Which timber gate is best for you?
Timber gates comparison - Oak, Iroko, Sapele, Idigbo, Redwood, Accoya
It is important to point out that any automatic timber gate, whether it's made from hard or softwood, is only as good as the individual components that make up the system (gate automation, ironmongery, supporting posts), design, the installation itself, and of course the ongoing maintenance of the gate system.
Our gates are made to your individual requirements by a long-established, family-owned business in Cheshire. We recommend hardwood for gates – hardwoods such as Oak, Iroko, Sapele and Idigbo will give you strong, long-lasting gates that look great.
If your budget will run only to softwoods, we recommend Cedar and Scandinavian Redwood for their durability and longevity. All our wood is from sustainable, managed forests and carries a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or equivalent certification.
Iroko is a very durable hardwood. The colour varies from light yellow to golden brown and texture is coarse, often with an interlocked grain. It is indigenous to Africa and is often referred too as “African Oak” Kiln dried iroko is strongly recommended for external gates. This is a hard wearing timber which is resistant to decay.
It has many of the desirable features of oak and is commonly used for electric gates, external joinery, boat building and marine work. It is particularly suited to gate installations as it is tough and extremely hard wearing and it is a good alternative to oak and vastly less expensive.
Sapele is another hardwood from Africa, the colour dark reddish brown. Grain is interlocked or wavy with a medium to fine texture. It stains fairly easily which makes it easier to maintain in the longer term. Common uses are usually internal such as furniture, shopfitting, and flooring but is becoming a popular choice to automate timber gates. Sapele can be used as an external wood however it is less durable than Iroko or Oak and has a greater moisture content therefore is can be susceptible to movement which can be offset with the appropriate adjustable hinges. Using Sapele for automated gates is a good compromise if a superior hardwood is not attainable due to budget constraints and the option of using softwood is not acceptable.
Colour is yellow to light brown. The grain is straight to slightly irregular with a medium to fairly coarse texture. This timber works well by both machine and hand tools and finishes cleanly therefore you can achieve very fine finishes with all the benefits of a hardwood. Idigbo is an excellent utility timber for many purposes due to its medium weight, ease of working, durability and outstanding stability- in particular for use on timber garage doors and smaller swing gates. It is perhaps viewed as a more exclusive timber but due to the yellowish colour it is an acquired taste.
The sapwood is creamy white and is sharply defined from the golden, warm-brown of the heartwood. If left untreated over time it will weather down to reveal the characteristic silver grain which looks fabulous on older character properties. The timber is hard, heavy and durable. Oak is very coarse in texture and straight grained, requiring the correct seasoning, hinging and automation. It can be worked to a fine finish if necessary. As the name would imply English oak is indigenous to the British Isles, it is probably the best known and one of the most versatile of all timbers, being used more extensively and for a greater number of purposes than any other. However this comes at a cost and using this timber could easily double the cost of the entire gate installation. For clients looking for top of the range timber electric gates- look no further than Oak. At additional cost we have laser etched crests/emblems into the timber or have it carved for truly personal customisation.
Redwood is a popular softwood used for gate automation, typically 5 bar farm gates- Usually sourced from Scandinavia, Russia and the UK is is also known as pine and Scot’s Pine, its colour is pale yellowish-brown to red-brown heartwood with lighter-coloured sapwood. Gates made from Redwood should be treated every 1 to 2 with water-repellent preservative stain , depending on the environment. We would strongly recommend pressure treated softwood gates to ensure the longevity of your gate investment.
Accoya wood is the perfect choice for your gates as it is the most sustainable timber available. Accoya® is a modified softwood that is more durable than the best hardwoods around. Accoya is actually a timber called Radiata Pine which is grown in New Zealand and shipped to Holland, where it undergoes a process called ‘acetylation’. This process changes the chemical structure of the timber in such a way that the timber cannot absorb any moisture, therefore it cannot rot.
Cedar Gates are renowned for their high decay-resistance. Very light weight and stable, great for wooden gates, especially larger estate gates!
The lack of pitch or resinous extractive contributes to its good finishing properties which means it can take a variety of coatings, paints and stains exceptionally well.
Western red Cedar can be manufactured into side gates, garden gates and of course driveway gates. These cedar gates are particularly stable and subject to very little movement ie warp or twisting which is very useful when producing large wooden gates.
Cedar gates like other timbers will turn grey over time with a clear treatment such as Tung oil, but their durability will not be reduced. These cedar gates are particularly useful in adverse weather conditions such as coastal or exposed sites or where the gates are particularly large.
If you would prefer to have a more durable gate then we would recommend our hardwood gates using Iroko, Oak, Sapele woods. Alternatively, we also offer Aluminium Gates in a wood effect finish.