Driveway Gates Guide

A number of reasons exist for installing a driveway gate for your home or business. Whether your reason has to do with improved security, more privacy, creating curb appeal, or simply for architectural design, a variety of options needs to be considered when choosing the best company to install your driveway gate.

Your choices in design elements, driveway gate types, materials, operation, and even the accessories you want can all influence the final design. At LA Gates & Doors we want to make the decision easier for you, so we have put together this list of your options that includes the right materials. Our goal is make sure your gate is safe, effective, and easy for you to maintain.

Types of Driveway Gates

One of the first decisions you need to make with a new driveway gate is what type of material do you want to use. The material used has a huge influence on the function, design, size, the maintenance needed to keep it functioning.

Common materials used in stock and custom driveway gates include:

Steel – Powder-coated steel is the most commonly used material for driveway gates. It is easy to manufacture and customize, and due to its strength and durability it is an excellent choice for long-term use in home security.

Iron – Iron driveway gates, like steel, are highly durable and have a certain feel to them that some people prefer for their home exteriors. Just like steel gates, iron requires some upkeep and maintenance to preserve the look of your gate.

Aluminum – Aluminum is often chosen for driveway gates because it is more affordable than steel or iron and it is rust resistant. While it isn’t as strong or sturdy as the other two, the lightweight of aluminum makes it excellent for large gates as it is less likely to sag or become misaligned over time.

Wood – When it comes to flexibility in design or customization, wood is an ideal material for a driveway gate. Wood is great for changing the design, just by choosing wood based on its color or texture you can create a variety of options. The biggest problem with a wood gate is that it is heavier, depending on the wood you choose it can be more expensive, and over time it can warp or crack, which means more repairs.

Glass – A new trend in driveway and pedestrian gates is the use of glass. The great thing about a glass gate is it looks elegant and can be customized easily. We can add gold or silver to the glass for a classy, modern look, or we can finish the back side of the glass with almost any color you choose to create a unique look for your home. When installing the gate on your property, the steel frame is added first, then the glass goes on last.

Design Elements to Incorporate

The design of your driveway gate is about creativity more than functionality. While you may not be concerned with the look and curb-appeal of your gate design at first, there is one thing you should consider. A driveway gate that matches the architecture and ambiance of your home, along with the features of the property and landscaping will increase the value of your property.

Driveway gate design includes:

Custom designs around themes – Choosing a theme is a popular design when it comes to driveway gates. Choose one that matches the architectural style of your home, like gothic, European, modern, or a traditional western design. Or take a different route and go with something cultural or family oriented like a family crest, business logo, or other feature.

Color – Your choices for color customization are almost endless. For wooden driveway gates you’ll find color variations in the type of wood used, or you may want to paint or stain the wood to match your home. With metal driveway gates, such as those made from steel, you can easily get them powder coated in the color of your choice.

Shape – Driveway gates can be customized to just about any shape or design. In most cases, residential gates are designed with vertical pickets within a frame. Other than that, you will see some common themes in the shape such as the flat top (a simple rectangular gate), arch-top gates (with a gradual but smooth arch) and arch-top gates with finals (pickets that extend beyond the top like points)

How Secure are Driveway Gates?

The security of your driveway gate has everything to do with the type of gate you install, along with the materials and accessories you choose.

For example, a short and simple manually operated metal driveway gate offers only the most basic security when it’s closed and locked.

If maximizing security, along with safe operations and easy entrance and exit is what you are looking for, then you may want to consider an automatic metal driveway gate that uses accessories such as coded entry, magnetic locks, sensors for vehicles, and cameras and intercoms to effectively control inbound and outbound traffic.

Common Accessories for Driveway Gates

While an eye-catching driveway gate can go a long way towards complimenting your home or business, design is not the only thing to consider. Your choice of gate accessories will also customize the safety, security, ease of access to your property and the functionality of the gate itself.

Some of the most common gate accessories include:

Wireless intercoms – Adding an intercom system on your driveway gate allows you talk to visitors without leaving your home. And since it is wireless very little installation is required.

Card readers – Proxy card readers let you grant access to anyone holding the card and are great for tracking who is coming and going. These can be ideal for quick entrance access, especially where you can also program proxy card readers for the doors of your home and business.

