All things Gates!

Driveway Gates – which material is best?

Gate materials. Which one to choose! Metal/ wrought iron, wooden gates, softwood or hardwood gates or a mixture of both.

Looking for a new gate and stuck which gate material is best suited for you? Read below to help you decide whether you need a wooden gate, hardwood gate, metal gate or metal framed gate.

Privacy & Security

Obviously a close boarded wooden gate (in either hardwood or softwood) or a metal framed timber infill gate will be most suitable. Unless a steel panel (which we would see as ugly!) is placed behind a metal gate, metal gates offer very little privacy. As for security, any tall gate in any material will work well.

Gate Weights

We would advise you to ensure your pillars or posts are suitable to with-hold the weight of a set of gates. There have been incidents in the past (World wide) of people being seriously injured or killed by gates falling on top of them. If you are unsure, have your pillars inspected by a professional. As for the lightest type of gates, select either Cedar or Aluminium. Hardwood gates and metal framed infill gates can easily be in excess of a 100kg per side.

Gate Material for Electric Gates

If you would like your gates automated there are additional costs involved depending on a number of things. How windy does it get? Sounds silly but if you live in an open area or on top of a hill, having a close boarded gate may not be the right idea! The gate will act like a sail – this will prevent the automation kit from opening and closing unless you opt for a higher powered (and more expensive) system. If you are looking into metal gates, due to the open panel design an underground motor is usually selected. This reduces the appearance of the automation making it look more sleek. However, underground systems are more expensive to purchase (compared to above ground) and do take a lot more effort and cost to install. Basically, the driveway would have to be taken up in two areas to fit!

Gate Material for Maintenance

All gates require maintenance at least once a year for appearance and durability. The best gate material for the least effort would be metal/ wrought iron gates. Usually a simple touch up with paint (for knocks and chips) and a wash down is suffice. Wooden gates will require a stain or treatment at least once a year.  Depending on location, there maybe mould pores started to form on the timber. This has to be removed by sanding before re stain. Any knocks and bangs to be repaired using a matching filler, sanded, primed then stained. It is advised to use the same colour and brand.

Gate Material for Durability

All gates (if cared for properly) can last 20+ years. As a rule, this would be the expected years of life from highest to lowest.


Gates can act differently during the changing seasons or extreme conditions. This does not effect metal/ wrought iron gates making this material the best choice. It is NORMAL to experience the gate catching or see movement. As a gate manufacturer, we produce our gates to allow movement within without being visible but this is rare! Most gates will show movement and can cause some of the cladded boards to “pop” out. Unless extreme, most gates will move and retract naturally without the need for doing anything. By selecting adjustable gate hinges, if the gate does catch simply adjust to add more clearance. It’s an easy and quick fix – a lot better than having to remove the gates and re fit if you have standard hinges! If the cladding has popped, remove the gates and place indoors (a warm garage or greenhouse is perfect). Once the gate has had time to dry (approx 7 days), re screw the cladding and apply stain or treatment. Once dry, fit gates.


The cheapest gates would be softwood gates (usually in Redwood Pine) and some metal/ wrought iron gates. Hardwood would be next with metal framed timber infill generally the most expensive. Of course price always goes up depending on size, thickness of material and how much design is in the gate. For some, a cheap gate does the job, for others a gate will really enhance the kerb appeal.

Gate Material Conclusion

  • For privacy select a wooden gate or metal framed with timber infill.
  • For lower maintenance, metal/ wrought iron gates.
  • For cost – go for softwood gates or cheap metal gates.
  • For durability choose metal or wrought iron gates.
  • For privacy select a wooden gate or metal framed with timber infill.

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