We know of wrought iron and steel frames as materials that are typically used for gates. So when we come across the word mild steel gate, we may have questioned its suitability. After all, we often associate the word “mild” with lame or weak. Fortunately, that is not the case for mild steel gates. Mild steel, you may have seen it preceding a product name, likely a mild steel gate, on our website or catalogue. Or you may have heard about it when considering your options for gates, window grills and other home furnishings for your HDB or condominium apartment. So the question remains, 'What the heck is mild steel?'
What is mild steel?
Mild steel gates are not as uncommon as you may think here in Singapore. In fact, many houses and landed properties are using mild steel gates whether the property owners are aware of them or not. You may have also come across a lot of mild steel gates while walking the streets or around your neighbourhood but you didn’t realise they were made of mild steel. To better understand why mild steel is recommended for gates and why it's the choice material for most homeowners, you'll have to tap into your secondary school Chemistry knowledge. And you thought secondary school was a waste of time.
The first thing to remember is that steel is an alloy.
- An alloy is a compound (a.k.a., mixture) of metal elements and non-metals
- An alloy is designed to have specific properties (e.g., stiffness or high tensile strength which is one ideal characteristic of mild steel gates)
- Steel comprises iron, carbon, chromium and a few other elements
- Steel comes in many (approximately 3,500) grades
- Mild steel (a.k.a., low carbon steel) has a lower percentage (approx., 0.16–0.29%) of carbon--you don't say
- Its composition makes it more malleable (easy to work with) and the best choice for many products including mild steel gates.
- It's a common and affordable grade of steel
Mild steel: The material of choice for the smart homeowner
While HDB's built-to-order flats scheme is the most common way to become a homeowner in Singapore, it isn't exactly cheap or very affordable. And that's why it isn't surprising that new homeowners are always on the lookout for good deals and ways to cut costs on furnishing.
Everyone knows someone that's furnished their entire house with TaoBao or by crossing the border to snag furniture at a fraction of what it'd cost in Singapore. While there's nothing inherently wrong with being thrifty, the downside to this is the lack of quality control and after-sales service.
Mild steel is affordable and durable
The reason why we're big fans of mild steel is that it's, as Goldilocks would say, 'Just right.' For homeowners, it's affordable, durable, easy to customise, and relatively lightweight. Mild steel is less costly than stainless steel, which is more resistant to rust than mild steel. However, in the hands of expert metalworkers who know how to treat and finish a mild steel product, you can expect it to stand up to Singapore's humid conditions for years to come.
Compared to wrought iron and aluminium, mild steel's characteristics lie in a sweet spot between the two. Being a type of steel, it's resistant to rust, unlike wrought iron. While heavy-duty and durable, it is prone to rust—also, wrought iron limits metalworkers to bending and twisting in designs. Once the choice material for homeowners in Singapore, it's lack of design flexibility makes many wrought iron gates feel aesthetically dated and, quite literally, heavy.
Then there's aluminium, super lightweight and rust-resistant, and that's where the positives end. Its lack of customisability doesn't do it any favours because you're limited to designs that we'd describe as squares and rectangles. And while there's nothing wrong with that if it appeals to you, it doesn't offer much if push comes to shove. To put it simply—it breaks easily.
Mild steel is highly customisable
What makes mild steel such an attractive choice is its customizability. Remember how it's malleable? That makes it easy to cut and shape into just about any design you can think of. Thus, mild steel gates may come with various designs and forms. And with fabrication technology like laser cutting readily available, that means metalworkers can reduce manufacturing costs for mild steel gates. What does this mean for you? Well, think of it this way...you won't have to decide between a truly unique gate and your child's education Low manufacturing costs mean low price for mild steel gates and thus, making it one of the most affordable options for residential properties.
Why mild steel gates are the smart choice for Singaporean homeowners
- Its popularity speaks volumes
- A large percentage, 90%, of home gates are fabricated using mild steel, (a.k.a., low carbon steel)
- It is very affordable in comparison to other types of steel
- Malleable and light compared to stainless steel and wrought iron
- More durable than wrought iron and aluminium
So the next time you're in the market for a new gate, whether you're getting the keys to your new BTO flat or upgrading one that you've owned for years, choose a mild steel gate.