Pros and Cons of Wooden GatesMarch 22, 2017
Wood has withstood the test of time and remains a favourite gate building material, despite tough competition from aluminium, wrought iron and uPVC. When choosing a new garden or driveway gate it helps to understand the pros and cons of each material available to you, including maintenance costs, longevity and style recommendations.
Pros of Wooden Gates
Softwood gates made of Cedar or Redwood Pine are versatile, inexpensive and easy to maintain. All softwoods are easy to work with and this means a wooden gate can be made to suit any style of home. Traditional gating is available for period properties with ironmongery to complement the age of the home, and for more privacy or a modern touch, timber gates can be built as one solid panel to maximise security and divert unwanted attention away from your property.
There are numerous finishes that can be applied to timber and if you want to change the appearance of a gate in the future, it is a simple and satisfying home improvement. You have a choice of painting or staining your fence, and this topic could span an entire post, so here are the basics:
- Paint covers the natural grain of the wood and comes in many colours, but is liable to chip; a base layer of primer is also required before painting
- Stain is transparent and works into the wood grain; it is available in less colours, but will not chip and does not require a primer
- Paint and stain will protect your gate from water and UV damage
- If you want to change the appearance of a gate that has been painted or stained, all you need is sandpaper, a brush and a pot of the desired finish
Timber is also very sustainable, and there are several accrediting bodies that guarantee your wood has come from an eco-friendly source. Look for labelling from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), to guarantee your wood is from a sustainably managed forest.
Cons of Wooden Gates
Wood is a natural material that will deteriorate over time if not looked after properly. However, ‘regular maintenance’ where wood is concerned, means re-staining or repainting the gate every year or two. Untreated wood is also liable to insect infestation. Softwood gates from a quality supplier will be treated against insect damage, but the gate must be maintained to insure it against garden pests. All in all, time must be invested in your wooden gate to keep it looking attractive, and to keep it working as it should. Given its other benefits, it is easy to see why wood remains a firm choice for adding a little charm and security to your garden or driveway.
Other materials for Gates
Aluminium gates can be made in many designs to suit a modern home. It is durable and long-lasting but it is more expensive than wooden gating. The initial cost is more, but over time the gate may require less maintenance. The common myth that aluminium does not rust (though technically true) is misleading. Aluminium does suffer from corrosion which forms as white powder on the surface, especially on parts of the metal that are dented or otherwise damaged.
Wrought iron gates are arguably more period correct than wooden gates for certain properties, particularly older homes located in inner city areas. However, iron is a very expensive option that is mostly used when planning permission makes it a mandatory material. A damp atmosphere, as found across the UK, means wrought iron is susceptible to rust spots, which are harder to treat than equivalent problems with wooden gates. Iron is also unsuitable for hanging from certain structures because of its substantial weight.
uPVC, otherwise known as vinyl, is a plastic-based material that offers long-life and minimal maintenance. This can be a pro or a con, depending on your preferences. Many people appreciate the aged patina of well-maintained wooden gating, and this natural wear suits traditional properties much more than the doll’s house appearance of uPVC. It can be expensive to repair uPVC because the locking slats that make up the gate must be prised apart, and this is known to incur further damage. Wooden gates are also more sustainable than plastic-based products, especially wood that is FSC or PEFC approved.
The advantages of wooden gates are quite clear when directly compared to alternative materials. Aesthetics, cost and versatility are the clear reasons that timber is the material of choice for so many homeowners who want their property to feel and look authentic.
Harrow Fencing offer a wide range of commercial and domestic fencing and gating supplies. Operating in the Harrow and Hillingdon area, we are one of London’s largest fencing stockists and our range is only beaten by our friendly service. For more information about our products and services, speak to one of our team today.