Driveway Gates – The Essential Guide

The driveway gate, the entrance to your property and home – we often think of them as just a necessary fixture of our driveway, a humble continuation of the garden wall or fence and simply a point of access and exit. We forget that they can improve the visual appeal of a property by adding style and charm. The gate is often the first thing visitors see when they visit or pass your property and its appearance can reflect what lies beyond by giving a good or bad first impression.

Which driveway gate should I choose?

Choosing a driveway gate greatly depends on the style and its intended purpose. A simple timber gate that blends in seamlessly with the fence or wall provides a traditional look and feel. Alternatively, a solid timber clad or wrought iron gate can offer a greater level of privacy and security for your home.

Automated or manual

If you want to go that little bit further you may consider an automated gate. No more hassle of getting in and out of the car on a wet day, and the benefit of the gate always being closed when the driveway is not in use. Electric gates can be a great addition to your property by deterring unwanted visitors, but make sure you get them installed by a professional gate engineer. There are many options to choose from depending on your driveway access and slope.

Types of gate

Fundamentally, driveway gates tend to be made from two materials, wood or metal. Metal gates come in a variety of styles and shapes and are manufactured in steel or aluminium. Steel gates traditionally tend to be more ornate in nature where aluminium gates can provide the look and feel of a traditional timber clad gate but at a fraction of the weight and without the hassle of annual timber maintenance.

Gate care and maintenance

Once you’ve invested in the ideal gate for your driveway, you now need to ensure that your gate is given the best protection to keep it looking as good as new, for as long as possible.

Almost all new wooden driveway gates are pre-treated to protect the timber against wood rot and bug attack, but these treatments don’t provide all-round protection against the weather. Weather erosion and the suns UV rays will degrade the effectiveness of these treatments over time.

If you are looking for a natural look, you may want to overcoat any preservative treatment with a clear exterior wood oil or decking oil. These products contain a blend of oils, waxes and resins that penetrate the wood deep down to provide excellent protection against water access. A number of these products contain UV filters which help to retain the natural colour of the timber for longer, delaying the onset of weathering.

Painting your driveway gate

If you plan to paint your gate, it’s important to ensure that any wood preservative used beforehand is free from wax, oil and silicon. Most external paints are water based and any pre-treatment that contains wax or oil will prevent the paint from adhering to the wood. Always invest in a quality paint, it can save you time and money in the long run.

Wood Stains

Using an exterior wood stain on your driveway gate is a terrific way of retaining the natural grain of the timber. A light-coloured softwood gate can be stained and sealed to give the colour appearance of Teak, Mahogany or Walnut.

Why oil timber gates?

As with any other garden wood such as benches, sheds and fencing, it’s always a good idea to oil the wood as part of an annual garden maintenance routine. Wood oils penetrate in to the wood grain to replace the natural oils lost over time. This keeps the wood nourished and flexible, helping to prevent or reduce cracking and splitting. In addition, many exterior wood oils and decking oils contain UV filters that help to protect the timber from the bleaching effect of the sun.