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What Gate Materials Should I Choose

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  • 20-12-2021
What Gate Materials Should I Choose

What Materials Should I Choose For My New Gate?

Hard Wood Gates

Except for the 5-bar' ranch kind' gates, wood gates tend to be solid, hence partially/totally blocking one's view of your property. 

The drawback is that all-natural warping, growth, and framework turning could occur. When it comes to a new gate, one service is to construct a metal structure that is then clad with timber. Hardwood is the most expensive however can be best in the long term.

Completely sheeted gates do not allow the wind to spill through them. This implies that we have to use much stronger operators and increase the safety and security tools called for. Treated wood gates tend to be greater upkeep.

Our Softwood garden gates are constructed out of top-notch Scandinavian Redwood. The frames are 70mm thick, and the interior boards are 21mm thick. We complete our Softwood gates with a brownish-gold tarnish where we dip the gates in, allowing the therapy to soak right into the joints for a time.

When gates have been fitted and have had time for the therapy to settle, you could apply an additional discolour to a colour of your choice.

Suitable for swing and moving gates of all dimensions, wrought iron is a visually classy and sturdy material with a very long lifespan. 

They also come with the added benefit of requiring only minimal maintenance. All our standard gate styles are finished with hot-dipped galvanisation or powder layers to help longevity and make them aesthetically pleasing.

Our typical style driveway and estate gates are designed to match any home style. With a big variety of gate designs to select from, you can be sure of locating your best gate.

All our estate gates are made to measure, and we could always personalise the design. This will provide you with a uniquely functioned iron gate.

A reasonable amount of preparation ought to be routed to safety. Such as where a pedestrian could safely walk. Think about what safety and security functions will be needed and where you will site them. For additional security information, please see below. To recap:

  • How will the gate open?
  • What room will the gate inhabit as it relocates?
  • What security functions will be utilised to shield automobiles and pedestrians?
  • Is eviction aperture wide enough for cars turning in?
  • Is there sufficient area for automobiles to manoeuvre on the driveway? 
  • Can vehicles park without blocking the gates or security features?

Considerations of Gate materials

Choosing which materials to construct your bespoke gates from can be a tricky decision to make. The two main options open to our clients are wooden or metal garden gates or driveway gates. However, within these two categories is a wealth of options regarding what type of metal or wood will be best for your domestic or commercial gates.

We can construct new metal gates from most types of metal, including wrought iron, offering its own unique mix of benefits and negatives. Wooden gates are also available in a range of different designs but are mainly divided into two main types: hardwood gates and softwood gates. Again, both hardwood and softwood gates offer different benefits and negatives.

Here we will take you through the various options available for gate materials and what specific positives and negatives come with each one. We will also look at how different materials are suited to different purposes and provide the best quality as a gate material. If you are unsure which type of gate material would create the right gate for you, do not hesitate to contact our team. Call or email, and they will be happy to take you through your options and help you choose the perfect gate material.

Privacy Security

When privacy is your main concern, wooden close boarded gates are the best option. They can be constructed from softwoods or hardwoods, providing a great variety of choices for aesthetic considerations. 

We recommend wooden privacy gates, given gates made from solid metal panels are not as visually pleasing when placed in front of your home. Of course, you could combine the two materials to create a boarded gate framed in steel, combining comforting privacy with structural integrity. 

When it comes to security, as a general rule, no matter what material you choose to build your gates from, so long as they are built high enough to deter criminals, they should provide security for your property.

Gate Weight

Whatever material you choose to construct your gates from, you should ensure that the existing posts or pillars that will hold them up are strong enough to withstand the weight. Weak gate posts or pillars pose a serious safety risk and the possible threat of death, so this is a serious consideration that you should not take lightly.

If you are at all unsure about the strength of your gate pillars or posts, having them inspected by a professional gate installation service, such as Secure Automation, is the best thing to do. The lightest materials you could choose for your gates are Cedar for wooden gates or aluminium for metal gates. Hardwoods or metal frame infill gates can reach weights of up to 100kg for each side.

Automated Gates

Choosing to have automated gates rather than manual gates carries additional costs and additional factors to consider when choosing which material to use. 

One of these factors is how windy it gets around your property. It sounds like a strange thing to have to consider, but it is vital when installing automated or electronic gates.

Suppose you decide on a solid or close boarded gate material. In that case, this will act almost like a sail in strong winds, preventing weaker operating mechanisms for automated gates from working properly.

This means you may have to upgrade your operating system to a more high-powered one, which will ultimately cost you more money.

If you are dead set on having metal gates due to their design and open panel aesthetics, you will need to install an underground motor and operating system. While this provides a more sleek and elegant look, these systems are both expensive to initially purchase and difficult to install. Essentially you will need to dig up your driveway to install these underground operating systems for your new gates.

Easy Maintenance

No matter what material you choose to build your gates from, they will all need some regular maintenance to ensure they continue to serve their purpose and look fantastic. 

