Iron and Wood Gates: Everything You Need To Know

The choice between iron and wood gates is a big decision for most people looking to get a new gate for their home. When people call to ask us about the work that we do, we often hear the question “What’s the difference between your iron gates and a wood gate?”

To make the process easier for you, we measured each material on 4 main factors:

  • Design Customizability is how many different variables you have to work with to make the design of your gate as unique to you as possible.
  • Security is how resistant it is to damage and outside elements, as well as its ability to thwart attempts by outside intruders to break in or sneak through.
  • Longevity is how long an average gate will last before you have to replace it.
  • Maintenance is how often you have to personally and/or pay someone to work on your gate such as polishing it, sealing it, repairing damage, etc.

We will dive into each one of these factors below:

Design Customizability

an iron and wood gate

Get the best of both by making a gate of wood and iron

Iron Gates

Wrought iron is malleable once heated, which means each and every element can be customized however you see fit. From the post caps to the size and differentiation of posts, ballisters, scrolls, floral elements, etc. 

A potential limitation to the customizability is that iron gates often have gaps between posts, as seen in the image below. Though, as you’ll see in our iron gate gallery, there are techniques to overcome these limitations.  Choose the metal gate if you want an eloquent design to complement your home. 

Wood Gates

Since wood gates don’t have gaps between panels, the design looks more complete. The downside here is that it may block the beauty of your home, rather than compliment it. 

Since wood can’t be bent or melded, custom designs will need to be added on top of the wood. As we talk about in our wood fence article,  wood is great for general use. 

Security

Iron Gates

Iron is a very strong metal and can withstand a lot of force. This is obviously dependant on how thick the iron bars are for your specific gate, but it is known for being able to withstand a lot of trauma, mainly because it is able to bend before breaking.

The main downside is that there are usually spaces between the iron bars so if someone were small enough they could squeeze through (though, they’d have to be pretty darn small…). Choose a metal gate to ensure security. 

Wood Gates

Wood gates can also provide great security for your home as long as you use high-quality wood. When reinforced, they can be almost as sturdy as iron. Only excessive force (car, etc) could break a well-installed wooden gate.

Unfortunately, wood gates are often unprotected on the top. They usually have smooth tops, which means intruders could easily climb it.

Wood is more likely to splinter and break when hit hard enough. Choose a wood gate if you have access to high-quality material. 

Front enterance iron gate with swirl detailing
iron walkway gate

Iron Gates

A properly fabricated and installed iron gate can last decades. If you’re in the process of creating your will when you get an iron gate, make sure to add it as it will most likely be around longer than you are (yes, even 23-year-olds).

The only real issues would be damage from trauma like if you back into it with your truck. Rust could be another problem but only occurs in certain climates. It can easily be avoided with high-quality powder coating and treatment. 

Wood Gates

Wood gates can also last a very long time if they are sealed and reinforced correctly.

Unfortunately, wood can be a bit more susceptible to damage and the elements. It can get wood rot, dented, or scratched. Weather will also cause wear over time. So, instead of your truck, your teenager can hit it with the Prius you gave them and still cause some damage that can lead to problems down the line. 

Maintenance

Iron Gates

The maintenance on iron gates is pretty straightforward. If you have any rust damage, a crew (usually from the company that installed it) will come out to repair it either by taking out a section or replacing it. You can make changes to parts of the gate without needing to take the whole thing apart.

The downside of iron repairs is that they can be expensive, as it can often take a couple of days just to fix some rust. However, it should be many years or even a few decades before you ever see rust or damage to your iron gate. 

Wood Gates

If there is damage to the gate, a team will have to come out and repair whatever aspect of the gate needs to be fixed. The most common repairs are sagging hinges and rotting wood panels. The hinges are pretty easy as the team will just replace the hinges, however, panels usually require a bit of disassembly to get to. Wood repairs can be cheaper than iron, especially minor repairs that can be done yourself.

However, the downside is that it is more likely to happen. Wood rot is very common for wooden gates as it can be difficult to seal every nook and cranny. So, it is more likely that you will have to do some form of maintenance, refinishing, fixing those hinges, etc. 

small custom made iron gate

Ultimately, I’m sure you know which one we chose (because we are an ornamental iron company). However, we want you to choose what would work best for you. Both types of gates would make a great addition to your home and have many different pros and cons.

I hope that this post has helped you move further towards the decision on what type of new gate for your home. If you decide you’d like to go with metal, contact us today!  

On average, metal fences will be slightly more expensive. Each linear foot could be between $15 and $75, plus labor. Wood fences are cheaper, costing  $7 – $15 per foot. As our blog discusses, this increased price for metal might well be worth it. 

As long as your iron fence is properly fabricated, installed & maintained it can last upwards of 60 years. Wood, on the other land, lasts an average of 15 years. 

Use these tips & recommendations to find an iron gate, railing, or fence that is perfect for you.