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FAQ: Automatic Driveway Gates


Automatic Driveway Gate FAQ

So you have decided to purchase an automatic driveway gate-

but deciding on the various options can seem overwhelming. This blog is taken straight from the mouths of our clients- it includes the most common questions we get asked, plus some additional information we think  you may find extremely helpful!

 

1. Can't I just install the gate and opener myself?

Installing an automatic driveway gate is not a job we would recommend for anyone who isnt either an expeert, or bing observede by an expert.  The installation process is far more complicated than most people would expect- and involved some very in-depth understanding of the complicated opening systems that can be the difference between a working, safe gate and a non working gate, or worse, a hazzard to the well-being of you and your lloved ones.

 

2. What are my options for how the gate opens?

Automatic driveway gates come in one of 3 different configurations. These are : Sliding, Swing, and Dual Openers. Which one you need depends on the terrain around the area where the gate willl be installed. This is something you and your contractor should discuess at lthe time of your consultation. 

Different Opening Styles:

 

  1. Swing:

    swing-gate

    Swing gates usually work more quietly and have less repair issues because there are not as many moving parts as are found in slide gates. However, as stated before, the area where you are considering a gate opener may be small and tight, therefore, not suitable for a swing gate. Also, if the drive is on a slope, the swing gate would not be the best choice.

  2. Sliding:

    sliding-gate

    Many choose the sliding gate openers for their driveways because cars will be parked right inside the gates on the driveway. A swinging gate would not be suitable for a driveway gate because cars would have to be parked far enough out of the way to keep from getting hit by the swinging gate. The main issue sliding gates face is that they tend to have a higher instance of problems because they have many moving parts.

  3. Dual Opening:

    dual-opening-gate

    The dual swing gates open like a set of french doors. Since the length of the open gate is cut in half, it is often times easier to have this type of gate for residential driveways. 

 

3.  How will I trigger the gate to open or close?

 

This is a matter of personal preference- and heavily depends on the amount of traffic,a nd the amount of security you are seeking from your automatic driveway gate. For the most part- other than manual operation, you have 3 options for entry systems.

  1. Telephone Entry: Telephone entry systems are likely the most common type of security system installed for driveway gates. With a telephone entry system, each user is assigned a code which they input on a numberpad which is permanently installed near the gate entrance. A telephone entry system is an electronic communications system intended for limited or private dialogue, direction, collaboration or announcements. They can be portable or mounted permanently in buildings and vehicles. These systems can incorporate connections to telephones, cell phones and computers with running a web browser.
  2. Card/Key Fob: Usually paired with a telephone entry system, these systems require either a pre-programmed remote or a card to be swiped in order to enter  the premises.
  3. US Underground Sensor: This is the option with the least security, but the most convenience. This opening system is actually placed under groudn and uses a magnetic sensor to detect a car driving over it. Once a car is detected, the gate opens automatically

4. What kind of maintenance is involved?

The best way to avoid frequent maintencance needs, is to make the investment in a high quality starting product. For example, although there are mnay telephone entry systems available on the market, it is wise to not simply choose the cheapest option. Why? Because often times it is lower quality materials which lead to problems with driveway gates.  If you purchase mid-to high range  equipment, then your maintenance will look a little somethng like this:

  1. Wash and Wax your gate once a year to prevent paint from flaking off, and to keep your gates looking fresh and new
  2. Deal with Pests: Snails and slugs can destroy a circuit board in short order. The slime trails they leave behind become highly conductive with even the most minuscule amount of moisture.Spider webs with even the slightest bit of moisture on them can also conduct electricity and damage a gate’s circuit board. And bee’s nests and ant hills can rapidly corrode gate opener circuitry.
  3. Lubricate all moving parts quarterly: And it cannot be stressed enough- NEVER use wd-40 to lubricate the chains inside of your gate mechanism- despite popular belief, WD-40 is a cleaning agent, not a lubricant. Instead, use white lithium  grease.

5. What type of material is best to use?

This is another question that depends on both the intended use of the space, and your own personal budget and style requirements. There are pros and con's to every materiall- you can read more about the pros and cons of various gate materials at our blog.

Your main choices would have be between wood, steel, vinyl or wrought iron. 

6. Are there any safety features?

Through new, recent litigation, simply having a "reverse" function (which causes the gate to reverse direction when it comes into contact with an immovable object, after applying a small amount of pressure) is not enough. The industry standard is to have at least two safety features installed with every automatic gate. We talked about the 1st safety feature- which is that reverse function. Now, in order to comply with state or regional laws,- automatic driveway gates must have an additional feature- most often times a "photo beam" which is basically an infrared beam low to the ground, and if that beam is interrupted, the gate should stop and reverse.

There are a few other safety options available- but the reverse function and photobeams are the norm.

7. What if the gate stops working?

Well- If you get your driveway gate installed by us, you're in luck. Repair service: Our experienced technicians will repair your slide, swing or overhead gate, garage door or telephone entry system. Call today 866-750-7777.Our Service Charge for repairs, during regular business hours is $75.00. After Hours Service Charge is $125.00 and Late Night Service Charge (after 9pm) is $195.00. During regular business hours only, Service Charge would be applied towards the cost of repair. Contact us for a free over the phone estimate.

If you didnt have your gates installed by us, then you should contact the installation company. Never try to manually push open a stuck, or malfunctioning gate.

 

8. How long does a gate last before it needs to be replaced?

In all likely hood- you will face problems with the opener long before the doors are damaged. Typical lifespan of automatic driveway gate openers is about 10years- with 1-2 small repairs needed in the interem.

 

9. How much does it cost? 

A driveway gate by itself costs $1,400-$3,200; powering it to open by remote control costs an additional$550-$4,500 -- bringing total costs to $1,950-$7,700.

This is just for the gate panels- it doesnt include the cost of security features and entry systems. 

Automation kits that swing single-panel gates open cost around $850-$2,300.
Gate automation kits that swing double-panel gates[6] open cost $900-$4,500.
Kits that use solar power, have heavier motors to open bigger gates and include access controls are the most expensive.
Slide gates' automation kits cost $550-$2,150.
Access control units such as keypads, remote controls and intercoms cost $20-$2,000. .
Reversing mechanisms for safety upon exit can add an additional $150-$200.

And these prices do not include installation fees. So all-in-all you're looking at an average of around $10,000 to have a gate installed buy a professional, with the legally required safety mechanisms and up to date entry software. On the flipside of this though- is that studies show adding a driveway gate to a property can increase the worth of the home by 5% of the total retail value of the house. Much like other remodeling projects- it is an investment whcih not only provides safety for your family, but also adds equity to your home. 

10.  How long will it take for them to install the gate?

Generally speaking, if the process runs smoothly, it takes between 3-5 hrs to install a driveway gate. This, of course, does not include off site fabrication time, or transportation. The larger the project, the longer it takes- however- most automatic driveway installations take an afternoon from start to finnish.

 

In Closing:

Hopefully this article helped to answer any questions you may have about automatic driveway gates. You can always call us toll free if you have any other questions!

Call us at 1-866-750-7777 or contact us to set up a free in-home estimate