The easiest gate materials to maintain are metals, such as aluminium or wrought iron, since they are often powder coated. Caring for metal gates generally involves the odd coat of paint and standard washing.

On the other hand, wooden gates will require specific staining and protective treatments at least once a year to keep them looking good. 

They are particularly prone to mould, with pores forming in the timber if untreated. 

The smooth planed timber gates will need to be sanded back before being stained again if this happens. If your wooden gates become damaged, you can repair them by finding a matching filler timber, sanding it, priming it, and apply a stain the same colour as the rest of the wood.


All the gate materials you can purchase should last over 20 years with proper care and maintenance when buying gates. Here is the rundown for life expectancies for different gate materials from longest to shortest:

  • Wrought Iron Gates and Metal Gates - 20+ years
  • Metal Framed Timber Infill Gates - 20+years
  • Hardwood Gates - 15+ years
  • Softwood Gates - 10+ years


All gates will begin to act differently depending on the time of year and how wild the weather is. Wrought iron gates or other metal gates are affected the least by these factors, making them some of the best gate materials. 

However, it is normal to expect some catching or movement in your gate through the seasons. Professional manufacturers and gate suppliers, such as ourselves, can produce gates that allow for this movement without it being too noticeable.

In some cases, gates can move to the extent that the cladding boards on top of the material can pop out. 

The gate will retract to its former shape most of the time, and everything will fall back into place. One excellent option is to have adjustable hinges installed on your gates. These will allow you to alter the ground clearance of your gate, allowing you to adjust for the movement of the material. Otherwise, you would need to remove your gates and refit them.

If you find that the cladding on your gates has popped out, there is a simple fix you may be able to do yourself. Remove the gate, or gates, where the cladding has popped and move them somewhere indoors, such as your garage, where they can warm up and stay dry. After around a week, you should be able to screw the cladding back down, at which point you can reattach your gates.

Inherent Properties Of Timber Gates

Woodgrain & Knots 

One of the main aspects that attract people to natural wooden gates is the beauty of the timber. All the timber Secure Automation uses to construct your gates is from renewable and sustainable sources. 

This means that a lot of the timber we use contains grain variations, knots and streaks of resin from the tree sap. All of these combine to create a beautiful natural material that will add great kerb appeal standing at the end of your driveway.

What Do Electric Wooden Gates Cost?

Mould Growth

When observed at a microscopic level, natural wood has the appearance of a bundle of straws all tightly bound together. This is how trees can draw water all the way up their trunks and along their branches. What's more, this process does not end when the tree is felled. This way, moisture can be drawn into the timber of your gates, potentially causing mould. If you notice mould on your gates, washing them with a mild detergent should suffice. You can also add a protective treatment to prevent mould growth.

Warping & Movement

While the expert designers, builders and installers at Secure Automation will do all they can to prevent any untoward things happening to your gates, whenever you decide on using natural timber as your preferred gate material, there is going to be some movement. This is a natural response of the timber when exposed to the elements and is ultimately unavoidable.

An extreme example might be that you have noticed your wooden gates warping or bending as they repeatedly swell and shrink through exposure to moisture. You can exacerbate these issues in a few ways, such as only painting, staining or treating one side of your gates, or having only one side facing the sun. When most gates begin to warp, they will naturally return to their previous shape over time.

Appearance Variation

While the timber used to construct your gates will come from the same tree species, it may not come from the same part of the same tree or even the same tree. This will naturally lead to slight variations in appearance. Naturally, we will always try to match timber boards with the closest ones in appearance. Still, the variations in graining, knots and other elements all contribute to the beautiful aesthetic appeal of natural timber.

Key Differences between Steel & Timber Gates

Now we have gone through the different materials you can use to build your gates, along with the nuances each material comes with, now we will go over the main debate amongst gate owners: metal vs wood.

Metal Gates

  • Given the high strength of the metals used to create metal gates, such as steel, wrought iron or aluminium, they offer great durability.
  • Metal can be easily shaped, meaning metal gates can be constructed in various ornate, decorative and elegant shapes. Depending on the metal you use, there are nearly endless possibilities to the shapes you can work your gates into.
  • Given the malleable nature of the metals used to make your gates, they can be shaped to cover much larger areas, making metals the perfect material to span large, double-sided driveway gates that don't conform to standard width.
  • Steel gates are especially hard-wearing and will only need minimal maintenance to keep them looking perfect.

Wooden Gates

  • There is nothing to match the natural charm and beautiful aesthetics of wooden gates. They can add a sense of character and a focal point to any outdoor space.
  • Suppose your home or property is located in a particularly rural environment. In that case, wooden gates will provide a more continuous aesthetic and classic look than metal gates' harsh lines and grey tones.
  • Timber gates offer greater customisation, with a range of stains, varnishes and finishes that you can apply to change their surface appearance however you wish.

Are you looking for Automatic Electric Gate Installation in Tyne and Wear? Find out more about our electric driveway gate services throughout Northumberland, Sunderland and Newcastle.