Wooden Gate Security
"Gates are vital protection for a house and if kept secured
can deter burglars from commiting a burglary"
Metropolitan Police Website 2013
We know increasing security to the rear of a property is one of the main reasons people order new gates, so this page explains a little about the different types of gates and the security features you can add to your wooden gate to act as a deterrent to intruders.
Strong Wooden Gate
The strength in a gate is given mainly by the thickness and design of the backing rails, or frame, of the gate rather than the facing material (the timber visable from the front).
Below are two types of basic garden gate. You can see that they both look the same from the front, but one has a much stronger backing frame design than the other.
When choosing a gate also look at the size of the timber used for the backing rails as this determines how strong and therefore how difficult it would be to break the side gate. The joints in the both the above types of basic gates are usually simply screwed together which is fine for a basic gate design.
In both of these wooden gates the top open grain of the facing material (as you look down on the top of the side gate) is exposed to the elements. This part of the timber is most likely to take in water over time as the grain is less dense). This is why when you have a rotting gate you usually see the timber rotting around the top and corners first.
The next level of gate up from this would be one which is manufactured using mortice and tenon joints as shown below. A good quality gate of this type should also be hardwood dowelled. All of these joints should be glued with a suitable wood glue which will form a stronger bond when dried, than the timber itself.
In the gate above the frame has been manufactured first with a rebate for the facing material, then the tgv boarding slid into the channels at the sides and top of the gate, meaning the open grain of the tgv will not come into contact with water. The tgv facing is now set slightly back from the main frame of the gate. This increases the life of your gate.
Most well made gates will use this method although some maufacturers still manufacture a frame and face fix within this frame so that the tgv finishes flush with the frame, which does not provide such a weathertight finish.
Locks for Wooden Gates
Gates are usually secured with a sliding padbolt, these are designed to be used with a padlock but many people don't bother to padlock and unpadlock their gate especially if it is well used. Burgulars can easily reach over and unlock the gate themselves.
Fitting a padbolt at the top and bottom can prevent this as shown below:
(Metropolitan police website, 2013)
Alternatively a Long Throwgate Lock can be fitted which allows only keyed access from either side of your gate similar to a yale lock on a front door.
Hinges for your Wooden Gate
Hinges should be a heavy duty design and large enough for your gate. 18" Hinges are large enough for a 3-4' wide gate. Any wider and 24" Hinges would be more appropriate.
T hinges are screwed on but any hinges with pins on them should always be fitted with one pin pointing up and one down so that your gate cannot be simply 'lifted' off its hinges by an intruder.
Security strips can be added to the top of your gate for mimimal cost, with three rows of points these are only painful under pressure and can be a useful deterrent to a burgular. If fitted in a matching colour to the gate, the are quite unobtrusive.
Condition of your gate
Keeping your gate regularly treated will not only enhance its appearance but will also ensure it lasts longer. Rotting gates are much softer and easier to break than a well looked after one.
Automation is another way to secure your gates and popular when regular vehicular access is involved. Automated gates can be dangerous if incorrectly fitted, therefore it is important to use a professionally accredited installer of all automation products.
Check when purchasing automated gates that the person fitting them is installing the correct level of safety features and that they are an established company who will be able to get replacement parts if there are any problems a few years down the line.