Deciding between Iron Gates and Wood Gates is big an area of indecision for most people looking to get a new gate for their home. When people call to ask us about the work that we do, we often hear the question "Whats the difference between your iron gates and a wood gate?" Now, this is a very complicated question because there are many pros and cons to each. After thinking about it over the years though, we wanted to finally create an article that will hopefully answer some of your questions and help you to make a decision on what type of gate would be best for your home.
To do this, we broke it down into 4 main factors that we believe are the most important for a front yard, backyard, driveway or other kinds of gate for your home. These factors are Customizability, Security, Longevity, and Maintenance. Customizability is how many different variables you have to work with to make the design of your gate as unique to you as possible. Security is how resistant it is to damage and outside elements, as well as its ability to thwart attempts by outside intruders to break in or sneak through. Longevity is how long an average gate will last before you have to replace it. And, lastly, maintenance is how often you have to personally and/or pay someone to work on your gate such as polishing it, sealing it, repairing damage, etc.. We will dive into each one of these factors below:
Iron Gates: Iron is a sturdy yet very malleable metal when heated. It is for this reason that many ornamental iron companies, like ourselves, choose it over aluminum and steel (blog post about that here). With iron, you can create many different designs from the post caps to the size and differentiation of posts, ballisters, scrolls, floral elements, and other elements of the design to make it fit almost every aspect of your home. The main issues with iron gates is that they can be very heavy due to the metal, as well as often having gaps in the gate due to iron rods being used as the overall structure. This does have a limitation in regards to not providing as much of a solid look that some are going for, although your gate can be made to look more solid depending on your needs.
Wood Gates: With wood gates, you can achieve the more complete design where you don't have gaps between wooden panels. Additionally, you can use design elements to finish the outside and add beautiful curvature and flow to the design of your gate. However, these gates can often block the beauty of your home and not as many of the overall design elements show through due to the foundation of the design being the wooden planks and therefore many of the design elements have to go on the outside or be implemented into the structure as more work has to go into making sure the gate is sturdy and enforced.
Iron Gates: Iron is a very strong metal and can withstand a lot of force. This is obviously dependant on how thick the iron bars are for your specific gate, but it is overall very well known for being able to withstand a lot of trauma because it is both strong, and somewhat malleable so it will bend rather than break, making it all the more secure. Additionally, many iron gates are finished with sharp edges on top or post caps that are less than friendly to anyone trying to hop over the gate, which is a deterrent to any potential intruders. The main downsides in regards to security for an iron gate is that again, there are usually spaces between the iron bars that are used, so if someone were small enough, they could squeeze through, but you can take our word for it, they would have to be very small.
Wood Gates: Wood gates also provide great security for your home. They are sturdy, reinforced, and when they use high-quality wood, these gates are extremely secure. Wood of this quality is very hard to break and therefore these gates could endure a good amount of force as well as be a daunting task if anyone were to attempt to intrude. The downsides are that, first, they aren't often topped with anything sharp, so if someone were to try and climb the gate, the hardest part would be just that, climbing it. Additionally, although these gates can withstand a lot of a farce, wood can splinter and break when hit hard enough, so depending on what you're protecting your house from (say a car) your fence could break.
Iron Gates: With an iron gate, once it is installed and if it has been powder coated or painted properly, you shouldn't have to replace it for decades. If you're in the process of creating your will when you get an iron gate, make sure to add it as it will most likely be around longer than you are (yes even you 23-year-olds). The only real issues that can be found in regards to the longevity of the gate are damage from trauma like if you back into it with your truck or rust which can occur depending on where you live and what elements the iron is subjected to., however, this can usually be fixed with small repairs.
Wood Gates: Wood gates can also last a very long time if they are sealed correctly and well reinforced. If your gate is indeed well sealed and reinforced, it can also last you a couple decades and still look beautiful. The downsides are that wood is a bit more susceptible to damage and the elements than iron. It can get wood rot, readily be dented or scratched and will wear over time. So instead of your truck, your teenager can hit it with the Prius you gave them and still cause some damage that can lead to problems down the line ultimately causing you to have to get it replaced. Additionally, it is harder to make small repairs if it gets any damage as an entire wooden plank would have to be taken out and replaced to maintain the same look.
Iron Gates: Lastly, the maintenance on iron gates is pretty straightforward. If you have any rust damage, a crew (usually from the company that installed it) will come out to repair it either by taking out a section, repainting it or addressing any other issue you may have. The good part about the repairs on an iron gate is that you can take pieces off without having to disassemble the whole gate, making it a bit easier to make repairs. The downside of iron repairs is that they can be expensive, as it can often take a couple days just to fix some rust. However, it should be many years or even a few decades before you ever see rust or damage to your iron gate.
Wood Gates: Maintenence on wood gates is pretty similar to iron. If there is damage to the gate, a team will have to come out and repair whatever aspect of the fence that needs to be fixed. The most common repairs are sagging hinges and rotting wood panels. The hinges are pretty easy as the team will just replace the hinges, however, panels usually require a bit of disassembly to get to. The positive here compared to iron is that repairs usually aren't as expensive, as it takes less time, fewer people and can almost always be done on site. However, the downside is that it is more likely to happen. Wood rot is very common for wooden gates as it can be difficult to seal every nook and cranny. So, it is more likely that you will have to do some form of maintenance, refinishing, fixing those hinges or replacing a panel either yourself or with a company, but it will be cheaper than an instance where you have to fix an expect of an iron gate.
Ultimately, I’m sure you know which one we chose because we are an ornamental iron company, however, we want you to choose what would work best for you. Both types of gates would make a great addition to your home and have many different pros and cons, and I’m sure you will pick the very best option for your home. I hope that this post has helped you move further towards the decision on what type of new gate for your home. If you have decided that you are wanting an iron gate for your home, give us a call to get a free estimate! We would love to hear from you!