If you live on a farm, you’re probably familiar with a variety of different gates, whether they’re used for your pastures or your orchard or even the entrance to your farm. Among the most popular types of farm gates are metal gates because they’re sturdy and easy to use.
But as you may have discovered, there are many different types of metal farm gates—differing both in design and in material—and figuring out which ones are right for your farm can be a challenging task. To help you sort through the maze of data, here’s everything you need to know about metal farm gate types.
The first step is to figure out what style of gate design you would like to have. There are many types to choose from.
Farm gates can be made from a variety of different metals, but steel and aluminum stand out as the main options you’ll encounter.
Aluminum is a popular choice because it’s lighter, less expensive, and is much more resistant to corrosion and rust than steel. For these reasons, it’s a great choice for decorative gates that won’t receive a lot of hard use.
If you need a tough-as-nails gate that is unlikely to be damaged even by the strongest livestock, steel is the way to go. Many steel gates are sold with a special powder coating to help them resist rust, and some are galvanized (coated with zinc) for further protection, so with routine care and maintenance, steel gates can last for decades.
Theoretically, gates can be placed anywhere along a fence, but some locations will make more sense than others. The gate for a pasture is best placed in a corner, as it’s much easier to guide playful or stubborn livestock out of a pasture by steering them into a corner rather than through a gate in the middle of a long fence line. For the sake of convenience, it’s also wise to place your gates as close to your livestock barn as possible, making the walk to and from your barn as short as possible and lessening the distance of ground that will experience the wear and tear as a walking path.
Also, whenever possible, gates should be placed on high ground, as frequent use can erode the ground and cause water to gather at the gate entrance; if you place your gate in a low area where water already tends to gather, this problem will be made worse. Placing gates on high ground will go a long way toward reducing water issues.
Additional details about planning farm fences can be found here.
The exact equipment and supplies you will need to install a metal gate will vary depending on the type of gate you’ve chosen, but in most cases you’ll need a large fencepost for holding the gate, along with equipment for digging the fence-post hole.
For a large gate, you’ll need a deep hole—it’s best to have the fencepost set at least 2 to 3 feet into the ground. If you’re installing a very heavy gate, you may also need a concrete mix on hand to secure the post firmly in place and support the weight of the gate.
Also useful is a set of large wrenches (or else an adjustable crescent wrench), since many metal farm gates are installed using large bolts with nuts that must be tightened securely into place. In these cases, you may also need a large auger drill bit to bore holes through your post to make way for the bolts.
In addition, since many metal gates are very heavy, be sure to have multiple people on hand during the installation process—at least two people will be needed to hold the gates in place, and you might need a third person to tighten the nuts.
If you want more than just an ordinary metal gate, you can choose from plenty of accessories that will spruce it up and make it easier to use!
Depending on your gate’s intended use, the most obvious accessories are a quality latch and lock; many metal farm gates simply employ a chain that you wrap around a post to hold the gate shut, but for better security (and to prevent curious livestock from playing with the chain and perhaps opening the gate), a metal latch and lock is a great accessory.
It’s also possible to install remote-controlled gate openers so that you can open a gate as easily as your garage door; this is a particularly good accessory if you have a gate as the entrance to your farm or if you travel your pastures by tractor or ATV and want to be able to open the gates without stopping and getting off your machine.
Gate wheels, which attach to the bottom of the gate, can lessen the strain on the gate hinges and post, which is helpful for long or heavy gates that might otherwise require extremely sturdy posts and hinges.
No matter which type of metal farm gate you choose, you can be certain that with care and maintenance, your gate will serve you well for years to come.