Selecting the Proper Size and Type of Gate

driveway-gateA fence is meant to contain or prevent something from entering an area. Just about any Houston fence company you ask would tell you that the most overlooked component of a fence is the gate.

If you have a Houston wood fence, it can last for decades with basic maintenance. However, poor planning can result in your having to remove some of the fence to accommodate a larger or smaller gate.

Things to Consider

When selecting a gate, you have to decide how large or small it must be and what type of gate will be best suited for your needs. To decide on the size the gate needs to be for your Houston fence, consider these factors.

  • How the gate will be used
  • If a vehicle must pass through the gate
  • If there is a utility easement on your property

Those points only deal with your current needs. The future may require more from your gate. For example, will you be buying a riding mower sometime soon? Can you get a truck into the fenced-in zone for repairs, such as pumping the septic tank? Are you planning to build a shed, garage or barn inside the fence at a later date?

You want a gate that is going to accommodate any upcoming needs that cannot be anticipated. For example, if you install a gate that is only 4 feet wide, you will need to remove it and portions of your fence to build a barn or garage on your property.

It is also necessary to know how large your utility easement is. If you build a fence across the easement, the utility company may have to take down a portion of your fence in an emergency so that they can access your property. If you pre-plan the size of your gates carefully, you can ward off unnecessary stress and save yourself some money.

Standard Gates Sizes and Their Uses

Here are the most common gate sizes and how they are used.

  • A 3-foot gate is the smallest gate available. It is good for a rarely used entrance for walking only.
  • A 4-foot gate is a standard size that is large enough for walking and small machinery, such as a lawn mower.
  • Gates that are 5 or 6 feet wide are perfect for riding mowers. A 6-foot gate can be made from two 3-foot gates.
  • Most standard vehicles can fit through a 10-foot gate.
  • Larger vehicles, including farm machinery and trailers, can fit through a 12-foot gate.

You also have to select the best kind of gate for your fence. The best gates have welded steel frames. A less expensive option is a galvanized pipe fence. These gates are not as attractive as welded gates, but they are very strong. A gate made of steel stock will look great with a decorative metal fence, or it can be painted to match the wood fence. These gates are priced between welded-frame and pipe gates. Wood gates are the least expensive option, but they are the least durable. They can also sag over time.

If you plan to automate the gate, a welded steel frame is your best choice. If you want a swinging gate, it should have leading wheels if it will be longer than 16 feet. You might want to use double gates for an opening wider than 6 feet. Be sure to position the gate off the road by several feet so vehicles have room to turn into the property.

Pre-planning can save you the hassle of having to modify or remove portions of the fence or the entire gate itself. Alterations to fences are costly and can be easily avoided.