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Driveway gates

Tips For Designing Durable Driveway Gates

by admin on October 11, 2010

Tips For Designing Durable Driveway Gates

By Andre Kibbe

When you think about it, driveway gates are very unnatural constructions. Swing gates, for instance, are heavy panels that have to extend several feet beyond their supporting hinges. They’re often mounted on less than level ground. They have to contend with ground that expands or contracts between seasonal climate changes. They may have to withstand heavy winds, and their fencing material needs to survive rain. Finally, they need to open and close reliably after the repeat stress of constant opening and closing.

If your fence is situated on a slope, forget about swing gating. You’ll definitely want to use a sliding gate that runs parallel to the fence. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to add a pedestrian gate next to it, but you also won’t have to deal the the eventual misalignment issues that result from repeated swinging on a slope. If your gate is exceptionally wide – greater than 14 feet – you may need to use reinforce your stone pillars with rebar-augmented concrete foundation poured between them to eliminate any eventual misalignment due to expanding and contracting ground conditions.

Post construction is critical, and should have a core of cement block regardless of the exterior. The post caps of natural stone are recommended, since they retain a natural look after weathering, unlike precast concrete, which tends to look deteriorated over time. For the same reasons, natural stone is also the preferred choice for the rest of the post. A cheaper alternative is stucco, which can be repainted over time to retain a fresh look. Cultured stone, which can be removed and replaced with another material if desired, is yet another alternative.

The size and weight of your gates need to be considered when choosing the material used for your latches and locks. Cast aluminum latches bend easily over repeated openings and closings, and will eventually warp to the extent that they won’t shut. This problem is compounded by wood gating, which warps and expands under extreme temperature changes and rain saturation. Metal gates made with wrought iron or hot-dipped galvanized still offer the best long term protection against inclement weather.

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