9 Best Types of Wood for Exterior Gates

When it comes to choosing the best wood for exterior gates, there are a few factors to consider. The climate and weather in your area, as well as the level of exposure to the sun and rain, will all affect the type of wood you choose. In addition, you’ll need to consider the style and design of your gate.

With so many types to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. But don’t worry, this article will tell you everything you need to know. It will outline some of the best wood types for exterior gates and answer any other questions you may have.

Hardwood vs Softwood for a Gate?

There are two main types of wood: hardwood and softwood. Hardwood tends to be heavier and more solid, while softwood is more flexible. In many cases, hardwood is more durable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s best for gates. It is not just strength you have to consider, but also resistance to mold and rot, UV resistance, and aesthetics.

When it comes to gates, both hardwood and softwood have their pros and cons. Hardwoods usually have a longer lifespan and can last up to 30 years if installed and treated properly. Softwoods can be protected with sealants, stains, and paints, and will last around 15 years before they need to be replaced.

Both hardwood and softwood can be pressure-treated with chemicals to help them stand up to moisture, which reduces the level of maintenance that you need to do.

If price is a major factor, softwoods are the way to go. They come from faster growing trees, so they are cheaper to produce and that is reflected in the price. Softwoods are also less prone to cracking because they are more flexible. Fluctuations in temperature cause wood to expand and contract and in harder woods, this can lead to cracks.

Overall, hardwood will last you longer but it will cost more. There are some great cost-effective softwood options that are still very durable. However, it is important to remember that these generalizations don’t apply to all types of wood. Some hardwoods, for example, are nowhere near durable enough to be used for gates. So, you need to consider specific species of wood when choosing exterior gates.

9 Best Types of Wood for Exterior Gates

1. Accoya 

Accoya is a type of wood that has been treated with a process called acetylation. This treatment makes the wood resistant to rot, UV damage, and insects. It is also more flexible than other hardwoods, making it a good choice for gates.

Accoya is expensive but it will last for many years with relatively little maintenance, and it is often called the world’s most durable wood. So, if you want to install a gate that will last you for decades to come without any problems, Accoya is the best choice.

2. Redwood 2 in. x 6 in. (1-1/2" x 5-1/2") Construction Premium Redwood Board Stud Wood Lumber - Custom Length - 5FT

Redwood is one of the most durable types of softwood and it is also resistant to rot and insect damage. Redwood has a beautiful red color that will fade over time if it isn’t protected, but it can be treated with a sealant or stain to preserve the color.

This is one of the most common types of wood used for gates and fencing because it’s good to work with, affordable, and durable. It also takes different stains and finishes very well, so it’s easy to achieve the right look.

3. Cedar Household Essentials 25012-1 Cedarline Collection Cedar Wood Panels for Closet Storage | 10 Piece Value Pack

Cedar is another type of softwood that is popular for gates and fences. Cedar is very tough, even though it is one of the lightest species of wood available. This makes it ideal for large gates because the last thing you want is a heavy wooden gate that you can barely push open. The wood is prone to graying in the sun over time, but this can be avoided with the right sealer.

4. Iroko 

If security is a priority, Iroko is a good choice because of its superior strength. It is a type of hardwood that comes from the African Mahogany tree. The wood is resistant to rot, decay, and insects, making it a good option for exterior gates. It is also very durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

5. Oak Forest 2 Home Red Oak Wood Lumber Bundle - 1 X 6 X 36 inches - 6 Board Pack - Kiln Dried Hardwood - S2S - Includes Carpenter Pencil

Oak is a hardwood that lends itself well to exterior projects, including gates. It’s a dense wood with a tight grain, which gives it more durability against UV damage and insects. It’s also a more affordable option compared with other hardwoods.

6. Pine Pine Wood Lumber Board 6 Count Wooden Lumber Plank 3/4 in x 4 in x 3 ft Unfinished Suitable for Construction Projects DIY Decor Planed Timber for Home Improvement

Pine is a softwood and it’s not as durable as many of the other species on this list. However, when it is properly treated, it is plenty strong enough for an exterior gate. It’s easy to work with and it’s sustainable, not to mention that it’s cheap, so a lot of people opt for pine when fitting an exterior gate.

