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Guide to Driveway Gate Materials

black wood driveway gate with stone apron

When it comes to choosing the best material for a residential driveway gate, there are several key elements to consider:

  • Primary functions (style, privacy, security)
  • Desired maintenance frequency
  • Design options
  • Cost

Woodenmetal (which includes wrought iron, bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum), and composite driveway gates have unique features that will help determine your decision on which material is the best for your entrance gate.

Wooden Driveway Gates

Weathered wooden driveway gate

Wooden driveway gate designs run the gamut from simple post-and-rail ranch styles to solid-front designs that offer maximum privacy. Tri State Gate starts with a heavy-duty steel core, which is then wrapped in either select grade clear western red cedar or mahogany.

Primary functions: Privacy, security
Wooden driveway gates are best suited for homeowners wanting more privacy than an iron gate can offer. It’s also the preferred choice for farm properties needing to keep wildlife out, and/or to secure ranch animals and equipment.

Maintenance frequency: Medium
Wood must be re-stained or painted every 5-7 years. Both cedar and mahogany are naturally pest and rot resistant. All gates should be serviced bi-annually (typically in fall and spring).

Design options: Many styles, limited variation
By nature, wood has fewer design options than wrought iron. Typical styles are traditional farmhouse or ranch gates, modern farmhousetrellis, and post-and-rail designs.

Cost: Higher overall, but fewer cost variations
Our wooden driveway gates are essentially two gates in one (steel core, wood wrap), so they have a higher overall cost. However, fewer design options means less variation in cost.

Metal Driveway Gates

Metal driveway gate with planters

Metal has been used for centuries for all types of entry gates around the world. There’s no end to design options for metal, which includes wrought iron, bronze, aluminum, and stainless steel. We recommend wrought iron for residential gates for longevity, strength, and security. Use it alone or combine metal with wood for a totally unique design.

Primary function: Curb appeal
With an iron entrance gate, you can see through to the property beyond. Therefore, residential wrought-iron gates are generally used for style rather than privacy.

Maintenance frequency: Medium
To prevent rust and repair chipping, iron gates should be repainted every 5-7 years (or as needed). All gates should be serviced bi-annually (typically in fall and spring).

Design options: The sky’s the limit
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to wrought-iron driveway gate designs. We’ve installed everything from ultra-modern iron gates to highly ornate classic styles to completely custom ornamental gates.

Cost: Wide variation
Iron gates have a greater price variation. A simple iron gate for a residential driveway is surprisingly affordable and pays for itself with a boost in curb appeal. Custom, ornamental, and intricate designs will be more costly. Prefabricated metal gates can help keep costs down, but will offer limited design choices and are not as strong as wrought iron.

Composite Driveway Gates

Painted composite solid front driveway gate

Composite materials offer the beauty of wood without the upkeep. Our composite gates start with a heavy-duty steel core wrapped in a lightweight, yet durable, PVC material.

Primary function: Privacy, security
Composite gates offer a balance between beauty and privacy with a look that is almost identical to wooden gates.

Maintenance frequency: Low
The appeal of a composite gate is that it requires almost no upkeep aside from the recommended biannual maintenance and repainting every 5-7 years. The PVC material doesn’t rot, weather, crack, or harbor pests.

Design options: Similar to wooden gates
A composite gate can have almost all of the same designs that are available in a wooden gate. Composite doesn’t have the natural grain and porousness of wood, so it cannot be stained. However, it can be painted in just about any outdoor-weather paint.

Cost: Higher up-front, pays off in the long-run
You’ll pay more for a composite driveway gate, but the upfront cost pays for itself in limited upkeep over the life of the gate.

Contact us if you still have questions. We’re happy to help and we offer free on-site consultations and estimates.