You’ve picked out your fence, but you have to have a way to get into your property. You’ve got one last decision to make before your fence is complete – the gate. Choosing the right fence gate can be tricky, but if you keep a few things in mind, you’ll make the right choice every time.
Here’s what you should keep in mind to ensure you aren’t hit with some buyer’s remorse after installing your new gate. Make sure you follow these tips, and then you can sit back and enjoy the final result.
Before You Choose Your Gate
Before you can think about the types of gates, you need to consider a few preliminary details. Make these decisions and take these actions before you begin the process of choosing fence gates.
Check With Your HOA
Before you do anything, check with your local governing body if you live in an area like that. Nothing ruins your plans quicker than getting a resounding now after you’ve chosen your fence. Now is the time to get parameters and prevent a world of disappointment. They may have a standard fence gate size.
Figure Out Your Power
You may decide to go with a manual gate, but just in case you fall in love with something fancy, it’s helpful to know where your power will come from. Inspect your property and figure out if you have a power source, and if not, where you’ll get one. While you’re handling this, you can also evaluate the type of space you have to determine the best type of gate opening.
Read Up on Your Options
Do you want a remote control option? Security features? Electronic key codes? You’ll want to know what’s possible before you just buy the first thing you see at your local big-box stores. This includes types of gates and styles that match your home.
During Your Decision Process
After you’ve done your preliminary research, it’s time to start picking out your fence gate. There are quite a few things to consider in your decision, but going through your options helps narrow down what you really want.
Type of Gate
Gates come in quite a few types, but deciding the right type is critical. While the material of your gate will depend a lot on the fencing material (i.e., vinyl fencing has a vinyl fence gate), there are styles of gates you can choose, too. A wooden fence will probably have a wooden gate, for example, or a complementary material like metal. Aside from that, here are a few types.
- Standard gate – A standard gate matches your fence entirely. It’s usually the same material and the same height so that it blends in.
- Ornamental gate – a much fancier option, this style has some type of ornate design that really stands out. Some are even custom to include things like your initials or crest.
- Specialty gates – Specialty gates serve a distinct purpose. They provide space-saving features, for example, if you don’t have room to swing a gate. They go over a larger driveway or help provide security in a specialized fashion. Often, they’re specifically made for your unique situation and to your specifications.
- Security gates – these sometimes fall under the specialty or ornamental category, but they offer an extra layer of security for your property. They’re often powered and provide keypads, electronic locks, or video access in some cases.
- Hidden gates – Hidden gates blend into the fence itself, giving your house the impression of an impenetrable fortress. These gates are helpful if you live in a high traffic area, especially foot traffic.
- Double gates – If your fence goes across your driveway, you may need a double gate to make the best use of the space. These will require a lot of bracing and could be a lot to maintain in the future because of their size and weight. They’ll need a mechanism to prevent gaps from developing and something that allows you to open the sides independently if necessary.
Type of Opening
Depending on your space, you may decide to use a different type of gate opening. Not all gates have to swing open, and that can be inconvenient for some areas.
- Swing gates – the typical gate style is on a hinge and diagonally reinforced to prevent sagging. Most secure with a latch and come in a variety of materials.
- Cantilever gates – Cantilever gates slide open rather than swing and provide access when you don’t have space for a swinging gate. They use a counterbalanced system and free float off the driveway or entrance. These are good for areas that see a lot of debris or snow.
- Rolling gates – Rolling gates also slide rather than swing open, but use wheels on a track embedded in the ground for support. These have a small footprint and are suitable for wider spaces where your gate will need a lot of support.
Features and Specialties
If you only want a standard fence gate size, you’ll need to decide how you’ll latch it. Other options include security features like keypads or automatic openers. You’ll need to find power sources and ensure that your gate is fully supported before you choose.
Your installer can also help you with special security features and any loose ends you need for your gate. These final touches can happen in the planning process so that the installation goes as smoothly as possible.
There are a few other things you should consider as you choose your perfect gate. Round out your decision with these considerations whether you choose a standard fence gate size or something custom.
You may be dreaming about a custom wrought iron gate that towers above your fence, but your budget may allow for something more modest. Building your gate into your overall fence cost or deciding on your comfortable budget before you get your heart set on your gate. A budget can help narrow down your choices so that the decision process is manageable.
If you have it in your budget, spending the right amount on a quality gate can help finish off your project in style. The gate will see a lot of action throughout the life of your fence and will need enough reinforcement to ensure that it stands the test of time.
If you live in an area with lots of snowfall, a rolling gate may not be your best bet because snow will block the tracks. If you have a very short entrance and a hill, a swinging gate may not open wide enough.
If you live in an area with high foot traffic, you may need something more than a standard gate while living out in the peace and quiet could mean a simpler gate structure. Your environment can help you determine the best type of gate for your situation, so take a good look at what you’re working with.
The last thing you want is something super high maintenance, so consider how much it will cost you and how much effort it will take to maintain your gate. A super-high security gate with lots of bells and whistles is convenient, but there’s a lot more that can go wrong. A wooden gate in an area of high humidity may not last long.
Consider the overall cost of the gate and the toll it will take on your time to keep it in top shape so that you don’t overextend yourself now and in the future. Your perfect gate blends functionality with practical and realistic maintenance.
Even if you install a gate with security features, there may be times when you need to override those features. If you have an emergency and can’t get out of your gate, you’ll want a fail-safe for your gate. A key box is one solution, and a sensor is another.
Municipal services will also need access. In many areas, a master key will work, but check with your local authorities to find out what you can do in your area. They’ll give you directions for things like utility access.
Finally, you don’t want to enter a code or swipe a card when you leave. Many gates have a free exit feature that senses a car and allows passage automatically. That way, you won’t have to get out of your car just to open the gate when you leave your property.
Installing Your Gate
Once you’ve decided on your gate, it’s time to install it. Make sure you’ve gotten everything in order so that you don’t regret your installation. Once you’ve gotten your budget and done your homework, choosing your gate should be a lot more straightforward. Pick your materials, for example, wrought iron fence gates, and move forward.
A professional installation can ensure that everything is done the first time correctly and allow you to enjoy your fence without worrying that you’ve installed it correctly. With specialty and security fences, the advice and experience of professionals can be very helpful.
Choosing fence gates is something that can really elevate your property and give you a sense of security. Once you’ve gone through all the steps, you can choose the right gate for your fence and finish off your project in style.