What does it all mean?! I break it down so you know what part of the materials are being referred to when you shop for an iron or aluminum fence and gate.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to purchase an item only to have a salesperson spew a bunch of ‘jargon’ you’ve never heard of before . I would love to say we never do that here, but sometimes it just creeps into our regular conversation when we talk about the materials for 40-50 hours a week!
We don’t want to leave everyone in the dark while shopping for an iron or aluminum fence. Check out the video and illustrated photos below to learn all the fence jargon and what it equates to on your fence and gates. First, here is our video on the subject:
Now, let’s go through some of the more common terms in photos for the components highlighted below so you can make the connection when you hear or read these terms.
Finials are those decorative tips welded on top of your fence or gate. They are the piece that gives this type of fence and gate that iconic look. Finials are not something every manufacturer offers. However, we include them on every piece STANDARD because they are what makes the fence more a piece of art rather than just plain building material.
These are the vertical pieces that make up the center of your fence panel or gate leaf. Whether you get iron or aluminum, they are passed through a punched hole in the horizontal rail. On an iron piece they are welded to the rail. On an aluminum piece, they are screwed to the rail.
Rails are the horizontal pieces of a fence panel that the pickets pass through. Think of them as the backbone of your fence panel. The rails are where your fence panel will connect to the post and your gate internals will connect to the gate frame.
Posts are the square pieces that will be buried in concrete in the ground or bolted to a surface. They are what you hang your fence panels and gates from as well as what connects the fence or gate to the earth.
The post cap is a decorative piece that will sit on top of the post and cover it to keep water and debris from building up in the post. The ball style cap is featured in the photo above, but there is also a less ornate ‘flat’ or ‘standard’ style post cap available as well.
Fence Brackets (Iron Only)
This is a point where iron fence differs from aluminum fence a bit.
The iron fence (pictured above) is held to the post using a bracket that slides over the rail. That bracket is set against the post and then secured with a self-tapping screw to tie everything together.
The aluminum fence does not utilize a bracket. It slides the rails into punches in the aluminum post and then a self tapping screw is driven through the post and into rail inside it to secure everything.
U-Frame/ Gate Frame
The U-Frame is the metal frame piece that goes down the side and across the bottom. It’s the backbone of your gate. It’s key to pay attention to this on a gate as there are different approaches taken by different manufacturers.
We utilize a fully welded frame that goes down the sides and across the bottom (in a “U” shape) so that the gate can NEVER sag.
Many of our competitors have an open bottom with only a frame on the sides. This is a poor design that will result in sagging and dragging over the years. Avoid any walk or driveway gate with an open bottom construction!
That should cover the main elements you will see on iron and aluminum fence and gates. If you hear or read something else that sounds unfamiliar, feel free to call us at 800-261-2729 or email us ([email protected]). We would much rather answer questions for folks than leave them guessing!