To enhance your security, improve privacy and also complement the external appearance of your home, you should definitely consider installing a driveway gate. There are so many styles and varieties of driveway gates to choose from, which means no matter what your needs or preferences are, you’re bound to find something that fits your home perfectly.
However, buying your first driveway gate can be quite overwhelming. Faced with so many types of materials, opening mechanisms, manual vs automatic gates and additional security features, how can you know what to choose? If you’re in this position, just keep on reading to discover our in-depth guide to buying your first driveway gate.
Your new driveway gate will be the first thing that people see when they visit your home, so think about what will make the best impression on your guests. Would you prefer something that complements the existing style of your home to create a sense of harmony, or do you want to make a statement with a bold, elegant gate that wows your visitors?
Your driveway gate can make or break your home’s kerb appeal, so bear in mind that it can actually increase (or decrease) the value of your home depending on the choice you make. Before you choose, it’s a good idea to look at some style inspiration online to see what type of gate you might like – this could include ornate gates, modern gates, rustic gates and much more. Check out these 8 styles of driveway gates to take inspiration from.
Not only will the style of your driveway gate be largely influenced by the material it’s made from, but the material can also have a huge impact on the amount of privacy and security offered. Plus, different materials will require different gate maintenance routines, so you need to consider this before installation.
There are many types of driveway gate materials to choose from, but the most popular options include wood, metal and composite materials due to their sturdiness, security and classic appearance. Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of these popular materials:
Metal driveway gates
Metal driveway gates, including steel driveway gates and aluminium driveway gates, are a timeless gate choice that effortlessly complements most homes. Metal gates can be fashioned into a wide variety of styles due to their versatility, from ornate double driveway gates with elegant embellishments to simple single driveway gates that will never go out of style.
Metal driveway gates are incredibly sturdy and robust, but they do need fairly regular maintenance to prevent rust (unless you choose aluminium driveway gates, which are rust-resistant). This will involve cleaning and repainting the gate to maintain its appearance, and also lubricating the hinges to ensure the gate continues to open smoothly. In addition, metal driveway gates don’t offer as much privacy as other types of driveway gates, but the benefit of this is that they let in plenty of light.
Wooden driveway gates
Another timeless option is the wooden driveway gate. Like metal gates, wooden driveway gates are very traditional and sturdy, which makes them a perfect fit for most homes. Plus, wooden gates are more eco-friendly, rustic and customisable – you can choose a closed boarded gate for total privacy, or you can opt for a more open and inviting style that lets light in.
Unfortunately, wooden driveway gates are more high-maintenance. To prevent rot and decay, you need to regularly clean, sand, lubricate and paint the wood to seal and protect it.
Composite driveway gates
Love the idea of a wooden driveway gate but want something more durable? Composite driveway gates could be perfect for you.
Composite driveway gates are made of a variety of materials, such as wood fibres, polymers and binding agents. This gives them extra strength, longevity and durability while still looking like a typical wooden gate. Composite gates also require much less maintenance than wooden gates, so they’re a great alternative if you don’t have much time to spend on garden maintenance.
Since they also feature a closed boarded design, composite driveway gates offer plenty of privacy and security too. However, all of these great benefits come at a price, as composite gates tend to be more expensive than other varieties.
Next, you need to consider the opening mechanism of your driveway gate. Your final choice will depend on your budget, style preferences and the amount of space available on your driveway, so let’s have a look at the options:
The simplest and cheapest option is a driveway gate that swings open. This creates a classic, elegant appearance, but you need plenty of space in your driveway for the gates to open fully. The space requirements can prevent a lot of people from being able to install swinging driveway gates.
Sliding driveway gate
If you’re struggling for space, your best bet is to choose sliding driveway gates. Instead of swinging inwards, which could be a problem for your car if you have a short driveway, these gates will slide along a track in the ground when pushed. You’ll need space to the sides of your gate for it to move into when opened, but overall, you’ll save a lot of space with a sliding driveway gate. However, this type of gate tends to be more expensive because there are more parts.
