Features to Look for in Driveway Gates

fence contractors

Driveway gates come in an overwhelming array of styles, so it’s important to focus on the critical features that make for a satisfying long term purchase. Let’s take a look at these features, focusing on modern automatic driveway gates instead of manual ones.

How will your gate opener be powered, and where will the power come from? If your houses electrical mains are too far away, as is the case in most rural settings, you’ll have to rely on solar power. If you need a solar panel, you’ll have to ensure that any surrounding trees don’t block the sunlight.

Driveway Gate Materials and Build Quality

The materials and build quality should be considered before settling on the design of the driveway gate. Do you want wooden driveway gates, metal driveway gates, vinyl? Regardless of the fence panel material, posts should be installed at least 5’ deep to account for wind and any irregularities in slopes, and 5” square tubes of 3/8” thick steel is a good standard for a secure foundation. The tubes for the posts and the rest of the gate should be acid-washed and treated with primer. Acid washing ensures that the final paint job will properly adhere to the metal, and the primer protects the gate against rust. Fence panels made of hot dipped galvanized steel offer most of the look, feel and durability of wrought iron driveway gates at a much lower cost.

The style of gate will depend on your needs and priorities. Economy style gates are quite popular, since sliding driveway gates aren’t feasible for many suburban residences with narrow driveways where the house and the property line are only three or four yards apart. In this situation, a single swing gate is the most practical option. A typical model is a 12” gate reinforced with three cross-members, controlled by a swing-arm opener. This is the most common setup for a do-it-yourself installation. The cost of the gate and the controller (the hydraulic or electromechanical assembly that operates the swing arm) is often under $1500.

As implied above, swing gates usually require less installation and maintenance that sliding gates for residential purposes, unless you already have a fairly large fence to begin with, or live a a pronounced slope. Single swing gates are most often cheaper than dual swing gates by half, since you’re not committed to buying a pair of driveway gate openers. Unless you’re aesthetically attracted to the symmetry of the dual swing gate design, a single swing gate is usually more pragmatic.

Remote Gate Control Systems

Finally, consider what kind of remote access control you’ll want to control the gate. The simplest and most economical style is the one-button remote with a visor clip, like ones for garage doors. The next level would be a keypad controller, allowing the resident to leave the remote behind. The most expensive and feature-complete option would be a keypad with an intercom and camera, allowing the resident to verify guests and buzz them in.

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