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Gates and Fencing - What happens when they get older?

Saturday, 1 January 2005  |  Jane



So you have had your beautiful gates fitted, maybe automated and maybe some matching fencing installed.

What happens next?

Well they will be rained on, buffeted by the wind, opened and closed many times, frozen in the frosts and then heated up and baked to a crisp in the sun (OK not that often in England, but you know what I mean)!

                                         Any timber, whatever type it is and whatever anyone tells you, if left untreated and exposed to the elements will eventually go a silvery colour like this fence image to the left.

Many people like this colour and if your gates are made of hardwood, leaving to silver in this way can be an attractive option.  Softwood gates should be retreated every year to ensure they last well and treating with a clear treatment would be best if you want this look.  A good quality spirit based wood preservative will lengthen the life of the timber in any event.

To keep the colour in the gates you will need to use a coloured treatment.  We recommend a Barretine product but any oil/spirit based product which contains resins to repel water and a biocide film to prevent surface growth of mould or algae would do the trick.  Pigments should have a good UV fade resistance to help protect the wood from UV damage.

These days well made treatments should be harmless to animals and insects when dry aswell.  The best time to apply this is in the summer when the gates are completely dry.  2 Coats can be sprayed or painted on after a light removal of any dirt or mould.  If after a few years you find the timber is becoming a little dry a coat or two of a danish oil (which is clear) aswell can also improve your gates.

Above: An old gate which has gone silvery grey treated one side with our Barretine Dark Brown treatment.

So the gates themselves need treating but what about the hinges and fittings?

Most good quality hinges will last well as long as you have had your gates fitted with strong enough hinges and latches for the job.  Some hinges and fittings look very pretty but you need a substantial thickness to the product which it is made from for longevity.  An occasional oiling will help any moving parts run smoothly. Timber gates 'settle' into position a few weeks after fitting and normally need adjusting slightly to keep the gates hanging exactly square.  You just need an adjustable spanner to adjust these hinges and if they need doing again a few years down the line do not allow them to need adjusting so badly that the gates rub together at the top or touch on the floor as this wont be good for the gates or the hinges.


Gate automation?

An automated gate is a piece of machinery with moving parts and similar to a car may require repairs from time to time.  An annual gate service ensures your automation is running effectively, moving parts are re-lubricated and gates adjusted so the system is working smoothly and also still meeting all the safety requirements particularly with regards to safe closing.  Any insects/cobwebs are removed which can cause costly short circuits and the board thoroughly cleaned.   This annual visit is a good time to change entry codes or add remote controls and get advice re any improvements needed. 

Even if your gates are serviced regularly from time to time small repairs may still be required.  Many automation companies will now not attend call outs for gate automation which has not been serviced or fitted by them.  If they do, they often charge shockingly high call out charges.  So keep in touch with your fitters and ensure that if you do not want to commit to an annual service for your automation you are prepared for any costs involved in getting someone (possibly another company) out to repair it.

The long and short of it is, if you look after your gates with a small amount of TLC you should have many happy years of smooth opening and closing to come! :)

Tarmec and Croft manufacture, fit and automate all sorts of timber gates and fit fencing throughout Essex Suffolk and the home counties

Please give us a ring for further details 01787 224848


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