A USER GUIDE TO SPECIFYING A GATE
It can be difficult to know where to start. There is a bewildering array of options for a gate system, but don't panic, help is at hand. Most systems have been designed with you in mind, and the basic system will cover most of your needs. It just needs to be set to suit you. So long as you have listed your preferences, there may be no extra cost to the basic set.
The first advice is to start simple. If you find that you need an extra facility, some can be very easy to fit yourself. The Foresee wireless devices are simple to add. Just glue it to a wall, then press two buttons to programme it in.
Our universal wiring scheme also makes wire-in additions simple for any electrician. Changes down the line need not be a specialist trade. So the second bit of advice is to stick to a simple wiring plan that can be added to later with little disruption.
The third piece of advice is not to let your gate make you a prisoner (metaphorically speaking). You will have hear horror stories of about gates that break down, or are so unreliable that they are left open. Your gate may develop a fault, but there are simple guides to fixing it documented on this website. So the third tip is to get your installer to build in a fault recover process, so you will not become a hostage to misfortune.
An installer needs to know what you are going to be comfortable with. The rest of the page is to help you set your preferences. At the end of the page are some basic questions you may wish to consider. There should be answers on this site, or you can call our help line, or consult your installer to identify if you need any extras.
What is the purpose of the gate?
A first question is, why do you want a gate. You may have a gate already, or you are starting from a clean sheet. Commmon motivations are to keep pets or children safe, or even to keep out rabbits and deer who destroy your garden. These are low security reasons that may change the means of access to casual visitors. A common worry is that a closed gate is un-welcoming to visiting friends.
Higher security motivations are to secure your home at night or when you are away. A gate that is only closed when you are on holiday is a red flag to a thief, whereas a gate that is closed all the time tells the thief there are no easy pickings. Gates that block the view of the house and drive are a greater deterent to attempting a grand theft, but can also conceal a burglary in progress. A thief feels more confident if his/her escape route is clear. An unpredictable gate
Gate style considerations
What sort of a gate did you have in mind? It makes a difference to the type of motor to be used. The three common style choices are farm gate, boarded gate, or steel barred gate. All can be on a sliding track or on hinges. All gate be single leaves or double.
It is a common misconception that single leaf gates are cheaper than double leaf. In the long run, the disadvanges of a single leaf gate outweigh any gains. They are slower, take more room, need bigger motors, and have locking problems. The gate post also carries a far greater force needing stronger posts and foundation. Mounting a single gate on a brick pier? Don't even go there!
The gate style has determines the hinging, which in turn has an impact on safety provision. Fewer safety devices fitted means less cost, less wiring, and most important, less to go wrong. So always mount the gate on the back corner of a brick pier to reduce pinch points that need safety device protection. All three swing opener types can be fitted on this geometry, giving you more choice of opener.
Remote controls are standard in all sets. The wireless keypad and button require only minimal time to instal. Advice 1 says keep it simple, and advice 2 says lay cable for future upgrades. Cable running takes time, so be sure to put in enough cable for any eventuality, and preferably in ducts so extras can be pulled through if necessary.
Keypads are popular in UK, but other countries in Europe use keyswitches. A keypad can be upgraded with a combined keypad and intercom panel. It is definately worth running a cable to a keypad position using the universal wiring scheme.
Gates right up against a pavement have a higher responsibility for safety because the public can come into contact with them. Such gates can only open inwards. Planning officers like you to have good visibility before pulling out onto the road. If the site is on a busy road, automation is favoured by planners because the gate ca n be opened ready to drive through.
Consider any abnormal vehicles entering. Narrow entrances need to be set back from the road so the vehicle passes straight. If the driveway is short, the entrance needs to be wider, but then the open gate leaf will restrict manouvering in the drive. The best solution for short drives is a sliding gate.
Driveways sloping down to the road, or sloping across the road from side to side are a problem to any gate. The entrance is better levelled off before erecting the gates. Underground motors need good drainage, so may not be suitable on sloping driveways with poor natural drainage. This is more of a problem in rural areas.
Some questions to bear in mind
Keep in mind some simple questions to brief the installer
1) How do you let visitors in?
2) What happens if the gates don't open?
3) Is there good mobile phone reception in the area?