If you’re looking to get an automatic driveway entry gate installed, and it’s your first time doing so, you may find yourself confounded by the cryptic and complicated terminologies that would fly way above the head of a person having no prior experience.And if all that doesn’t leave you confused, then chances are that the many options you can go for and the extensive considerations involved in the selection and installation process surely will.
In this article, we have made an effort to break down and simplify the many terminologies that you will encounter, the different types of gates, and the considerations you need to keep in mind in search of the perfect driveway gate for you.
Diving right into it, let’s first get acquainted with the basic categories of driveway gates that can be installed. Each of the five categories below, then offer varying options for the types of driveway gates that you can get, which we will outline in a bit.
- Swing Gates
- Slide Gates
- Barrier Gates
- Vertical Lift Gates
- Vertical Pivot Gates
As mentioned above, these five gateway categories encase a number of different kinds of driveway gates. There are, for instance, more than a few types of slide gates that you can consider.
But don’t let all this scare you off, because it really isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and once we’re done explaining each of these gate types and where they go best, you’ll have a better understanding of the applications and considerations involved, and will be able to communicate your requirements to your gate installer without a hitch.
Automatic Slide Gates
Just as the name suggests, a slide door slides from right to left or left to right on wheels, or in both directions in the case of two sliding panels making up the gate. Most supermarkets and stores use slide gates at the entrance.
The biggest consideration when opting for a slide gate is the space you’ve got available, as these would require quite a lot. In order for the slide gate to be a practical option, you need free space that is equal to your driveway’s width and a few feet extra, on either the left or the right side of the gate. For instance, if your driveway is 16 feet wide, a 16 feet slide gate will need sufficient room at either side to fit its 16-feet heft, as well as a few feet in addition, so you will be looking at 19 feet of available space to be able to install a slide gate.
If this isn’t possible and your driveway doesn’t allow sufficient room on either side of the gate, then a slide gate is likely not an option for you.
Now that you have an understanding of what slide gates are and the most important consideration, lets have a look at the kinds of slide gates available for installation.
These are the most widely used slide gates, chosen for their reliability. Since the wheels move on a wedged V track at the bottom, this V track needs to be kept clear of hindrances and debris, making the gates unsuitable if your area gets lots of snow during the winters.
A V track gate will normally have to be 3 feet wider than the opening for the gate, so that an automated gate opener can be installed.
Rear Pipe Track Gates
Similar to the V track gates, rear pipe track gates also need to be 3 feet wider than the gate opening, and are mostly used on chain link gates.
But the way they need to be installed leads to an important consideration which your gate installer should already know of, but it doesn’t hurt if you do too. The back end of the gate holds two wheels mounted on pipes, that are in turn mounted to the panels on the fence. The front end normally constitutes a wheel carriage formation, with a single rubber wheel and a V track wheel.
Now, the consideration is that if you’ve got a slide gate with a rear pipe track installed already, and the front has two rubber wheels, you should replace one wheel with a V track wheel and track, before installing the automated mechanism for it to work.
If your area gets a lot of snow during winters, a cantilever slide gate is what you should be considering. These gates do not have wheels at the bottom that touch the ground, instead slide between wheels mounted on a vertical carriage on the side of the gate. They are, therefore, not affected by accumulated debris on the ground. Depending on how they are installed, and the placement of the roller carriages, you can either get ‘full cantilever gates’, ‘bottom track cantilever gates’, or ‘top hang cantilever gates’. Your gate installer can discuss this with you and help you pick the right one.
The most important consideration for cantilever gates is space, which they require a lot of; this becoming their biggest drawback. The gate has to be 50% longer than the opening of the driveway, which means that you will need a gate measuring 30 feet for a 20 feet driveway opening.
These gates work similar to regular doors inside houses, swinging open outward or inward. An important consideration when installing swinging doors that open outward is to ensure there is enough space in front of the house and that they don’t take up the sidewalk or the street, otherwise they may hit a vehicle or a passerby.
When in the market, you’ll find that you can get either single swing, or double swing gates. Single swing gates open up like a bedroom door, while double swing gates work similar to garden and patio doors, with two swinging panes next to each other.
Since these doors swing open, it is important that your driveway is level, and not rising up in places otherwise that will act as an obstruction for the gates. It is also preferable to install gates that are no more than 16 feet wide, although some gate installers specialize in gates up to 20 feet in width.
Often seen installed in front of mansions and compounds, double swing gateslook more appealing to the eye than single swing gates, as well as being easier to operate than their counterpart.
If your driveway is on a slope, more likely to happen if you live on a hill,‘uphill swing gates’ may be better suited for installation. You should keep in mind, however, that they are a lot more complicated to install than regular swing gates, and their installation should only be contracted to installers with experience of doing so.Other factors like the size, weight, and type of gate also need to be considered as these will determine the maximum slope the gate can be installed on.
If you are in an area that gets a lot of snow, or have an uneven driveway, you can also consider ‘lift and swing gates’. These make use of a hydraulic lift that lifts the gate before it swings open, which then continues to raise as it is swung open. These are ideal if you don’t have enough space for a cantilever slide gate, but will cost you a lot more than regular slide and swing gates as well.
You must have seen these at parking lots, toll booths, and other controlled areas. Barrier gates work as simple levers, pivoted at one end, where the other end lifts up vertically to let people and vehicles through.
As it’s just a metal rod going across the driveway, a barrier gate is not very costly to purchase and install, but wouldn’t offer much in terms of privacy and security, and is not very appealing to look at either. Because of this, these gates are only suitable for controlling vehicular and human traffic.
Vertical Pivot Gates
If you don’t know what they are, you may think them similar to barrier gates, which they are to a certain extent. But where the one above is merely a barrier in the middle of a driveway, these are actual gates, rising up to a height of 8 feet, or even more. When it’s closed, it’s like any other entrance gate, but rather than swinging or sliding open, it lifts vertically up on a pivot to let vehicles through.
The majesty of a vertical pivot gate when it opens up is a sight to behold, and it also offers more security than a barrier gate ever could. It is a good option to consider if your driveway does not have enough space, or doesn’t meet other requirements for a slide or swing gate.
Vertical Lift Gates
These can normally be found at industrial complexes or at entrances to warehouse compounds. This is partly because of the costs incurred in their purchase and installation.
These gates are huge, rise up to great heights to allow freight trolleys in, and work on a pulley mechanism, with both ends pivoted to a post on either end. When a vehicle needs to pass through, the pulley mechanism in the posts lifts the gate up from both ends to whatever height is needed, underneath which the vehicles can pass through.
Vertical lift gates provide heightened security and can be installed with virtually any kind of gate panel so they can be incredibly to look at.
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