosing an ideal gate style and size for your needs.

Types of Fence Gates

Although the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of fence gates is probably the basic wooden gate, there are actually many more types from which you can choose these days. From traditional walkway gates to driveway gates, garden gates and pool gates, gates come in all shapes and sizes. However, a walkway gate is the one most frequently seen.

Walkway gates are designed mainly for pedestrian traffic although you can generally fit bicycles, some motorcycles and gardening equipment through them as well. Most fences are not complete without at least this size of gate. Seen as the major point of entry to a yard of any size, the walkway gate must be strong and reliable to last for years without breaking or sagging.

Driveway gates are certainly not as frequently seen, but they can be invaluable to certain properties. They are most frequently used on larger or more expensive properties that want additional protection for their buildings or belongings. These gates are wide enough to allow in at least one car or truck. However, they may be built even wider to allow in a double lane of traffic. While many swing open, others slide open in order to take up less space.

The garden gate is usually only wide enough for foot traffic and certain gardening supplies. It is highly decorative rather than focusing on security and strength.

Finally, the pool gate not only is a decorative and functional feature installed in all pool fences but also is important for increased safety. These gates must have secure latches to protect the smallest members of your family from getting into the unsafe pool area on their own.

Top Fence Gate Styles

Fence gates can also be categorized by how they open and shut. The two major styles include swinging gates and sliding gates. Swinging gates are nearly always used for smaller walkways and garden gates. However, you must have plenty of space for the gate to swing open if you wish to install one.

The sliding fence gate is a more expensive option, but it helps conserve space and looks far more eye-catching than a sliding fence gate. This style is particularly useful for larger gates that would require too much space to swing open.

Fence Gate Shapes and Patterns

Once you determine where your fence gate should be installed and what gate style works best in your space, you can move on to choosing the overall shape and pattern of your gate. You may want to choose a style that blends in seamlessly with the rest of your fence or a gate that appears more decorative.

If you are installing a privacy fence, you will want to add a privacy gate as well. The board-on-board option looks stylish while being plain and sturdy. The shadowbox style provides a semi-private look that still allows in a breeze and some sunlight.  If you want to jazz up the look of an otherwise plain fence gate, you could add latticework to the top of it.

For a less private look, spaced bars still add security without making the space feel too cut off from the rest of the world. The spaced picket gate or split rail gate are two other very open styles.

Another way to change the look of your fence gate is to create a unique gate top. Instead of sticking with the basic flat top, consider dog-ear boards or even a picket style. A farm gate style adds a countryside flair to your property or is perfect if you have large animals. Other ways to play with the shape of your fence gate include creating an arched shape, choosing scalloped edges to create a convex appearance or choosing a gothic style gate on a cast iron fence using specialty finials or toppers.

Fence Gate Materials

Fence gates can be constructed from a wide variety of materials and are usually designed to match the fence. There are a variety of possible materials that can be used to create a stylish and strong fence gate. Choose an option that matches your budget and your desired look for your space. In addition, consider how much time you are willing to put into maintaining your fence as certain materials require regular cleaning, painting and other maintenance tasks.

The material most frequently seen in residential fence gates is wood. Wood creates a traditional look and can easily be cut and stained to match your landscaping. It is also ideal for privacy fences. However, it does require regular maintenance and will not last as long as some other options.

If less maintenance is what you require, PVC vinyl may be an excellent choice for your fence gate. Although vinyl is most often white, it can actually come in black, gray and a variety of other colors as well. Vinyl is generally strong and lasts for years without any maintenance. However, it can break or become dented under certain conditions.

Chain link fence gates are highly functional although they generally all look alike. They are strong and sturdy, which makes them ideal for fence gates around businesses. Opt for a gate that is tall enough to prevent individuals from climbing over it into your property.

If you want something that is both strong and stylish, a wrought iron gate will last for years and will give you a very classic look. While wrought iron is one of the most expensive fence gate materials, it can last for over 100 years with regular maintenance. You will need to deal with rust whenever you notice it and will need to paint the gate every few years.

You may find that wrought iron is out of your budget. If this is the case, aluminum is an excellent alternative that provides a similar look. Aluminum fence gates are particularly popular around pool areas. This lightweight material can last a lifetime, is incredibly easy to maintain and is surprisingly strong.

