Sliding gates vs swing gates. What is the recommended choice?
90% of the gates are sliding gates because they save space. This means that you don’t have a swing gate leading into a driveway. They also lock, once they have closed securely. Swing gates are very popular if you want the old world effect. They open rapidly, but because they don’t lock once closed as securely as the sliding gates, it is easier to push against the gate and gain access to the property. However, in 30 odd years working in this business it has been extremely rare for the gates to be forced open. I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened. In fact I have seen sliding gates open more often.
Sliding gates also have their problems. The thread that goes onto the machine can be broken off, this is a common problem. Often these don’t get fitted with anti-lift brackets which means that people can simply lift the gate and walk the gate along and get in, making the sliding gate, in fact,sometimes easier to force. The most common way to force a sliding gate is simply to put a car against them and push them until they break; especially if it is a flimsy gate. If a thief were to use leverage against it, they could create a space in the gate and slip in through the gap.
Both types of gates have their pitfalls.
Most decisions are based on the cosmetic appearance of the gate: the effect that you want your gate to give. The customer needs to weigh up what will work best for them. Cost-wise, a swing gate requires two motors, while a sliding gate needs tracking, wheels and a tooth rack. These aspects usually balance in the end in the terms of cost. You would need to make the decision based on what works best for your home.
Converting a swing gate to a sliding gate
If you have a swing gate but want to put a sliding motor on it, you can convert the gate by joining it and reinforcing it. It is usually not good enough to just weld it together. You need to put a thicker frame around it to secure it so that it doesn’t break in the middle or wobble around too much, put wheels on it, lay down tracking for it, as well as reinforce it.
One of the most important things with a sliding gate is to not skimp on the tracking. If you just put bolts or a couple of buttons into the paving, they will come loose. If you have driven over tracking that is a bit loose, you will have been able to see it move as you drive over it. This is because the track has come loose and is now moving around. Tracking has to be reinforced properly and put in the ground so that it stays securely in position. This will ensure that cars driving over it will not loosen it. This is good because it means that you won’t have to redo it in the future. If the tracking is done properly, it may cost more but it will stay in the ground permanently, saving you money in the long run.
What is the best type of gate to put in, wood or metal?
Metal is far more popular for a number of reasons. Wood is very expensive and requires treatment. If a metal gate gets rust on it, this is not very serious. It can be treated with rust converter and then paint. Once wood starts to rot, you have to get rid of it and redo sometimes the entire gate. For these reasons metal is more popular - it is cheaper and easier to maintain.
What is your advice for putting a motor on a gate that is on an incline?
Sliding gates should always run horizontally. If you have a powerful motor it can push up a slight downhill or uphill but generally this is not recommended. What may happen is your motor will be pushing a double load on the upstroke. When it is coming downhill it’ll be acting as a brake on the gears. This will mean that your gears will not wear evenly. On one side it will be wearing very heavily when it is pushing on the upstroke. And again, on the down stroke it will be acting as a brake. This would be as bad as if it was operating on a steeper horizontal. The machine has to be used in its proper context. While this may provide a solution to the problem of the slope it will increase the wearing tear on motor. This will mean that you will need to replace the gears every few years.