A spring latch is a mechanical device that is utilized in the joining of two separate components in order to prevent movement or opening. A spring latch is locked with a spring compression so that it will not be released...
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This article will take an in-depth look at gate latches.
The article will provide more detail on topics such as:
This chapter will discuss what gate latches are and their design materials.
Gate latches are devices that are used for securing gates on a fence. They function by raising or lowering them to open and close a gate. They achieve this action because of their components, which are a metal bar and a lever. Gate latches are made from durable metal parts, and they allow smooth operation every time.
There are different types of gate latches, some being one-sided and some allowing a gate to be opened from either side of the fence. For proper functioning of a latch, it must be paired with proper hinges and also be attached to a professionally designed fence. Based on the design and function of a gate latch, there are three main categories of gate latches. These categories are the spring-loaded, bolt-secured, and gravity gate latches.
Just like there are various designs of gate latches, there are also numerous gate latch materials to select from. When it comes to the material of a gate latch, a major consideration must be durability. Cast iron latches can be used to complement a home but it can rust only three weeks after installation. Therefore it’s important to make a consideration of the environment when examining the durability of the materials used for making gate latches.
In most scenarios, gate latches are constructed from high-quality materials that are capable of withstanding harsh elements and working outdoors. With every outdoor hardware, maintenance still needs to be performed to ensure it’s holding up. To add on top of durability, the material chosen sets the tone for the overall design, color, and finish of the latch.
Stainless steel has an appearance that is similar to that of aluminum but is much stronger, heavier, and more durable. It exhibits high resistance to warping, denting, or bending under temperature shifts or pressure. Even though it has a high cost, it is a great option when looking for a material that is durable, long-wearing, and modern. Stainless steel has high corrosion- resistance and is mostly available in a raw silver tone. There is also a powdered-coated option that can be chosen that provides an extra layer of protection in areas that are especially corrosive, like near a body of saltwater.
However, to maintain the look of the coating, regular touch-ups may need to be applied. Just like many other gate latch materials, some effort must be put forth to maintain the material to extend its longevity. Lubricating oil can be applied monthly to provide an additional layer of protection. This helps in eliminating any annoying squeaking noise and also eliminates the risks of damage to the material by the elements.
Maintenance: To maintain stainless-steel gate latch material, it must be washed with mild dish liquid and warm water, then wiped dry.
This type of gate latch material is considered to be among the most expensive gate latch material options. Bronze is a very durable material that tends to age exceptionally well. This type of material is an ideal option when requiring a more high-end taste since it feels very dense and is aesthetically pleasing.
Bronze ages well, therefore it does not require a powder-coated finish for protecting it. It has a durability that reduces the risks of chipping or even the need of refinishing it over time. This metal can turn into a faded green color after some time, but this can be prevented by the application of a coat of wax annually. This act will, in turn, prevent discoloration, protect the metal, and enhance its lifespan.
Maintenance: This type of gate latch material is maintained by applying wax annually for protecting the latch and preventing patina.
This type of gate latch material is an ideal choice when there is a concern about wear, tear, and rust. Aluminum is light in weight and also quite durable. It is resistant to corrosion as well. This allows for the installation of aluminum gate latches in virtually any environment. However, aluminum is more brittle than most other gate latch materials. This means that there is likely going to be a need for investing in a quality gate stop in order to prevent regular usage from bringing unnecessary stress on the arm of the latch.
When there is too much stress over time, it can lead to breakage. Aluminum gate latches are available in the conventional silver color, but they can also be found in a powder-coated option. Since daily use can cause chipping of the powder coating, this can be prevented by executing frequent maintenance and touch-ups.
This option can be found in a wide range of designs like modern, contemporary, antique, and old world. This makes aluminum both a functional and aesthetically-pleasing option. Generally, aluminum tends to be the least expensive material found for producing gate latches.
This type of gate latch material has become the least common. It is the ideal option where there is a need for the creation of either a traditional or colonial look. Brass material is substantial and it feels dense to touch. It is capable of adding an excellent design element to a gate. However, this metal has the main drawback that it tarnishes over time.
