Gate Hardware 101: The Many Types of Gates

June 23, 2021

Gate Hardware 101: The Many Types of Gates

No matter where you go, it’s unlikely you’ll get very far without running into a gate. From stately, ornamental gates that welcome us into our neighborhoods and homes, to those that protect our properties and businesses, gates can offer a unique blend of beauty and functionality. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look into the different types of gates and gate hardware that you’re likely to encounter.  

First, let’s outline the four main categories of gates:

Common types of gates

Residential gates
These are your standard gates that you see surrounding homes, pools and gardens. Oftentimes, functionality and practicality are mixed with a particular design to match the ‘look’ of the property.

Commercial gates
Places like schools, childcare centers, playgrounds and vacation resorts are often protected by commercial gates.

Industrial gates
In places that need extra durability and security, like factory complexes, manufacturing plants and airports, you’ll find industrial-grade gates.

Farm and rural gates
Like industrial gates, farm gates are heavy-duty, and provide an extra level of durability in harsh weather conditions.

A basic gate has 3 parts

No matter what type of material it’s made from, all gates are composed of three distinct parts. Each of these elements work together to create a functional, durable piece of hardware.

The frame
The frame is where the gate gets its structural support, and is where you’ll see people get creative with customization. These can be made from a variety of different materials, including: wood, metal, aluminum and vinyl.

The infills
When you picture a privacy gate you probably imagine tall, wooden or wrought iron infills. These pickets or panels fill in the gate frame and can be crafted from perforated, stamped or solid materials.

Gate hardware
Last but certainly not least we have the actual gate hardware itself. This category encompasses everything from the gate latches, gate hinges, gate stops, gate handles, drop-bolts and more. Ultimately the hardware is one of the most important parts of your gate, and can determine both its durability and functionality. We like to say that “inferior gate hardware is the Achilles’ heel to any fence hardware system”, so the higher quality hardware you can install, the better off you’ll be in the long run in terms of your gate closing, latching and functioning as expected.

Which gate material should you choose?

At the end of the day, the type of gate you should specify depends on your style, application, and project budget. Just like there’s a great gate design for every need, there’s also a gate latch, gate hinges and other accessories to match each fencing material and application.

If you’re wondering which material would best suit your next project, we’ve compiled the most common types that you’ll run into, along with their typical applications and advantages/disadvantages.

Steel gates
These strong, heavy gates are often welded with a dominant outer frame with smaller pickets or baluster infills. If you go the custom route you can also get some elegant, stamped or wire-cut panels depending on your vision.

While steel gates are quite strong, they are also prone to rusting, and must be protected with galvanizing or powder coating. Additionally, they tend to wear at pivot points faster than other types of gates. If you go the steel route, you’ll want to make sure you’re installing a gate latch and hinges that are strong enough to bear the weight of the heavy steel gates.

Aluminum gates
This type of material is popular because it’s light, easy to fabricate and is resistant to corrosion and other environmental damage. Aluminum gates are assembled with either fasteners or are welded, and are typically powder coated in a variety of different colors.

Most often seen around homes, swimming pools and schools, aluminum gates are strong and reliable enough to withstand daily usage, with higher quality builds having thicker wall sections that offer even more durability.

Wood gates
Beautiful and natural, hardwood and softwood gates are often chosen by homeowners due to their aesthetic appeal, visual privacy and lower cost when compared to other gate materials. These gates can be left in their natural state, or can be painted or stained to create a barrier against the elements.

You’ll often see a variety of construction methods with wooden gates, from being nailed or glued to dowelled. Oftentimes, since these gates are quite large, they require welded metal frames to keep them structurally sound.

Vinyl or PVC gates
First introduced in the 1980s as a low-cost solution for thoroughbred horse enclosures, vinyl fencing is now commonly used in residential areas as well as on farms and racecourses.

Easy to clean and very low maintenance, vinyl gates are reliable and weather resistant. If you’re looking for more durability, adding a UV stabilizer can help.  They also come in a variety of color options, and never have to be painted, sealed or coated.

Chain Link gates
Chain link fences are very common, with typical applications being schoolyards, sports areas, factories and as temporary fencing. Although it’s one of the least visually appealing of the bunch, it more than makes up for it with low maintenance and the ability to go as high as you need.

Framing is usually round posts and cross members. In terms of latches and gate hinges, they can be welded on, through-bolted or clamped on.

Glass gates
A stunning, modern solution for swimming pools, homes and apartments, glass gates provide an unobstructed view of your surroundings.

While they do have a strong visual appeal, they are also inherently heavy, and require specialized gate hardware and installation techniques to be as effective as safety gates. One of the advantages of glass gates is that their smooth panels make it difficult to climb. However, a glass gate can act as a “sail” when the wind picks up, making strong hinges and latches critically important for safety.

D&D Technologies Gate hardware

The installation of a new gate is an important decision, regardless of it being for residential, industrial, commercial or child safety applications. In general, gate latches and hinges make up just 1% of the total cost of a fencing installation…but it makes the other 99% function effectively.

For over 30 years, D&D Technologies has been developing gate-closing systems you can trust, with state-of-the art manufacturing, quality testing, and most importantly, products backed by a guarantee to always perform to their intended use. D&D Technologies now has over 300 Hi-Performance Gate Hardware Solutions for every application!