Another space-saving option is the bi-folding driveway gate. These gates feature a double-hinged system to allow each leaf to fold back onto itself, which means the gate is tucked to the side when open. Again, since there are more parts with this type of driveway gate, it’s usually more expensive to install.
Single vs double driveway gate
When considering the amount of space available on your driveway, you may also have to make a decision between single and double driveway gates. Single driveway gates have only one leaf that attaches to one pillar, whereas double driveway gates feature two leaves that meet in the middle and are attached to pillars on either side.
Single driveway gates obviously have a smaller swinging radius and take up less space on your driveway, so they’re a great space-saving option. These gates are also cheaper, but they’re usually not as aesthetically pleasing. Plus, they put more strain on the single pillar or fence to the side.
Double driveway gates have a much more impressive appearance that can boost kerb appeal, and they put less strain on the surrounding wall or fence since their weight is evenly distributed on both sides. However, they can be much more costly to install.
Manual vs electric driveway gate
The next decision you need to make is choosing how your driveway gate will function. Are you happy to operate it manually, or would you prefer an electric driveway gate that opens automatically?
The more cost-effective option is to go for a manual driveway gate, which you will need to operate by hand each time you want to enter or leave your property. This can be very impractical when you want to leave in your car, and you won’t be able to benefit from more advanced access control systems like keypad entry.
On the other hand, electric driveway gates are much more convenient as they will open and close at the press of a button. You can also add extra features like keypads and automatic sensors to improve garden security.
The electric motors and hydraulics that make electric driveway gates function can be applied to multiple types of driveway gate, including swing gates and sliding gates. However, an electric driveway gate will be a much bigger investment and will take longer to install, so consider this carefully before choosing a manual driveway gate or electric driveway gate.
Security and access control
As mentioned above, you can add a variety of access control features to your driveway gate to enhance its security. For example, you could add keypads to restrict entry and GSM or video intercoms to speak to visitors before allowing them access to your property. These features can help you feel secure and also increase the value of your property, but installing them can be expensive.
Driveway gate installation
Finally, once you’ve got an idea in your mind of what kind of driveway gate you would like, it’s time to arrange an installation with a high-quality and reliable driveway gate installation company like The Expert Gate Company. We understand that all of our customers’ needs are different, which is why we always appoint a dedicated project manager to oversee your installation and ensure that everything goes smoothly. We will then survey your driveway and ask about your driveway gate preferences, so we can create a made-to-measure gate that’s crafted to your exact specifications.
Frequently asked questions about driveway gates
How do I choose a driveway gate?
There are so many different types and styles of gates to choose from, which can make it hard to narrow down your selection. Always consider your budget, the amount of driveway space available, your preferred style and the ongoing maintenance requirements before choosing a driveway gate.
How much does a driveway gate cost?
This will depend on what type of driveway gate you choose. Electric driveway gates, sliding driveway gates and composite driveways gates are all more expensive, but you get the benefits of greater security, privacy and convenience. If you’re on a budget, you can get some great deals with simple wooden driveway gates and swing gates.
Should a driveway gate open inwards or outwards?
Can driveway gates open outwards? In most cases the answer is no, as you could end up obstructing a road or public footpath. However, if your driveway is long enough, you could install a gate that opens outwards if it’s far enough away from a path or road. Most people will end up choosing a swing gate that opens inwards or a sliding driveway gate.
What size driveway gate do I need?
Most driveway gates are between 10 and 24 feet wide. However, the right gate size for you will entirely depend on the size of your driveway. Smaller driveways may only be able to fit a single driveway gate, whereas bigger driveways can accommodate double driveway gates and swing gates. Ultimately, your driveway gate installer should survey your property to create a bespoke driveway gate that’s perfect for you – this is the service offered by The Expert Gate Company.
For more driveway gate selection advice, maintenance tips and garden style inspiration, make sure you check out our blog. To arrange a driveway gate installation, get in touch today to chat to a member of our friendly team.