There’s no question that humans have been using wrought iron for many decades – ever since we as a species learned how to obtain the material, manipulate it, and fashion various objects out of it. It didn’t take long for people to notice how durable said objects were, and that still holds true today. Wrought iron gates and fences, in particular, aren’t just durable. They also provide a high degree of security for whatever property they’re protecting.
So if you’ve decided to have iron gates and fences installed around your home or commercial building – great! You’re that much closer to making your property more secure and improving its appearance. There are a few more things you need to consider, however. So we’ve put together a guide to help you with all of that.
Space and How the Gate Opens
This is one of the first things you’ll need to think about. Not only do you want to make sure you don’t accidentally encroach on a neighbor’s property, but you’ll also want to choose the right iron gate for your space. Whether you’re getting a swing gate, a double panel swing, or a slide gate will depend on how much room there’ll be.
Once you know that, someone from your chosen gate installation company can suggest which kind of gate to pick.
And if you had your heart set on a custom design for your gate, don’t worry. A professional who specializes in custom iron gates can help ensure how the gate opens won’t have too big an impact on your choice of design.
All About Gate Posts
When it comes to gate posts, both wooden and concrete posts have their advantages and disadvantages. If you happen to be on the fence (no pun intended) about which one to pick, here’s a quick look at their pros and cons to help you decide.
- Pros: Concrete doesn’t rot and isn’t prone to being attacked by insects, making it highly durable with a long life lifespan. This makes it the perfect choice for homeowners who don’t want to pay every year or so for a replacement. They’re also quite strong, being able to resist damage from outside elements and coming through bad weather practically unscathed even when exposed.
Finally, with concrete being relatively resistant to mold and rot, concrete posts are easy to maintain, requiring just regular cleaning to get rid of any dirt on the surface.
- Cons: Unfortunately, concrete posts can chip or crack, and therein lies what is perhaps one of their biggest drawbacks. Once there’s a crack, water can get inside, traveling within the post and maybe even reaching the metal wires that reinforce these posts. This will weaken the post over time, eventually compromising its integrity.
Another drawback to concrete posts is that they’re quite expensive when compared to their wooden counterparts. This is because of the materials and manpower needed to install the posts. To give you a better idea, a concrete post weighs over 40kg, on average, so more than one person is needed to install it, increasing the cost of labor.
- Pros: Wooden posts don’t usually chip or crack, and wood by itself is already a pretty sturdy material. If specially treated to repel rot and insects, not to mention dried to reduce the moisture content and preserved in some way, a wooden post will have a lifespan to rival that of a concrete post. Also, because wooden posts are generally lighter than their concrete counterparts, they won’t take as many people to install. This ease of installment means wooden posts aren’t as expensive.
Finally, if you’re trying to do your part in preserving the Earth’s resources, then choosing wooden posts over concrete ones is a step in the right direction. You can look for wooden posts that have been certified as harvested by sustainable means.
- Cons: As hinted at earlier, wood can be prone to rotting and being attacked by insects, which can compromise the integrity of the post and therefore that of the fence or iron gate. If the wood is weakened in some way, it won’t be able to keep a ‘hold’ on the gate, which will affect your property.
In addition, wooden posts don’t always stand up to Mother Nature as well as concrete posts do, even when specially treated. This means that what you save on installation will possibly go to repairs and replacements somewhere along the line.
Regardless of which type of post you choose, you need to know how deeply they have to be buried to make sure your iron gate is as sturdy as possible. The posts supporting the gate itself are usually longer than those holding up the rest of the fence, even if the posts all look to be the same length above-ground. You can also have the posts set in concrete to provide extra stability.
As a rule of thumb, professionals suggest that gate posts should be set into the ground at a depth equal to a third of their height. For instance, if you want the posts to be six feet high, this guideline means they should be buried up to 3 feet deep.
Before you have your gate installed, be sure to check with your neighborhood or building codes to make sure your choice of gate doesn’t violate anything. Then contact your local utility company so they can come over and mark where the gas and electric lines are. This is to keep anyone from accidentally cutting or breaking those lines, which will lead to delays – and additional expenses! – while repairs are done.
There are a few more things to consider, such as the finish used for your iron gate and how it should be opened (via pin pad, a remote, etc). But as long as you keep the above in mind, you should be well on your way to having the gate of your dreams installed. If you have any questions about gate installation, don’t be afraid to get in contact with a professional gate installation company to help give you more insight.