Wood is divided into two kinds;  hardwood and softwood, however the names do not always refer to its actual hardness or softness.

Hardwoods come from broad-leaved (deciduous) trees (those that drop their leaves each Autumn, also known as angiosperms because their seeds are encased in fruits or pods). Examples include ash, beech, birch, iroko, mahogany, maple, oak, teak and walnut.

All Charltons hardwood gates are made from Iroko: A kiln dried African Hardwood which is usually a yellow to golden or medium brown, with colour tending to darken over time. Iroko is a very durable hardwood which is hard wearing and resistant to decay. If left untreated the wood will gradually silver and can be prone to water marks. Although Iroko is a hardwood we would recommend treatment as per our care instruction (link below) to protect the wood and to extend the life of the gate..

Iroko colouration


Part of an Iroko gate showing the colour variation that can occur in Iroko.


Softwoods come from evergreen (coniferous) trees, those that have needles and cones and retain them year-round, also called gymnosperms. Examples include cedar, cypress, fir, pine and spruce.

Charltons softwood Courtyard gates are made from Scandinavian softwood: Slow grown & kiln dried. Softwood typically a creamy white, with a hint of yellow and/or red. Softwood is a more economical option but is far less durable than Iroko and as a result needs to be fully treated as per our care instructions (link below). If you care for your gates properly you should get many years of life from a softwood gate.

Charltons softwood 5 Bar gates and Pedestrian gates are made from kiln dried slow grown Scandinavian softwood which is pressure treated: the pressure treatment gives the gates a slight green tint to the wood. This will naturally silver over time. If you wish to paint or stain the treated wood, it is important that the wood is dry prior to treatment. Although the gates are pressure treated we would recommend regular treatment to extend the life of the gate.


Please note whilst we provide guidance for care and treatment to untreated gates it is very important to firstly make sure a preservative is used and secondly treatment manufacturer’s instructions MUST be adhere to. Charltons cannot be held responsible for the consequences of poorly treated gates. In most cases problems with gates is down to poorly carried out treatment.