Although these are the primary materials used for fence gates, you may discover a less typical material that you love. For example, bamboo, tropical hardwoods and composite materials are becoming more popular these days. Chat with an installation expert from Reliable Fence to get suggestions that match your needs.

Fence Gate Panels

For a typical walkway fence, a narrow, single-panel gate may be sufficient. However, for larger spaces or as a statement piece, a larger paneled gate may be more appropriate. The single-door fence gate usually measures three to four feet wide to give you plenty of room for walking. They typically swing inward for ease of use. You will quickly see that these gates function much as any door would. However, because the gate is subjected to the elements, you will need to maintain the hinges and latching mechanisms regularly.

If you have a very large yard or want to have a larger opening to get trucks or machinery through, the double-panel fence gate is a better option. The two wide panels provide sufficient space for nearly any need. However, you may find that the gate may need to be reinforced in the middle of each panel to prevent sagging.

Maintaining Your Fence Gate

Fence gate maintenance will be quite similar to the regular maintenance that your entire fence needs. However, you will need to place an additional emphasis on maintaining hinges, locking mechanisms and any other moving parts. The exact maintenance you will need to provide will also depend on the material used for the gate.

For example, a wood fence gate will need to be regularly washed with a hose and possibly with a mild soap to remove dirt and grime. Every few years, you will need to stain the wood to protect it from rotting. As you clean your gate every year, be sure to check for rust on the hinges and locks. While there should not be any breakdown of the metal in the first few years, getting any problems corrected immediately can save you from more costly repairs down the road.

Vinyl fence gates are incredibly easy to maintain. They typically last far longer than wood and may not sag as much either. However, you will still want to clean the gate annually with mild soap and a soft cloth and make sure that the gate is not bumping against the locking mechanism or the gate post.

Although a wrought iron fence gate may take the most time to maintain, this will be well worth your effort. If you prevent rust from building up in the first place and immediately remove any rust you do see, your gate should last far longer than your lifespan. Once again, you will need to wash your wrought iron gate once or twice every year. As you clean, look for small areas of rust that will need to be sanded away. After sanding, apply rust cleaner, rewash your gate, and apply a fence wax to protect your gate from the elements. The gate will need to be repainted every two to three years.

To maintain a large, automatic fence, such as you might have for your driveway, you will need to pay attention not only to the appearance and mechanics of the fence but also to the electrical components, such as automatic openers. Nest-building insects, such as wasps, can wreak havoc on an electronic circuit board. In addition, lubricating these large gates frequently is important for keeping them functioning smoothly for years.

Best Fence Gate Tips

If you have never had a fence gate in your yard or on your commercial property in the past, you may be unsure of how to choose the right option, what questions you should ask before installation and how installation is completed. These tips will clear up many of the issues that home and business owners frequently encounter during the decision-making process.

Know your homeowner association requirements.

Many newer residential areas are now part of homeowner’s associations (HOAs). These HOAs often have strict rules that homeowners must follow when it comes to the overall look of their properties. For example, there could be rules about the size or height of the fence and fence gate and the allowable fence and gate materials. You should definitely know what your parameters are before getting started.

Understand the difference between fence panels and fence gates.

You may think that you could use a simple fence panel for your gate, but these panels are not generally designed to be sturdy enough for constant movement.

Keep your gate from sagging.

Gates must have great rigidity so that they do not sag. You will often see metal, vinyl or wooden reinforcements placed diagonally on a gate for this reason.

Get professional help.

Although you may think that installing a new fence gate should be a simple task, this is one job that you should definitely leave to the professionals at Reliable Fence. A gate must be installed perfectly in order to line up with the gate posts, latch easily and last for years.

If you are installing a new fence or replacing an older fence, you will definitely want to take time considering the style of fence gate you want to install. A gate provides better access to your property, improves efficiency as you work around your property and even increases safety with the right type of lock or automation.

If you are looking for ways to increase your security, protect your home or business and increase privacy, Reliable Fence can help you choose and install the perfect fence gate for your needs. A professional installation expert from Reliable Fence can make sure that your gate is strong and durable enough to work smoothly for years.