Considerations for choosing the right size vinyl gate for your yard
When considering the purchase of a vinyl fence, one of the biggest concerns of most consumers is the size of the gate or gates they should purchase. For the most part, this seems to stem from people’s desire to have as many options as possible and the desire for their gate to accommodate any future eventuality. What I mean by this is that even if someone does not have a boat at the time they purchase their fence, they want to have a gate large enough to accommodate a boat that they may purchase in the future. Even if they don’t currently own a recreational vehicle, they want to have a gate that can accommodate one in the future. Even if there current landscape company has a mower that can fit through a 4 ft. wide gate, they are concerned that their future landscape company may not have a similar lawn mower.
When you are having a vinyl fence installed, and you need to determine what size vinyl gate to get, here are some considerations: the larger the gate, the more expensive the gate is. Although this seems intuitive (everyone knows that a bigger gate is going to cost more, right) what i mean when i say this is that the price of larger gates go up exponentially, not linearly. Sort of like a boat. A 30 ft. boat is not just double the price of a 15 ft. boat; it’s much much more. Similarly, a 16 ft. gate is not double the cost of an 8 ft. gate, it’s more than 3 times the cost. A 24 ft. gate is not three times the cost of an 8 ft. gate, it’s 7 times the cost.
The reason is that the larger the gate, the larger the gates components need to be to accommodate the larger span. The material needs to be more robust. The hardware needs to be stronger to hold up the heavier weight. The material that goes into a 24 gate and the hardware that holds it up is qualitatively different than the material and hardware for a smaller gate.
As an example, a 4 ft. wide vinyl gate (which is a fairly standard pedestrian walk gate size) does not need any additional bracing for it not to fail. A 5 ft. wide vinyl gate does need a additional bracing to prevent failure over time but the bracing can be made from vinyl and it can just be a diagonal cross-brace. A 6 ft. gate will actually need a metal frame to prevent failure and it needs to be an actual frame, not just a diagonal cross brace. The larger the gate the stronger the material needs to be in order to properly brace the gate. Instead of 2”x2” aluminum tube, a larger gate may need 2”x 4” aluminum tube, or 2”x6”, or even larger. Moreover, once your vinyl gate has a metal frame, it will typically need a metal post to hold it up, rather than the standard vinyl post. This too, adds significant cost.
The point is that when you’re purchasing a vinyl gate for your home and trying to figure out what size you should get, although it’s nice to have every future eventuality covered, that convenience will come at a price.