Automatic slide gates are popular for a variety of reasons. Sometimes called sliding gates or slide gate operators, these gates allow for more security, hands-free operating and an overall luxurious feel, like a castle opening the drawbridge for a returning royal.

However, if you are planning to install an automatic slide gate on personal, industrial or commercial property, you need to account for different factors to ensure that you get the best, highest quality and most secure gate possible. Read on to learn more about commercial slide gate operators, residential slide gate operators, slide gate operation and more!

Top Three Factors for Installing Automatic Slide Gates

For proper slide gate operation and performance, these are the top three factors.

Clearance and Space for an Automatic Slide Gate

In order for a slide gate to work properly, it needs adequate space for opening and closing. An Automatic Slide Gate is one that runs the moving portion of the gate laterally to the fixed fence.. Therefore they will require enough space along the fenceline to accommodate the gate when it is open without obstructions.

Make Sure to Measure Accurately

Measure twice, cut once…the old adage is as true here as anywhere else. Sliding gates are great for small spaces, as they don’t need space for a swinging gate or even a folding one. However, you want to be sure your measurements are correct before you consider ordering any parts.

Clearing Any Vegetation

If you have landscaping, trees or bushes near the fence where you want to install a sliding gate, they may need to be removed to allow for the gate to open and close. You might want to plan your sliding gate around beloved landscaping, or consider removing the foliage to make room.

Automatic Sliding Gate Weight and Size

Remember what we said earlier about measure twice, cut once? An automatic sliding gate is a big investment in your property, and one that can add value as well as security. However, that is only if the gate in question is properly functioning. Things to consider when choosing gate size:

Gate Height

Gate height is a factor that many people don’t consider, but is very important to planning and installation. The appropriate height of your gate depends on aesthetics, but also on functionality. For example, a secure commercial property may need a high gate for security reasons, or may want a gate just tall enough to prevent cars from parking where they are not supposed to. For residential automatic sliding gates you want to consider a gate height that both matches the fence and doesn’t block a good view or sunlight.

Sizing of Your Vehicles

If you are driving vehicles through your automatic sliding gate, you need to be sure that they can fit! This goes double for pedestrians, bikes, or anything else that you expect will be using this gate. If you are installing a commercial automatic sliding gate be sure to consider all the different types of vehicles your company may use including cars and trucks.

Gate Weight

Both fun to say and important, you want to follow all of the instructions and specifications of the automatic slide gate opener. Slide gates can vary quite a bit in how much they weigh, so you want to be sure you are getting a gate that is within the automatic slide gate operator’s specifications. This will ensure smooth and efficient operation, so do your research on your automatic sliding gate operator’s weight limit.

Automatic Sliding Gate Design and Materials Used 

What kind of material and design makes the most sense for your property? Read on to find out.

Automatic Sliding Gate Design

Gate design is not just about looks. What kind of automatic sliding gate you choose can affect the gate’s longevity and security, as well as how it looks on the property. Factors to consider include privacy, budget, local HOA restrictions and home style. Many private homeowners choose an automatic sliding gate that allows for airflow and visibility, but sometimes these gates do not provide the security needed. On the other hand, a solid metal gate can be an eyesore on private property, and might even get you in hot water with your local homeowners association. These are all things to consider when choosing an automatic sliding gate. 

Automatic Gate Design Materials: Pros and Cons

There are lots of different materials that can be used for Automatic Gate Design, and they have different pros and cons. It is important to factor these things in to find the right automatic sliding gate for your needs.

Steel and/or Iron Automatic Sliding Gates

When referring to metal sliding gates it is almost always steel and/or iron. Sometimes they can be made of aluminum, but we will discuss that more later. 

Pros of Steel and Iron gates

When it comes to security, steel/iron metal automatic sliding gates are the gold standard (no pun intended.) This is because these metal gates are weather resistant and can handle heavy rain, hot sun and freezing temps, which means less repairs and replacements for the user. 

Metal gates are also the top shelf for security for obvious reasons. While other gates could be breached, doing so with a steel/iron metal gate is almost impossible. That is why metal automatic sliding gates are perfect for commercial properties, industrial properties, and any other property that requires a high level of security. 

Another pro of metal gates is how easily they can be customized. A steel/iron gate can be customized to suit your tastes and needs with different designs and finishes. If you want it to be painted or powder coated to match the surrounding fence, that can easily be accomplished. If you want a solid steel gate or bars to let through air and sunlight, that is also doable. With steel/iron gates, you get the security you want as well as the style your property needs.

