A beginners guide to choosing the right aluminium gate

If you haven’t purchased a gate before or know the benefits of an aluminium gate, a beginners guide to choosing an aluminium gate is the perfect place to start. When you make the decision to buy an aluminium driveway gate or side gate you need to be prepared with some key information for when you speak to a supplier or installer. You will also need a list of questions to understand the type of gate you will be getting. Many aluminium gates may look the same but in reality there are some big differences between gates.

You may also find that there is some terminology used by installers and supplier that you don’t understand. Don’t worry, we’ll try to guide you through some of these terms so that you can fully understand what the provider is discussing with you.

First things first. What is the basic information you want to hand when you make the call to discuss an aluminium gate with a supplier?

Each company is likely to have a website with their own designs. Do your homework, look at the site, research at the company and look for any examples of gates they have produced or installed. You may be dealing with the gate manufacturer directly or it may be an installer who works with a manufacturer to provide the complete solution, either way there should be images or ideas on the type of gates that they supply.

So have an idea of the design that you want as it’s likely that cost will differ for flat top gates or those with a curved top, or gates that have more detailing such as frosted glass windows or aluminium strip detailing.

Each company will also have a standard range of colours but are able to offer the majority of colours at a cost.

Most suppliers will work off a RAL colour chart, so a simple search will bring up the different RAL colours so you can discuss with them if it’s a standard colour or will incur an additional charge. Colours such as black (9005) or Anthracite¬† Grey (7016) will be a standard colour for the majority of companies. Many will also offer a selection of woodgrain finishes.

If you are installing yourself or an installer is doing it for you, you will need the opening where the gate will be installed. By the opening we mean the total width between the existing pillars or the total opening you have for the gate to be installed. Bear in mind if you have no posts you will need a post to fix the gate the gate to, so by having the total opening as opposed to the gate size it allows the company you are dealing with to work out the gap needed for hinges or automation. If you do know the exact size of gate you want then it’s not a problem but remember that depending on the hinges used there will always be a gap that you need to take into account for installation.

The height is also something that would be useful. If you are having a flat top then then it’s simple, if you are having a curve top it may be that there is a different rise to the middle of the gate depending on the company that you are using. Our gates would have a 200mm rise, so a 1800mm gate would rise to 2000mm. These gates will sometimes be described as a swan neck or bow top.

for initial quoting purposes these different details are important for any company to provide you with an accurate quote. Remember that by having a standard RAL colour and a smaller gate the price will be different to having a non standard RAL at 4000mm wide and 2200mm high. There are always different options that can increase or decrease the cost of your gate.

So, to recap, some of the basic information you want to have to hand when looking for a quote are as follows.

1. Design idea

2. Colour

3. Opening width

4. Gate height

Browse gate designs

So that’s the basics. If you are working with an installer, from here they will likely visit your property, take measurements, discuss different options with you and then provide you with a quote for the complete the whole project.

A key thing to remember when working with an installer is that a complete gate installation with automation doesn’t come cheap. With materials, automation cost and the labour it is likely that the complete install can cost anything from ¬£7000 upwards, although this will differ depending on the installer that you use and the amount of work that needs to be done in terms of groundwork or the running of electrical cables to ensure the site is ready to have the gate safely installed.

Each company will have a different installation cost and will use different gate automation systems but any good installer will always give you a breakdown of your cost. One thing to always remember with the gate is the quality. Some gates are constructed using thicker aluminium and have been reinforced specifically for automated gates. It’s not to say that automation can’t be fitted on cheaper gates but best practice would suggest you want a gate that has been manufactured with gate automation in mind.

I am always keen to point out that safety should always be important with any installation. Many installers are Gatesafe or DHF regulated, this shows you that they have attended and passed courses with either company regarding gate safety. Not every company has this accreditation and that doesn’t mean that they can’t install a gate safely, but always ask the question about safety, any good installer will be able to provide you with information about the measures that they take to ensure your gate has been safely installed. Trying to save a few pounds on an install but compromising on safely is never advisable.

For manual gate installations things can be a little simpler. Cost to install will be cheaper and although we always advise a professional to install there are many who will install their own gate as part of a DIY project. If this is the case please ensure you ask your supplier for hinge information and any advice they can provide on safety. There are often components that can help improve the safety of a gate such as safety cables that come at little cost.

Find out more about aluminium gates

This doesn’t answer every question about aluminium gates but it should give you a starting point on your journey to finding the gate you are looking for, or at least enough information to speak to a company and get an idea of cost and the work involved.

If you are looking for more information on the cost of an aluminium gate and the different factors that can affect the figure that gets sent through to you on a quote then please read our article How much does an aluminium gate cost and why?