7. Spruce Balsa Wood Shop Spruce 1/4 X 1/4 X 36in (8)

Spruce is very similar to pine, but it is less prone to warping. This is particularly useful if you live in a hot climate because it means that your gate won’t expand and contract as much in the sun. Hardwoods can crack and split a lot when they expand and contract in the sun. Like pine, spruce is a softwood but it is still strong enough to be used for exterior gates.

8. Fir 1 in. x 6 in. (3/4" x 5-1/2") Construction Premium Douglas Fir Board Stud Wood Lumber - Custom Length - 4FT

Fir is a very strong wood that is often used for exterior projects. It’s durable enough for an exterior gate, but it is less resistant to moisture and rot than other options, like cedar. As long as the wood is treated properly, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you live in a particularly wet climate, fir may not be the best choice.

9. Cypress 

Cypress is not as common as the other species on this list, but it’s an excellent option for exterior gates because it’s very durable. It also contains high levels of cypretine, which acts as a natural deterrent for pests.

If interested, we also have a guide for the 10 best types of wood for exterior columns you may want to check out here

Alternative Materials to Build a Gate at Home

Any of the wood species listed above are perfect for your exterior gate, but what about other materials?


Metal gates are a great option if you want something that is going to last for a long time without much maintenance. They are also very secure and can be custom-made to fit your specific needs. Wrought iron gates are a popular option, but you can also find metal gates made from other materials, like aluminum or steel. Although metal gates are durable, they are not completely maintenance-free. You will need to apply paint every 5 to 7 years to protect the gate.

Metal gates cost more than wooden gates, but they are worthwhile if you want something that is going to last.


If you would prefer a wood effect but you don’t want to do as much maintenance, consider a composite gate instead. Composite is a mix of wood and plastic that looks very similar to natural wood but doesn’t require as much upkeep. Composite gates come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can find one that matches your home perfectly.

The cost of composite gates is more expensive than wooden gates, but it may be worth the investment if you don’t want to have to worry about upkeep.


Vinyl requires the least maintenance of all the materials listed here. It’s also the most affordable option, making it a great choice if you are on a budget. Vinyl is available in a variety of colors and styles, so you have a lot of choices. However, in terms of aesthetics, it’s not necessarily the best. Natural wood looks so great, especially when you look after it properly and you don’t get the same authentic appeal with vinyl. However, if you are just looking for affordability and longevity without having to do a lot of maintenance, vinyl is perfect.

Related Questions

Why is my Wooden Gate Sagging?        

There are a few reasons why your wooden gate may be sagging. The first thing you should do is check the screws. Sometimes a few of them work lose and tightening them up will fix the problem.

If that doesn’t fix it, take a look at the hinges. They could be worn out or it could be that the gates themselves are not hung correctly. Replacing the hinges is may solve the sagging issues. You can also get an anti-sag gate kit at hardware stores to install on your existing hinges. This involves fixing two small brackets on the top and bottom of the hinge, with a small cable between them. You can then tighten it to raise the gate to its original level.

Another possibility is that the posts the gate is attached to are not sturdy or they are not properly set in the ground. To fix this, you may need to take the gate off, remove the posts and set them again to ensure that they are solid.

If you find that sagging is a constant problem, consider installing a tension rod or braces on the gate to strengthen it and distribute the weight evenly.

Can You Paint a Wooden Gate? 

Yes, you can paint a wooden gate. Use exterior wood paint that is designed for fences and gates. It’s best to do 2 or 3 coats to give you a good barrier against moisture.

Can You Stain a Wooden Gate?

If you prefer a natural wood look, you can stain a wooden gate. Staining will bring out the natural appearance of the wood and protect it against moisture. When buying a stain, look for one that offers UV protection too to stop your gate from fading.

Is a Wood or Metal Gate Better? 

This depends on what your priorities are. If you are looking for something that is going to last and doesn’t require much maintenance, a metal gate is a good option. However, if you want something that looks more natural and traditional, go for a wood gate. Wood gates do require more upkeep, but they can be painted or stained to protect them from the elements.

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