5 Things to Look for When Buying a Wrought Iron, Steel or Aluminum Driveway Gate. How do you find a good, quality driveway gate at a fair price? Today, I wanted to go over 5 key things you should look for when buying an iron, steel or aluminum driveway gate to help make you a more educated shopper.
1 - The Gate Frame
One of the most overlooked, but important items when shopping for a driveway gate is this u-frame that goes along the bottom and up the sides of each gate leaf. A quality gate must have a u-frame to prevent sagging over time. Many of our competitors utilize what is referred to as an open bottom frame design where only these two side supports are present. This makes for a very weak frame. Any driveway gate that requires a horizontal brace going diagonally from the bottom to the top corner is a prime example of a more cheaply designed gate that will likely suffer from sagging issues over the years.
2 - Gate Construction
Our Stronghold Iron and Infinity Aluminum both come fully welded. The pickets, our mitered u-frame, the frame caps, rails and our solid finials are all welded together. What you want to avoid is a gate that is bolted or screwed together. While this makes for easier shipping and a lower price point, you are sacrificing quality and long-term performance.
Another quality construction item to look for is punched horizontal rails that allow the single piece pickets to be fed through and welded from underneath. The picket runs the full height of the gate from frame to the finial tip. Some gate manufacturers will utilize what’s referred to as a layover style where the pickets are laid on a piece of flat bar and welded on one side. This makes for one nice ‘face’ on the gate and one ‘ugly’ face on the gate. Its also a weaker construction technique that is inferior to having a one-piece picket fed through the rail punches and welded solid.
3 - Gate Component Size and Thicknesses
Thickness of materials is another area where gate makers can cut corners to offer a lower price. While you pay less for the gate, you end up with weaker materials that will not hold up to the test of time. Be sure to check the specifications of your gate to see what size and thickness of components your gate is utilizing.
Our Stronghold Iron gates have a heavy-duty 2”x2” 11ga thick steel frame with ¾” square 16ga pickets that are all welded together in a single piece. Our Infinity Aluminum gates features a 2” x 2” frame in a 0.125” wall thickness with ¾” pickets in a fully welded construction. We build our gates to withstand a lot of abuse.
4 - Gate Finish
What kind of finish does the gate have? Every gate looks nice an pretty when its brand new, but how is it going to look after 5-10 years of being out in the elements?
Look for a quality powder coat finish rather than paint. Painted gates are typically not properly treated and often degrade quickly. Powder coating is a much stronger and more durable coating, but you also have to make sure it’s a quality powder coating that is properly applied. Our Stronghold Iron and Infinity Aluminum gates utilize a high-quality TGIC powder coating with UV fade inhibitors. That TGIC powder coat resists cracking, spider webbing and peeling while also keeping your gate black with the UV sun protection.
Lastly, if you are looking for an iron and steel gate, be sure that the metal has an additional layer of rust protection under the powder coating. We hot dip galvanize all of our Stronghold Iron gates in addition to the 4-stage wash and preparation process to give it an extremely durable and rust-free finish.
5- Gate Versatility
While pre-drilled gates sound great for installation, they can present issues when the final installation comes into focus. We ship our gates blank. This means that you will be able to choose how your gate is mounted, which way it will swing and how much of a gap will be present between the gate and the driveway. These don’t sound like special features, but pre-drilled gates and posts take a lot of options out of your hands.
Not sure if you want your driveway gate to be manually or automatically opened? Not a problem. Our gates can be used in manual operation or with an automatic opener. You can even start out with the gate manually operated and convert it to an automated system down the line.
I hope this video has helped educate you on what to look for in a quality driveway gate. There are a lot of options out there and we want you to know that the Stronghold Iron or Infinity Aluminum gate we sell are the highest quality options available at a reasonable price.
Iron Fence Shop®
800-261-2729 Toll Free
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