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Wood Gates – 5 ways to keep your gate running

Wood Gates One of the neatest things that a home owner can do is decorate the outside of his house with ornate wooden gates that speak volumes about the owners of the residence. When considering wooden gates, one must realize that wooden gates might find a place within the home as a decorative piece of the house.

Treating your Gates

When your gates need re-staining or repainting you may want to use the same finish that they came with or maybe alter it a little. It is usually possible to go a shade darker but not the other way around, unless they have become particularly bleached or faded. Please note that the same shade in a matte or satin finish can look surprisingly different from each other so do make sure to check the tin before you purchase. This may seem like common sense but tins can look remarkably similar on the shelves and buying the wrong one is both maddening and expensive.

If the gates are relatively new, the manufacturer may have given you specific instructions on how to look after your gates but if not then there are general rules which apply to most stain or paint renewal.

General Principles

  • You need to do any painting or staining on a dry day when it is not windy or too hot. These factors can affect the preparations you use and can spoil the finish.

  • You must also not paint or stain on wet days or when the timber itself is wet as the new coats won’t stick to the original and blistering and running can occur. If you are treating a small garden gateit may be possible to take it off it’s hinges and work under cover but be aware of the dangers of using these products in enclosed spaces. The fumes can be toxic. If they are very dirty obviously this needs cleaning off before painting begins

  • First of all check the gates for any cracks, scratches or rotting and use one of the proprietary fillers to create a smooth base. A light sanding may be all that is required to give a key to the surface for the application of the stain or paint.. Always sand lightly in the direction of the grain . You can always go over again if it doesn’t seem smooth enough but if you go at it heavy handed or with an over-zealous approach with a power sander you can cause grooves which are very difficult to get out.

  • Place a plastic sheet or newspaper under the gate helps avoid marks from any drips or spills.

  • Dust off to remove any debris caused during the sanding as otherwise these will stick to the new stain and spoil the finish. Take care to check corners or mouldings and use a dry paintbrush to sweep them clean.

  • Always use a light touch and a small amount of stain. This gives better application and is less messy than having a dripping brush spreading everywhere. It also adheres to the surface better and avoids unsightly drips. Keep a tin of white spirit handy to deal with any spills and have your brush cleaning kit at hand in case you are interrupted before you have finished. If you find the mixture a little too thick you may be advised to thin with proprietary thinner according to manufacturer’s instructions. This can make the stain easier to apply.

  • Manufacturers of stain and paint applications all give safety advice on the containers about the dangers of inhaling fumes or getting stain in your eyes. Follow these carefully.

  • Apply one or two coats as recommended and don’t forget to seal the tops, edges and bottoms of the gate. The underside is often neglected but rain can splash up and seep into the timber unnoticed until the first time you spot rotting timber.

In conclusion, looking after your timber products regularly and they will last much longer and save money in the long run.

About the Author

This article has been written by Dan Smith from Wooden Gates Direct who has a wide range of practical knowledge regarding the best ways of maintaining a wooden driveway gate and often writes on a wide range green building methods.

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