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Recipe for a perfect outdoor gate

In our recent previous blog, we promised more to come in our series about outdoor PVC gates. Outdoor gates need to do a lot of heavy lifting… literally. Gates, by their nature, are very heavy and movable objects supported by a connection to only one side. The laws of physics dictate that the side of the gate not adjoined to the wall would be under constant pressure from the force of gravity. These laws further dictate that the unattached side will receive even more pressure from essentially carrying all of the weight of the entire gate. If you were in the business of building outdoor structures and had a goal of fixing this conundrum, where would you begin?

If you went about trying to solve this problem, you might logically try to fix the connection of the gate to the post. Perhaps you would build stronger posts to bear the attachment hardware. Or you might look for stronger hardware that attaches the gate to the post.

But how about fixing the gate? Is there a way to make a stronger gate? A better gate?

A gate at its essence is a door. A door’s structural challenges come from the areas where the individual pieces connect, called the joins. The joins are the pressure points and the gluttons for a door’s punishment. They are also the beauty of a custom door. When millworked well, pieces of wood come together with intricately cut, perfectly interwoven and carefully glued connections. What if you remove all the joinery from a custom door? What if you make the door using one solid piece? Will the elegance be gone? Will that which makes the door spectacular be sacrificed to solve a problem? Does artistry have to be thrown out in order to achieve architectural integrity?

Have you ever seen a door made from a solid sheet? Think about aluminum doors. They work. They open. They close. And the doors themselves do not sag nor change shape. But if we’re being honest, they look and they feel cheap. The innovators who strove to fix the problem of removing the weakest link on the door seem to have stopped short at the infancy of that could-be innovation. Yes many solid doors have a stamped design in an attempt to emulate the depth and pattern built into a crafted door. Some come in creative colors. But at their essence, they feel cheap. If you feel compelled to knock on an aluminum or hollow wood door to see if it’s solid, you will be woefully disappointed by the echo that clambers back to you.

Perhaps the solution begins with the selection of the solid sheet with which you begin. As you’ve followed our blog and shopped at our online store, you know that we are strong proponents of PVC as an outdoor building material. It’s solid. It’s strong. It’s low maintenance and it does not require annual scraping or sealing or staining. It holds its shape, holds its color, and holds its own against the elements.

IMG_1334If you start with a great solid sheet as a building block and that sheet achieves all of the functional requirements you could ever hope it would achieve, are you stuck with plain? Sometimes plain is good. Sometimes it is the simplicity that defines its perfection. At the Porch Company, we’ve added custom cuts, careful scoring and curated hinges and knobs ensuring it’s anything but plain. Take a look.

With solid sheets of PVC you gain strength, integrity and worry-free low maintenance. Solid sheets of crafted PVC can be laminated together to add dimension and design. The picture you see to the right is only one layer of PVC. It is simply a one-inch piece of PVC with cut outs in some areas and is carefully scored in others to emulate the traditional partially scored, partially picketed fence design.

16-spi-0139-EditThe gate you see here is 3 layers or what we call 3-ply. Two solid sheets are artfully cut and then laminated together to create both depth and texture. When layers of PVC are laminated together, they fuse through the heat of the bonding process. With this gate, both layers of PVC are arched at the top. The initial layer is scored to look like boards and the perimeter layer is cut out to emulate a framing effect. The lovely strap hinges and iron pull add to the elegance of this understated design.

The gate below is also a 3-ply gate. The base layer is cut to create the traditional 4-paned glass pattern at the top. The outer layer is cut to emulate a framed effect. That layer also utilizes a custom painting technique to give more dimension and visual interest to this gate.

pvc-gate-wood-grain-15-spa-3 600

highland-cross-gate-mintThe gate to the left has 2-layers. There is another layer on the back matching the outer layer of the side you see here. Cutouts, scorelines and good-looking hardware create the design. At the Porch Company, we are as passionate about innovation as we are about design. One is never sacrificed for the other. Form will always meet function and finishing elements will be chosen with as much care as went into the structure’s design.

If you are looking for exquisite PVC gates for your home, shop online at the Porch Store to find the gate that will make the perfect statement for your grounds and your yard.


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