But if hard work to maintain the material is performed, its longevity can be preserved. It can be maintained by regular cleanings using specialized brass cleaners and by also applying a UV-resistant clear coating which will, in turn, keep the brass gate latch shiny and new while preserving the integrity of the lock.
Maintenance: To maintain brass material, it must be polished to keep its glow.
This is the final gate latch material that will be discussed. Iron is one of the most-used materials in gate latches. It is available in a wide array of designs such as traditional, colonial, antique, and old-world styles. Wrought iron and cast iron are both used by manufacturers to produce these types of gate latches. These materials have a very dignified appearance that will look excellent against the fencing. In most instances, the iron features a black powder-coating for the addition of an additional layer of protection against the elements.
Therefore, this type of gate latch material is not best suited for environments that experience a lot of corrosive elements. It is not suitable for properties on the seaside since the salt from both the water and air can cause premature rusting of an iron gate latch. Under ideal conditions, however, the lifespan of iron is long and it brings excellent value for the cost.
Maintenance: Regular maintenance needs to be performed in order to keep the iron looking its best. It is recommended to use a ball of steel wool when clearing away rust spots and, subsequently, applying a protectant spray on the surface of the material. Spray paint can also be used for coating.
The different types of gate latches include:
This type of gate latch is one-sided. They operate by sliding a rod into a securing bolt that is responsible for holding the gate door in position. This type of latch can only be secured from the inside of the fence since it is a one-sided latch. Bolt latches are very easy to install, as far as installation goes.
They can be installed on fences that swing inwards or outwards. There is also an additional option of locking them by using a padlock. Besides their easy installation, bolt gate latches are also the most cost-effective latches and they come in a very wide array of materials and sizes in order to fit various needs.
As suggested by their name, this type of gate latch functions by utilizing gravity. When the gate is closed, the latch arm is allowed to push past the strike plate by the force of the swing, and fall into the catch, thus securing the gate.
This option is often the most desirable since it can also be self-operated, meaning that it can be easily opened or closed without the need for any intervention from the outside.
Gravity latches are always two-sided because the arm must fall into the strike for proper function. This option of gate latches is very easy to use but the most basic models do not offer much in terms of security. To remedy this, a lockable design must be opted for, or an addition of a deadbolt or side bolt can be made for reducing the chance of unwanted entry.
Many lockable models consist of a hole to insert a padlock. In this case, there are options to choose from– a key or a combination lock may be selected for gaining access depending on the model chosen for installation. Speaking of installation, these types of latches are utilized for in-swinging gates. Even though it is possible, it is complex to reverse the installation and use this type of gate latch with an out-swinging door.
Spring-loaded latches function by utilizing a spring for facilitating the closing of the gate. Even though they tend to be more costly than their counterparts, spring latches offer a smoother action on the handle when the barrier is being opened or closed. The spring components of these types of gate latches function when the arm of the latch snaps into place because of the pressure exerted on the spring securing the arm.
Spring-loaded latches always feature a two-sided design. They allow for the operation of the door from either side. They can also be locked using a variety of lockable models that are available. Just like gravity latches, spring-loaded latches are generally utilized on in-swinging gates but it is possible to switch the installation for an out-swinging option as required. The installation ranges from relatively simple and straightforward, to difficult, depending on the particular manufacturer of the devices.
Thumb latches are two-way designs. Their installation can only be made on in-swinging gates. The installation of a decorative plate with a thumb depressor is made on the gate’s outside. By pressing the thumb depressor, a latch arm on the gate’s opposite side lifts and allows the gate to open. When closing a thumb latch, the arm of the latch must hit the strike, rise, and then fall into the catch on its own accord.
Based on the operation of the thumb latch, it is essentially a gravity latch model. If there is proper mounting of the latch, it falls into the catch on its own after activation. Some of the thumb latch models have the additional advantage of being lockable.
