Our Guide to Types of Metal Driveway Gates

An automatic driveway or estate gate is a fabulous addition to any property. It provides an extra layer of home security, enhances curb appeal, and increases overall property value.

When shopping for a new driveway gate, you typically start by choosing a material. Here’s what you should know about the various types of metal used for automatic gates to help you make the right choice for your property!

Metal Gate Materials

There are four types of materials are used to craft metal driveway gates:

  • Steel. An alloy of iron and carbon, steel is stronger than pure iron and more resistant to impact. Steel is the most heavy-duty option.
  • Aluminum. This metal is lightweight and malleable. It’s also entirely rust-proof. However, it’s less robust than steel.
  • Wrought iron. Iron that’s been heated and worked with tools is known as wrought iron. It’s more malleable than cast iron and therefore can be shaped into more intricate designs. Moreover, its fibrous appearance lends the metal a great deal of character.
  • Cast iron. Iron that’s been melted, poured into a mould, and left to solidify is known as cast iron. It’s a strong metal, but isn’t quite as heavy-duty as wrought iron, nor is it as ductile. In terms of appearance, it has a smoother finish than wrought iron.

wrought iron metal gate

Comparing the Different Metals

The four metals used for driveway gates each have their pros and cons. Here’s a look at how they stack up.

  • Strength and durability
    Steel is the strongest metal of the bunch and aluminum the least heavy-duty. This means that, in theory, a steel gate is best able to withstand abuse as well as the leverage forces associated with gate operation. Iron gates are only slightly less robust than steel gates.

    Although aluminum gates are the least heavy-duty, they’re far from being flimsy and most will hold up to anything you or Mother Nature throws its way. However, it should be noted that, unlike steel and iron gates, aluminum gates are usually not a single welded piece. Instead, the pickets are screwed in. They may, as a result, loosen over time and require adjustments. Fully-welded constructions are always more robust.
  • Maintenance
    All metal gates are low maintenance and require minimal upkeep by the user. Aluminum has the advantage of being a naturally rust-resistant material. However, iron and steel gates are finished with a powder coating to ensure that they don’t rust, peel, or fade.
  • Weight
    Aluminum fences are about 2.5 times lighter than steel and iron gates. This makes them less heavy-duty but, by the same token, they don’t require as much support. They can therefore be automated with a less powerful gate operator. Moreover, aluminum can be a practical choice for very large gates so that they can be opened and closed with greater ease.
  • Appearance
    Provided they’re well-made, metal gates are intrinsically elegant, whether they’re made of steel, iron, or aluminum. If you’re looking for a more ornate appearance, wrought iron is an ideal option. If simplicity is your thing, a flat-top steel, cast iron, or aluminum gate may be right for you.

cast iron decorative ornamental metal gate

Designs & Styles of Metal Gates

Metal gates generally have one of three designs:

  • Flat-top. This is the simplest gate style. The upper rail of a flat-top gate is completely straight, giving the gate a perfectly rectangular shape.

  • Arched-top. The upper rail of an arched-top gate forms a gradual, sweeping arch. This metal gate style has an elegant, traditional look and is ideal for double swing gates.
  • Arched-top with finials. This style of gate differs from the arched-top design in that the tops of the pickets (the finials) extend past the upper rail, providing a more ornamental finish.

While these are the three basic styles, there are many ways to further customize a gate. For example, you can choose the spacing between the pickets, decide the height at which the gate sits off the ground, and choose between a variety of ornamental designs for the pickets and finials.

automatic metal gate residential entrance

Gate Opening Action – Swing or Slide?

Swinging gates are the most popular choice. They have the advantage of requiring less space alongside the driveway than a sliding gate. Moreover, swing gates are the best match for a traditional arched-top gate design. Single and double swinging gates are available. Double swinging gates have a more traditional look and are ideal for larger openings, but they do require two gate operators. Single swinging gates are the better option for smaller openings.

A traditional slide gate glides along a track and stows alongside the fence. Trackless cantilever gates, which slide along post-mounted rollers, are also available. Another option is a telescopic, or stacker gate, which consists of two or more panels that stack on top of each other when the gate opens, allowing the gate to be compactly stowed.

Top-Quality Automatic Metal Gates in Western Canada

Creative Door Services™ provides custom residential gate systems throughout Western Canada. We source all types of metal driveway gates and provide reliable installation and maintenance services. To request a quote for a gate system, contact us at one of our locations in Vancouver, British Columbia; Kelowna, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Fort McMurray, Alberta; Calgary, Alberta; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Regina, Saskatchewan; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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