Automatic gate systems add a luxurious appeal to your home and business, and they are also a reminder to passersby that you and your household value safety. Not all gates are created equal so it’s important that you take your time to select the right gate for your property’s needs.
You should make your automatic gate selection based on a handful of factors including:
- Reputability and reliability of the product manufacturer and installer
- Quality of materials
- Daily wear-and-tear
Things To Consider When Selecting Your Automatic Gate System
Here are some steps to guide you as you go about selecting the best automatic gate system for your property.
Who is installing it? Your first step is to figure out who you trust to install the gate. As with any contractor or vendor, you want to hire a company that is licensed and that has a good reputation in terms of quality and customer service. While your gate should be designed to work consistently and quietly for years on end, there are bound to be hiccups from time to time. Establishing a relationship with a respected automatic gate installer now will be invaluable when it’s time to perform routine maintenance, repairs and/or parts replacement.
Are there HOA regulations? If you’ve just moved into a new neighborhood, don’t forget to check your Homeowners Association CC&R handbook. Unfortunately, we’ve had plenty of clients who installed beautiful and expensive entry gates, only to find out they are in violation of the CC&Rs – meaning they had to rip them out and reinstall one that reflects the HOA’s guidelines. Don’t let that happen to you!
Sliding or Swinging? Most of the time, residential driveway gates are of the swinging variety. Sliding gates are much more expensive and require level ground in order to work well. Swinging gates come in single-leaf and double-leaf options. If you go the swinging route, you’ll have to consider the arc. These gates swing wide. If you have a steep driveway, you’ll need to ensure the gate is placed such that the leaf swings out from the property, and without obstructing oncoming traffic.
Landscape and Architecture. We always encourage our customers to select a gate system that blends with both their existing architecture as well as the landscape design and general surroundings. There are plenty of materials that can be used to “dress up” the columns on either side of the gate if you prefer to cover up the metal posts and equipment. Just make sure the column is strong enough to support your gate system for decades to come.
Which Gate Material is Best? Most automatic gates are made from either wrought iron, steel or aluminum. Wrought iron is the most heavy-duty option. Steel and aluminum are both lighter materials. Materials selection is an important consideration because the heavier the gate, the better the machine equipment and posts will have to be in order to support the automatic gate’s infrastructure and daily operations. Make sure you design a gate that takes all of these factors into consideration and that is sealed or finished with a product that matches your environment and surroundings. Failure to design and build a gate that takes the weight, dimensions, environmental factors, and daily operation into consideration will wind up becoming a maintenance nightmare.
Wood is also available for automatic gate systems. It is popular for the higher-end market because of its classic, aesthetic appeal and its versatility. Keep in mind, however, that a wooden gate will require more maintenance and upkeep in the long run than either of the metal gate options.
How Will Your Gate Be Powered? When you choose your gate, you’ll have the options to power it using an access control panel that is activated via electricity (AC), solar panels or battery backup. Most clients choose a combination of the three – or all of the above. The goal is to conserve as much electricity as possible via the solar panels, but with the reassurance the AC or battery power supply will kick in if the weather is cloudier or if the solar panels need to be cleaned or repaired.
If all goes well, you’ll only install a single automatic gate system in your lifetime. Contact R&S to make sure you make the right choice for your home and property.