This type of gate latch is two-sided. They allow operation from both sides of the gate. The outside of the gate (the street side) has a back plate with a ring on it, while the inside of the gate (yard side) features a back plate with a ring which is attached to the arm of the latch. When the ring is turned on either side of the gate, the arm of the latch is lifted out of the catch for opening the gate.
This variety of gate latches can be classified as either gravity-assisted or spring-loaded depending on the manufacturer. Their installation can be done on both out-swinging as well as in-swinging gates. This makes ring latches a very versatile option. Furthermore, some of the ring gate latches can be locked. On an out-swinging gate, however, as opposed to the in-swinging gate, the arm of the latch will be located on the street side. For proper installation of the ring latch, it must be noted that the latch arm ought to be installed on the side that the gate opens toward.
Lever latches operate the same way ring latches do. However, they consist of a lever handle on either side, instead of a ring. The operation of this type of gate latch works by turning the lever on the interior side. This causes the arm to move out of the catch, allowing for the operation of the door. The installation of this type of gate latch can be made with either in-swinging or out-swinging gate models.
It must be noted that the latch arm of this type of gate latch must be placed on the side that the gate is to open toward. This type of gate latch is available in both gravity-assisted and spring-loaded designs depending on the manufacturer. Furthermore, some of the lever latches are lockable while others are not.
These gate latches are a good option in many situations. Their operation is based on a spring-loaded knob, which serves to pull the locking pin out of the catch. They can be mounted vertically or horizontally. They can also be installed on any kind of gate material. Furthermore, they are often manufactured from durable plastics with a locking pin made from stainless steel. Many of these types of gate latches can be locked with a key. However, they have a disadvantage in that their installation can only be made on the inside of the gate.
This variety of gate latch is also called a toggle-style latch. Their mechanism is simple and self-closing. They can be easily-secured using a padlock. It has been noted that a T-latch is a modern iteration of the gravity latch but with an added advantage to help overcome gate sag or ground movement.
The bolt of the pivoting latch sits within a heavy-duty polymer housing and consists of adjustable brackets that can be moved in both the horizontal and vertical directions for preventing sticking or binding.
This type of gate latch is recommended for use on a fence and gate that are made from chain links. Butterfly latches are mostly made from galvanized steel and are directly attached to the framework of the fence or gate.
Their mechanism is very simple and self-closing. This mechanism allows for the opening of the gate both inwards and outwards. This type of latch, however, is not usually lockable.
This type of latch is recommended for those looking for a more high-tech solution. They are most suitable for outdoor use as they are corrosion-resistant, as well as resistant to water damage. This type of latch functions with no visible fasteners and they lock from both sides of the gate.
They provide excellent security and are available in a range of modern finishes for coordination with lighting, hardware, or other outdoor features.
This type of gate latch is commonly utilized on gates that are used to access swimming pools. Swimming pool latches are usually designed for gates that open outwards and have long shafts so that the opener can be set at a required minimum height. They are also lockable for complying with current safety regulations.
This variety of gate latch is one of the easiest types to install even though they are not the most secure. These latches would not be useful for providing any actual security but may help keep critters out of the garden. They can be installed and operated on gates that open from both the inside and outside. They also have a self-latching mechanism. Fingertip release latches make use of the spring-loaded mechanism that allows the arm of the latch to automatically fall into place.
This chapter will discuss the considerations when choosing a gate latch and the recommendations when installing gate latches.
When choosing the right gate latch for an application, a look at the bigger picture must be taken. The style of the gate latch must complement the home. Furthermore, it should coordinate with the exterior hardware that is already available, like the door hardware. The following points are also important factors to be considered when choosing a gate latch.
This is typically the most common factor that must be considered when opting for a gate latch. As already seen, there are certain categories and types of gate latches that provide more protection than others. Therefore, determining how much security is required from a gate latch must be the first point to be thought about. If security is the main reason for purchasing a gate latch, then a bolt gate latch must be purchased. Bolt gate latches are more protective than other types.
