What Are Gate Latches Made From And Why?
The material that latches are made from influences where (geographically) you can install it, but it also can influence the aesthetics with the color and finish. All outdoor gate hardware is exposed to use and the elements. Wear and tear is normal over time, but depending on the material you choose, you can minimize your risk of wear. All outdoor gate latches require periodic maintenance to get the longest life out of the hardware. The highest priced hardware (priced that way because of the materials used) is generally those that require the least amount of maintenance.
Overall, there are so many wonderful choices when choosing a garden latch. You’ll most likely be able to find what you need!
Iron Gate Latches
Iron is probably the most widely used material for latches. It can either be cast iron or wrought iron. Its heavy, stately appearance appeals to many homeowners. Usually they are powdercoated black to provide a layer of protection against the outdoor elements.
On the upside, it’ll last a long time and provides good value for the money spent. On the downside, even with a powdercoat finish, iron will eventually start to rust, especially in areas of the latch where two parts are coming into contact with each other. Many people like the rustic, old world look of an iron latch, even if it has some rust spots on it. In a highly corrosive environment, like beachfront or seaside locations, iron is probably not the best choice.
Maintaining a cast iron gate latch requires some maintenance to extend its life. When you do find some rust spots, use steel wool to clear the area, then touch up with a spray paint like Rustoleum.
You’re most likely to find Old World, antique, Colonial, and traditional styles in cast iron gate hardware. Because there are so many other pieces of cast iron gate hardware out there, it’s easy to put together a nice package of latch, hinge fronts, etc. with cast or wrought iron.
Aluminum Gate Latches
Aluminum is wonderful because of its corrosion resistance. Aluminum is a lightweight material. It is more brittle than iron, so when choosing an aluminum gate latch it’s vital to use a gate stop, which will prevent your gate from “overclosing” and putting Powdercoating undue stress on the arm of the latch. Aluminum gate latches are usually cast into many shapes and styles and are powder coated to black, since most coordinating gate hardware is also black. The aluminum gate latches we offer have brass arms to add strength to the design.
Aluminum latches are often less expensive than cast iron latches. Note that while aluminum is corrosion resistant, the powdercoat finish can still chip off over time as two parts of the latch hit each other over and over again. There isn’t much maintenance to do on an aluminum latch, but you can touch up any chipped areas with a spray paint like Rustoleum if you desire. You’re most likely to find old world, antique, and traditional styles in a cast aluminum latch.
Bronze Gate Latches
Bronze is on the higher end of price spectrum for gate hardware, but it is well worth the expense. Bronze is cast in the same vein as iron and aluminum, achieving lovely shapes. Bronze is heavy and substantial and feels great in your hand.
You might find the most artistry in bronze latch designs, but you’ll also find the highest price tags. Bronze gate latches come in many styles, including traditional, contemporary, and old world.
Bronze ages beautifully and because it doesn’t have a powder coat finish, there is no risk of chipping. If you live in a rust prone area, such as a coastal or oceanfront location, bronze is an excellent choice. Left to its own devices, bronze will darken to a lovely dark copper penny color, then eventually patina.
Stainless Steel Gate Latches
Stainless steel is often used to craft modern and contemporary gate latches. Stainless steel is substantial and feels and look sleek. If you’re looking for modern gate hardware or contemporary latches, we suggest you look for a stainless steel gate latch.
Stainless steel is great for rust-resistance–really, unless you have the latch installed right at the street and the street is salted and cars drive by and splatter salt all over the latch, you’re going to have years and years of enjoyment out of a stainless steel latch. Stainless steel can be powder coated, but mostly you’ll see it in its raw form.