From the category archives:

Wood Fences

Wooden gates may be less coveted than gates of iron or steel, but they’re often more appropriate and certainly more common, especially for garden and entrance gates. For privacy, stockade fences with no gaps between slats are more opaque than almost any kind of metal fence. The organic texture and ambiance of wooden garden gates and driveway gates can blend in more seamlessly, and seem less imposing than wrought iron or aluminum. Vinyl fences can be more durable while offering a similar look to wood, but up close, the heft and grain of boards made of actual wood is unmistakable. But some woods are more manageable over time than others, so let’s examine a few options.

Types of Wood for Gates and Fences

Cedar is a naturally moisture-resistant stock that doesn’t need to be treated with chemicals. The most popular type for fencing is Western red cedar. Knotty cedar is the most recognizable, with knots, blemishes and imperfections that give it more of a country style character than clear grade cedar. Clear grade lumber, however, lasts longer (up to 40 years with proper care), and has a cleaner look. Another softwood to consider, of chemical treatment is acceptable, is Southern treated pine.

Among hardwoods, oak is a popular choice for stockade fences. With its naturally high tannin content, oak fences are resistant to pests and fungal infections. Northern red oak and white oak are used most frequently for residential fencing. Teak, particularly in older stock, is a long-lasting wood which, like clear grade cedar, will last around 40 years. Also in common with its softwood counterpart, teak doesn’t require chemical treatment, and is naturally impervious to pests and harsh weather.

Installation Considerations for Wood Gates

Special attention needs to be paid to the structural properties of wooden driveway gates and fences. Wood posts planted in the ground will degrade and lose their strength, so if you don’t find it aesthetically inconsistent, steel posts are recommended. This is especially true for gate posts, which are much more prone to creep out of alignment with repetitive opening and closing. When fitting the gate, ensure that the posts can handle the load, since wider gates mean heavier panels. If you must use wood posts, pick a material resistant to rotting like redwood or cedar, or a pressure-treated lumber.

Gate hardware should either be made of rust-free components, like stainless steel or molded plastic, or be coated for rust resistance with epoxy or polyester. A wooden gate frame should have an anti-sag gate kit, with a hook and eye turnbuckle, to adjust for eventual wear.

If you take the time to examine the lumber options and fencing styles available for wooden gates and fences, you’re certain to find a solution that’s aesthetically appropriate and within your budget while keeping maintenance hassles to a minimum.

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