When installing any kind of outdoor device, environmental and weather factors must be considered. In the case of gate latches, their use must be considered in combination with seasonal factors affecting the wood they are fastened to. Wood moves throughout the year, it will be more shrunken in dry months than it will be in wet months. During wet months the wood swells, causing the latch not to properly catch. The wood may also expand during warmer months and contract during colder periods. To account for this movement, proper tools and equipment must be used for outdoor use. Therefore it is best to consult the specifications of the manufacturer on how to account for seasonal movement in order to receive proper latching of the gate during all months of the year.
The other thing to be considered when choosing a gate latch is the type of gate available. There can be a sliding gate, single gate, or double gate. Design decisions concerning the type of gate available must be made. For instance, if there is a gate with a very large opening, a thicker latch must be purchased; the reason being that it must stand out against the gate. Similarly, if a double door is chosen, there needs to be a handle on the fixed side in order to make the fence look more symmetrical.
The installation of a gate latch should typically involve:
Step one must be initiated with the gate closed and latched. Supports must be put under the gate for supporting it when the hinges are removed. The existing screws must be unscrewed from the upper hinge. This will back out the screws from both the gate itself and the post-side of the hinge.
At this stage, the new hinge must be opened up with the leaves stretching out from the pin. After that, the hinge must be held up to the gate as well as the gate post on the point where it will be attached. The points or spots for the new holes must be marked. The installer must make sure to screw into the gate frame and not just a fence board. If necessary, pre-drilling can be done.
At this stage, gate screws must be installed loosely. Both wings of the hinge must be attached with one leaf on the gate and the other one on the post. Tightening of the screws must be done after making sure that the gate is true in its opening.
Steps one, two, and three must be repeated for the second hinge. With the hinge screws snug, proper alignment of the gate, as well as latching, must be checked by slightly swinging the gate open. This process allows for necessary adjustments to be made before more costly and time-consuming repairs arise after finishing the installation process. Once the latch is properly functioning, then the screws may be tightened.
The old latch must be removed at this stage. Attention must be made to the direction in which the gate swings (inward, outward, or in both directions), and purchasing a suitable latch for the available needs must be done.
The bolt must be mounted to the gate frame. The post-side latch must be aligned and affixed with screws. Make sure that the bolt does not stick out too far from the gate such that it runs into a house corner that juts out near the gate opening. It must be checked that there is no interference in the placement of the gate latch with the swing of the gate.
This chapter will discuss the applications and benefits of gate latches.
The benefits include:
Gate latches are easy to install without any special tools or welding required. It is most likely the case that gates will fall out of alignment as time goes on due to the ground naturally settling over time. But the good thing is that the chain link fence gate latch can be easily adjusted. They can be easily adjusted both during installation and after installation.
Gate latches that are specially made from stainless steel material and advanced engineering polymers are highly durable. This is because the materials used for constructing the gate latches are capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions. They are made to last long and work well as time passes by. Furthermore, hinges are frequently backed with a lifetime warranty in case an issue arises in the future.
Gate latches are available in a wide range of designs as well as specifications to meet any needs. Many models are available for all different types of fences including chain link, metal, vinyl, and wood. Every model available also fits out-swing, in-swing, left-hand, and right-hand gates. Gate latches are sure to meet every need of both commercial and residential properties at affordable prices.
There are many different types of gate latches as already mentioned above. They can be categorized according to the three main categories which are bolt-secured, gravity, as well as spring-loaded latches. Each type of gate latch has been examined to see how it functions and it has been found that every category has its unique way of operation. Some are one-sided and some are two-sided, giving them unique characteristics that make each suitable for a particular use. There are also a few gate latch materials that are most commonly used, including brass, iron, stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze. Each type of material has its pros and cons and requires a special type of maintenance for increasing its lifespan. There are different types of gate latches in the sense that some are lockable while others are not. Therefore, when security is a major requirement, consideration must be made when choosing a gate latch for a certain application. Other factors to consider when opting for a gate latch include the gate type and door material.
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