Regardless of whether you’ve had a fence constructed or are researching your options in terms of adding a new fence, you may have heard of terms like spires, pickets, posts and rails. But what about finials, cover flanges and escutcheons? Let us enlighten you! Here is a rundown of some of the main components of a wrought iron fence.
One of the main structural components of a fence are what are called members or rails. These horizontal elements essentially help hold a fence together, and they are an important part of a fence’s overall structure. They are located at the top of a wrought iron fence, they run parallel to the ground and they are where fence panels connect to the posts. Additional horizontal members are often added to create ‘housings’ for decorative elements like internal scrolling.
Vertical members, also known as spires, are the vertical pieces of wrought iron that serve as the fence ‘posts’, and in terms of fence construction, pickets are the vertical pieces that make up the centre of a fence panel. These are welded to the rails on a wrought iron fence. Pickets can also be known as balusters, and picket castings are ornamentation attached to a picket for decoration.
Finials are the decorative tips that are welded on top of your wrought iron fence or gate, and they often add a classic touch to its construction. Commonly known as an urn, these architectural devices were originally designed to bring attention to the apex (or top) of walls, buildings and other structures on castles. Today many finials also grace the tops of clocks, archways, flagpoles and even bedposts!
Posts are the square pieces on wrought iron fencing that are bolted to a surface or buried in concrete in the ground. Essentially, posts are the elements that fence panels hang from as well as what connects a wrought iron fence or gate to the earth.
Columns are the round or square pillars, posts or poles that flank an entranceway, and a cover flange or escutcheon is a piece of metal that is used for decoration or protection. These are typically found around the base of a post or at a point where the rail ends against a solid wall.
The decorative pieces that sit atop a post on a wrought iron fence in order to cover it are called post caps. These keep debris and water from building up inside the post, and they come in a range of designs from ball style caps to less ornate ‘flat’ or ‘standard’ post caps.
Fence brackets are unique to wrought iron fences and often used to hold the fencing components to the posts. These slide over the rails, are set against the posts and are often then secured with a self-tapping screw to hold everything together. Aluminium fencing does not use brackets. Instead, rails are slid into punches in an aluminium post and then a self-tapping screw is driven through the post and into a rail inside it in order to secure everything.
In terms of wrought iron gate construction, U-frames or gate frames are the ‘backbones’ of gates and the metal frame pieces that go down the side and across the bottom of a gate. Different manufacturers take different approaches when it comes to U-frames, however, fully welded frames that go down the sides and across the bottom of a gate in a U shape will ensure the gate won’t sag.
What are some of the decorative elements used on wrought iron fencing?
There are an enormous amount of decorative elements used on wrought iron fencing, and one of the most common are called scrolls. These are a form of spire decoration and their construction is based on the top of a spire curling around itself. Other aesthetic elements include things like S and C scrolls (scrolls that form the shape of these letters), twists that can be customised to virtually any shape or form, decorative insets, symbols and symmetrical elements. Other popular wrought iron fence elements include spirals, swirls, spears, vines, intricate curves, arches, twisted columns, gothic shapes, baroque-inspired designs and circle and sphere accents.
Leaves and flowers are other decorative elements that are used widely in wrought iron fence construction. Leaves can take the form of single, double, dished or pressed leaves, and flowers can take virtually any form, including those of classic flora like daisies and roses. The only limit is your imagination!
How are some of these decorative elements used in different homes?
Virtually all types of homes suit the beautiful aesthetics of a customised wrought iron fence. Federation style homes often favour baroque or vine-style designs involving leafy patterns, swirls and gothic elements. Bar-style fencing also suits this type of home, which can include elements like ornate poles, arrow designs, or imitation ‘picket fence’ tops to mirror a home’s stately design. If the home is an iconic white or grey tone, black wrought iron will also contrast stunningly with a white or grey-toned home, which is the usual colour palette of a federation home.
Country cottages require a fence that’s a little more on the delicate side while still oozing plenty of charm. You’ll often see simple timber picket fences on these types of homes, however, wrought iron can offer a quaint alternative with the inclusion of spiral features or simple arches.
A vertical bar design is one of the most popular wrought iron fencing designs chosen for more contemporary homes, and design options are limitless with a malleable material like wrought iron. Gold swirls and accents can add a touch of distinction as well as give a home a more modern outlook.
Townhouse developments can also benefit from the beauty and durability of a wrought iron fence. Spirals, intricate curves and classic spears and columns can add aesthetic interest as well as maintain a consistent visual element around a complex.
After a customised wrought iron fence that exhibits creative flair? Contact the experts at Dean-Wilson Iron on 3814 0076.