How to Select the Right Components for the Long Haul
For homeowners, commercial property owners, or municipalities that manage parks, installing a fence represents a substantial investment in an outdoor amenity that should last as long as 20 years. Ensuring the longevity of a fencing system begins by researching and selecting the proper products and components.
Contractors and specifiers who want to deliver the highest-quality solution to their customers should start with a checklist of required criteria. Here are the top four to consider:
- Strength, while seemingly basic to a discussion on durability, is a critical quality to ensuring a gate will not sag or break after many uses. The key is to select a product that will match the intended usage and weight requirements.
- Impact resistance is important with moving parts. The gate experiences force every time it is opened, and this force may be increased with self-closing features or high winds. Ensuring the product will not deteriorate or break under pressure means fewer repairs and a longer life.
- No matter the climate, corrosion resistance is vital to ensuring the product does not disintegrate. Rain, snow, sun, and saltwater all impact the materials used, and components must be able to withstand the elements while maintaining functionality and aesthetics.
- UV light can significantly weaken components. Building a fence with components containing materials and finishes that have high UV stability will lead to an increased lifespan.
Users have the most interaction with a fence at the gate. The impression at the gate determines the impression of the entire fence. For instance, a sagging gate that does not close properly will give the impression of a low-quality fence regardless of other components. However, smooth operation and a sturdy lock will give the impression of a high-quality fence and deliver optimal safety and usage.
Ultimately, the user’s impression of the gate is what matters. The look and feel of a fence system are imperative to the selection of components. The resulting aesthetics combined with limited repairs over time will deliver long-lasting safety and satisfaction.
A key set of criteria to consider:
- Materials and Finishes: Zinc-plated hardware with a high-quality powder coating will prevent rusting and increase performance, while poor finishes will fade, rust, and decrease functionality.
- Weight Limits: Contractors and homeowners must be cognizant of weight limits when specifying a gate to ensure optimal operation and safety. While particularly important for heavy gates, all gates operate best with components of robust design and materials.
- Cycle Tests: Product testing should include cycle testing where the product is used over and over to test longevity and functionality as the product wears.
Proper Installation is absolutely critical to long-term performance and durability. When followed closely, installation instructions ensure products have the longest life possible and maintain proper functionality.
Making Durability a Priority
Gate and fence products manufactured by Nationwide Industries™ place strength and durability at the forefront, and components regularly undergo rigorous testing to ensure maximum functionality and lifespan.
Take metal components. Nationwide Industries’ metal components are typically made of stainless steel or steel with a zinc-plated or galvanized coating to improve corrosion resistance. These materials and coatings ensure the products do not weaken or lose functionality when installed in the elements.
Part of the testing at Nationwide Industries includes salt spray testing. In this testing phase, products are placed in a machine for weeks, and sometimes months, with saltwater air and spray to simulate a corrosive environment in a sped-up time frame, confirming how components would perform in the field.
To certify the longevity of Nationwide Industries’ Specialty Products, the company maintains a million-cycle warranty. To test the CornerStone® hinges, a pneumatic opener replicates usage over a period of a year to test how many cycles can be run without any repairs or decrease in functionality. Nationwide Industries offers the million-cycle warranty on ten popular moving components, including the Trident™, AquaLatch®, ArmorLatch®, Keystone®, Keystone® X, Keystone® X2, CornerStone®, CornerStone® 2, MANTA®, and OrnaMag®.
Built to Last
Specifying and installing a fence – for a back yard, for a large park, or for a massive warehouse facility – requires careful planning. If a fence is to deliver safety and privacy for years to come, it must be primed to last.
Using a specific set of criteria to gauge durability – from functionality, to coatings, to testing – helps to ensure that a customer’s sizable investment in fencing will pay off over the long haul.