Cons of Steel and Iron gates

Steel and Iron gates are not perfect for every property. Here is why:

Remember when we discussed the importance of gate weight for your automatic sliding gates? Whether you have a commercial property or a private property, you need the gate to be the right weight in order to function properly. Obviously steel and iron gates are very heavy and require the appropriately strong automatic gate opener, as well as supporting surrounding structures, such as the fence. This extra weight can easily become an extra cost when you factor in the time and effort they take to install and run. 

All automatic sliding gates require regular maintenance, and this one is no exception. Whether it is updating the paint or replacing the automatic slide gate operators with something stronger and more capable of moving weight, steel and iron automatic sliding gates require work to be functional. There is also the process of rust proofing the gate, and fixing any areas that might be corroded. These gates are lower maintenance than some others, but the maintenance required is expensive. 

Overall cost is a factor as well. Because of their durability, security, usefulness and the quality of materials, steel and iron gates tend to be more expensive than their less secure counterparts. This includes the cost of installation, new automatic sliding gate operating systems and weather proofing the gate. This is something a budget-conscious person might want to consider. 

Aluminum Automatic Sliding Gates 

Aluminum is not just for foil! These gates are a great alternative to steel and iron, while giving the same look and security. Read on to learn the pros and cons of Aluminum automatic sliding gates.

Pros of Aluminum Automatic Sliding Gates

If you are looking for a lightweight option that still has the security of metal, consider aluminum. These gates tend to be a lot lighter than their steel counterparts, which is perfect for commercial or private properties that do not have the infrastructure or operators to support a very heavy metal gate. Lighter gates can also require less installation fees, as they are not as heavy.

In addition to being lightweight, aluminum gates can easily be crafted into what you need for your property. Aluminum gates are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes, matching whatever your industrial, commercial or personal property needs. They can be light and sleek or thick and imposing– whatever works for you!

Cons or Aluminum Automatic Sliding Gates

Aluminum automatic sliding gates have their drawbacks. These gates are much lighter than steel or iron, which means that they have limited structural integrity and because they tend to warp under stress and over time. This warping means that longer gates are not good for Aluminum. Aluminum may be a good choice for a smaller gate with limited use, but is probably not strong enough for a larger gate with frequent use. 

In addition, Aluminum’s lack of durability makes it a second-tier choice for security. Aluminum automatic sliding gates are not as strong as steel/iron gates, and therefore provide less security. If you are looking for a gate for a high security site, such as a commercial or industrial site, you might want to consider a more robust material for the gate. 

Finally, cost is a factor. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Steel and Iron gates are more expensive because of the materials and the impenetrable nature of the gate. Aluminum is also expensive, depending on what kind of gate you want and the finishes and designs you choose. It may be less expensive than steel/iron, but it is also less secure, which you should factor into your decision making.

Wooden Automatic Sliding Gates

The classic is a classic for a reason! If you want to feel like royalty in your castle or keep the rustic feel of your property, a wooden sliding gate is for you! Read on for the pros and cons of getting one of these sliding gates for your property.

Pros of Wooden Automatic Sliding Gates

When it comes to aesthetics, it is hard to compete with a wooden gate. Rustic, classic, medieval or sleek and modern– all of these can be achieved through top quality stained wood. This kind of charm is great for rustic, rural properties and for making sure that your gate matches your fence. It can also be beneficial in aligning your property with local HOA guidelines. 

Wooden gates can also be customized to your exact needs, and can even sport elaborate carvings and designs for the right price! Get your family crest hung on the gate, or even your initials! Wooden gates also tend to be lighter than metal gates, depending on the material used, which means a less expensive automatic door control kit. 

Finally, when it comes time to replace your gate a wooden gate makes it easier. Sometimes parts can be swapped out when the wood begins to show its age, preventing the need for a whole new gate. 

Cons of Wooden Automatic Sliding Gates 

The cons of wood gates are the same as the cons of any wooden structure. Wood erodes over time from weather conditions and sun, if not properly sealed wood can rot or host damaging insects, like ants, carpenter bees and termites. 

Wooden gates are also less sturdy and secure than metal gates. They are good for private property, but may not be up to the security needs of an industrial or commercial property. 

Finally, as anyone with a wooden fence will tell you, wood requires regular maintenance. Even with sealed wood, panels will warp and rot over time and require replacement. If this is not easy to do, you could find yourself spending a lot more than you would with a metal fence 

Automatic Sliding Gates 

With all these options, it can be hard to know where to start! Check out our website to learn more about Automatic Sliding Gates, and find the right sliding gate and automatic sliding gate operating system for you! 

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