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Driveway Gates: Steel vs Aluminum

Steel Driveway Gates vs. Aluminum Driveway Gates


“Steel Rusts, But Aluminum Doesn’t Rust…Right?!?”

Read On To Find Out

The (Surprising) Similarities & Differences Between The Two!


Dual swing aluminum driveway gates.
Aluminum Driveway Gates In Metal Gate Manufacturing Workshop

Part I:

What Are Steel & Aluminum?

Steel and aluminum are the two main different types of metals from which metal driveway gates are created.

Wikipedia: Steel


Steel is an alloy of iron with typically a few tenths of a percent of carbon to improve its strength and fracture resistance compared to iron. Many other elements may be present or added. Stainless steels that are corrosion– and oxidation-resistant need typically an additional 11% chromium. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, steel is used in buildingsinfrastructuretoolsshipstrainscarsmachineselectrical appliances, and weapons. Iron is the base metal of steel. Depending on the temperature, it can take two crystalline forms (allotropic forms): body-centred cubic and face-centred cubic. The interaction of the allotropes of iron with the alloying elements, primarily carbon, gives steel and cast iron their range of unique properties.

Square tubing steel 3x2 on floor
Steel tubing and sheet metal for driveway gate with blue-gray colored “mill scale” on the raw surface. These oxides must be removed for proper powder coat adhesion.


Welding steel gate frame.
Welding the frame for a steel driveway gate.


Atlanta driveway gate design by JDR Metal Art.
Steel driveway gates after metal fabrication and powder coating is complete and the installation in Atlanta is finished.

Steel is probably the more commonly used of the two metals for driveway gates. And it’s nearly always used in the construction of bridges, automobiles and skyscrapers; steel is perhaps the most integral commodity of the modern era. Widely known for it’s strength and endurance. Cost effective and very strong but 3x heavier than aluminum and more prone to corrosion and oxidation, also known as “rust”. Raw steel has a dull white appearance when fully cleaned.

Driveway gate being sandblasted free of rust and mill scale.
Steel driveway gate being sandblasted down to clean white metal for proper powder coat adhesion.

Wikipedia: Aluminum

Aluminium (aluminum in American and Canadian English) is a chemical element with the symbol Al and atomic number 13. Aluminium has a density lower than those of other common metals, at approximately one third that of steel. It has a great affinity towards oxygen, and forms a protective layer of oxide on the surface when exposed to air. Aluminium visually resembles silver, both in its color and in its great ability to reflect light. It is soft, non-magnetic and ductile. It has one stable isotope, 27Al; this isotope is very common, making aluminium the twelfth most common element in the Universe.

Aluminum, just like steel, is prone to corrosion. Although it is substantially more costly than steel, it weighs only 1/3 as much and has a very high strength-to-weight ratio which makes less work for both the gate installer and the automatic gate openers.

Aluminum sheet for custom farm gate in Ocala, Florida.

Aluminum is a shiny white metal most commonly used for building aircraft, boats and medical devices. It is softer than steel and requires much greater attention to cleanliness in order to weld properly.

Horse farm driveway gate with plasma cut horse and fence design.
Polished aluminum driveway gate on steel welding table.

With a melting point of only 1100 degrees F vs. 2000+ degrees F for steel, aluminum is much more reactive to heat and likes to “move” i.e. warp if it is not obsessively clamped during fabrication.

Aluminum driveway gates finials.
Aluminum driveway gate on steel welding table, with cast aluminum fleur de lis finials.

 Aluminum’s outstanding corrosion properties are highly desirable for customers living in salty environments such as near the ocean or close to a road


Click here to continue to learn more about Aluminum vs. Steel Driveway Gates!