Automatic Sliding Gates – the Space Saver!

Next item on the exciting subject of electric gates, we have Automatic Sliding Gates.

Starting with, what is an automatic sliding gate anyway? In it's most popular form, its a large single gate leaf, that simply slides to one side to open. However, it can be made in two separate leaves that slide, one to each side - parting in the middle.

Large Hardwood Sliding Gate

We installed this large hardwood sliding gate in Newry, Co. Down

For the vast majority of cases (more than 95% of the sliding gates that we have fitted), they will be a single sliding leaf. To open the gate will slide back behind the hedge or wall that runs parallel to the gate. The gate runs or slides on rollers, that are guided on a steel track. the track is the full width of the opening and extends by the same distance to the side that the gate is to slide to. On the inside of the gate - out of sight - there will be a set of support rollers that are there to keep the gate upright.

The guide track that the gate runs on must be as level as is possible - so that the gate will not slide open or closed on its own - as would be the case if there were a gradient on the track...

A sliding gate is a popular choice for homes in urban settings - where driveways tend to be shorter and parking space may be at a premium. As a sliding gate does not impinge on the driveway to open or close, it will not take up any space that could otherwise be used for parking a second or maybe third car... However, a swing gate opening may require 1.5 or 2m of space in the drive to open and close (swing space).

Another situation where sliding gates are popular, is where the drive is on a steep gradient. If that were the case, and swing gates were to be used, there may be a large space below the gates - to facilitate the incline on the driveway. However, a sliding gate does not require any space below the gate, as it runs just 10mm above the guide track. This means there is no issue with rubbish being blown in under the gate, or small dogs escaping, balls running away, etc. It also looks neater than a large gaping space too.

Any existing sliding gates that were manually operated, can be converted to automatic sliding gates without modification.

There is another variant on the sliding gate - called a cantilever sliding gate. It's a little more complex to explain, so I will cover it in another post on its own.

The last point to make on this subject is that automatic sliding gates can be wrought iron or solid hardwood. Or they can - as we very often make - be a galvanised steel frame and clad with the hardwood timber of your choice. The reason for this is to make sure that the gate maintains its structural integrity (it won't twist or warp over time - as can be the case with a solid timber gate).