It should be functionally efficient, economical and simple to see, says Sathya Prakash Varanashi

If we look for major differences between traditional and modern houses, especially for items that consume material and financial resources, entrance gates find a definite place.

With no options for metal fabrications and holdfast hinges that are common today, houses either had no gates at all or were provided with an animal barrier with thin tree trunks and thorny branches.

House site demarcations in cities led to the emergence of newer concepts of security, fear of encroachments, need to barricade the self and such other practices, a combined challenge answered by the idea of lockable gates. Gated communities found in large cities today have taken this phenomena to the epitome, where the collective community, individual property and the family house – everything can be secured and locked up!

Eliminating the idea of gates is easier said than done; hence looking for judicious gates makes greater sense. Majority of mild steel gates are found to rust after a few years, due to water penetration at the welding points and lack of periodic painting. They also tend to be heavy due to the weight of the metal, hence reducing the efficiency of the hinges. Where possible, replacing heavy metal by wood and such other alternatives helps.

Fabricators tend to charge the total cost on the material consumed, hence lesser the material, cheaper the gate. Today fancy-looking gates are being suggested and made, at huge expenditure, as if the gate itself is a status symbol.

Besides wasting material and costing more, they also affect the beauty of the building. If they can lie low and merge with the compound wall, gates can actually compliment the building design.

The load factor

The gate posts should be strong enough to take the load, often achieved by a metal pillar visible or embedded within the brick pillar. Even concrete pillar can be used, though in extreme cases only.

Making the gate totally solid to stop street animals from straying in or for privacy into the property sounds logical, but leaving a few openings within the gate makes it lighter in weight, attractive in design and does not always lets in animals as we may be fearing.

Raising the compound wall height, hence the gate height is a recent tendency among some buildings. It feels funny to walk along a street with such high walls around, that cut off the beautifully worked-out elevations of the buildings.

Options

Options for gates have grown many folds, to include cast iron gates, sliding shutters, remote controlled and such others. In all the cases, facilities such as milk box and letter box can be embedded within the supporting pillars. Latches and lock bars can be made operable from both sides.

By restricting the height to less than 5 ft., they can create better sense of space. However, we need to remember that a good gate is the one which is functionally efficient, budget-wise economical and simple to see.