When contemplating the purchase of an ornamental gate, one of the most common questions asked by consumers is, should I buy a steel or aluminum gate? There are some differences between steel and aluminum which warrant consideration.
Regarding appearance, either aluminum or steel can satisfy when reflecting upon ornamental and decorative appeal. It is highly unlikely that a person would be able to distinguish between a gate made of steel versus aluminum simply by looking at it. Either aluminum or steel can be crafted into exquisite and eye-catching gate designs.
The choice between aluminum and steel, therefore, must be based upon other criteria. There are at least three valid points to examine.
First, one may need to consider the location where the gate is to be installed. One of the strongest attributes of aluminum is that it simply does not rust. Therefore, if the gate is to be located in a highly corrosive environment, such as one of exposure to salt water from the ocean or heavy doses of salt from periodic snow melting operations, aluminum may be the best option.
Second, when considering a large ornamental gate such as a driveway or entrance gate, the weight of the gate panels may be a factor. This is usually only an issue if the mounting structures are already in place and there is some reason to question their structural integrity. If the mounting structures are not in place prior to the purchase of the gate, the mounting structures can and should be constructed to provide ample support for the gate chosen. Depending upon the particular gates being utilized, there can be hundreds of pounds of difference between aluminum and steel. Aluminum gates tend to be a great deal lighter than comparably sized steel gates. What that means ultimately to the consumer is that aluminum gates will usually be easier to work with during installation, and there will be less weight hanging on those hinges which are fastened to the mounting structures. Whether the mounting structures are pillars, posts, or walls, they must be constructed with sufficient strength to carry the weight of the swinging gate. Choosing aluminum as the gate material simply makes handling and mounting a little less challenging and reduces the weight carrying requirements of the mounting structures.
Third, if the gate is truly intended to serve as a security barrier, steel is the hands down favorite. A steel gate is much more solid and unyielding than a comparably sized aluminum gate. If the gate is to be, not only ornate and aesthetically pleasing, but also intended to offer the additional benefits of protection and security, the only sound option is steel.
However, not all steel gates are created equal. Manufacturers of gates utilize different sizes and gauge of steel components when producing their particular designs. For that reason, if strength and security are truly desired, the gate consumer must exercise due diligence to insure that the dimensions of the components utilized, as well as the gauge (wall thickness of the steel) of those components are sufficient to serve that purpose. When deliberating between ornamental gates from different manufacturers, a wise consumer will make true apples to apples comparison. This is necessary because the differences in the gauge and strength of components utilized will not be visible to the eye. This is especially true when the potential gate consumer is limited to shopping via pictures and images, as on the internet.
Remember - ask questions regarding precise dimensions of the components utilized, including wall thickness (gauge) of those components. This is of utmost importance if strength and security are expected from your ornamental gate. If security is the question, steel is the answer.