Pin pads – Pin pads are some of the most basic security options. These include a mounted box that require a passcode to be entered before the gate can be opened.

Sensors – A variety of sensors can be installed, each with different functionality, like motion detection (for light and video activation), photo beams (for safety and to eliminate entrapment), and vehicle sensors (for entrance and exit without getting out of the vehicle).

Programmable timers – Timers can be added to automatically close and lock the gate, or open it, during specific windows of time.

Maglocks – Magnetic locks, or solenoid locks, can hold a tremendous amount of force, upwards of 1200 pounds, when electronically engaged. They are far more secure than generic locking mechanisms.

Remote entry – Set your driveway gate up with remote access so it can be opened or closed/locked using your phone.

Solar panels – Install a driveway gate that runs on clean energy to power your accessories

What To Consider When Choosing And Designing A Driveway Gate

Having a professional company, like LA Gates & Doors, install a driveway gate can be as easy as choosing a stock gate and having it installed, but in most cases, there are other things you need to consider as part of the installation process. When you choose a professional installer they will guide you through all of the information to help you choose the best gate to meet your needs.

Things to consider when planning your gate purchase and installation include:

Materials – Think about how you want your gate to look, the amount of maintenance it will require, the size and weight of the gate, color, and if you want a unique design. Remember, wood is heavier so it’s not ideal for larger gates. Steel is more durable but costs more than aluminum. A professional security gate installation company will help you make the right choice of materials that fit the style and landscape of your property.

Functionality – Consider your primary reason for installing a driveway gate. Is it just for security purposes or to enhance the curb appeal of your property? Do you just want to add more privacy to your home? The answers to these questions will help you determine the type of functionality you want from your gate. Do you want a swinging gate, sliding gate, or one that blocks the view of your property?

Accessibility – You need to decide if you want your gate to be a manual or automatic electronic driveway gate. Will you need more than one gate for a wraparound driveway, or perhaps a pedestrian gate for walk-through access or a door built within the gate itself. Do you need hands-free access to open and close/lock the gate? The ease of accessibility is a huge decision when choosing your gate.

Additional contract work – Whether you will need additional contractors, like landscapers or electrical, depends on the gate you choose. A good professional installer will be able to provide the necessary contacts with contractors they know and trust.

Safety – With any gate you want to ensure safe operation, and this is especially true of electric gates that open and close automatically. Consider pets and children in, and around your home or business. What kind of safety features will you need to ensure everyone’s safety? The Consumer Product Safety Commission has set minimum requirements for safe gate operations. If you’re not installing a driveway gate with quick access for emergency personnel, know beforehand how they will be able to get access to your property in an emergency. Your installer should be able to help guide you through the code requirements in your community, many of which require emergency access boxes.

Working with Professionals for Installation

When it comes to installing a driveway gate you should choose to have it done by a company that is experienced in the full skill set needed to complete this type of project. Choose one that is knowledgeable in the security hardware and software of the components being used, electrical, landscaping, footing, masonry work, and metal fabrication. By using a professional you reduce the chances of improper installation, or components failing which could lead to expensive repairs later.

Your driveway gate installation technician will walk you through all of the critical steps to make sure that nothing gets missed. This allows them to create a plan of the work needed and provide you with an accurate estimate, so you get the driveway gate that best fits your needs. Here’s what you can expect when working with a professional:

Step 1 – Meet with your contractor for a design consultation to review needs and answer questions

Step 2 – Review design ideas along with material recommendations and accessories

Step 3 – Review estimate for installation which will include managing any necessary contracted specialists

Step 4 – Sign agreement to authorize the agreed upon work to begin

Step 5 – Property preparation, setup, and fabrication which could include grading and ground levels, holes, wiring, and any custom gate designs

Step 6 – Installation and testing of all functions including safety elements, locks, and other accessories. This also includes alignment and leveling for proper operation.

Automatic Gate Repair Guide

Whether you have an automatic or a manual driveway gate, eventually it will need some kind of repair, service or maintenance. A professionally installed driveway gate is made to be durable, and should last a long time, sometimes problems, like mechanical failures, vehicle or weather damage, and normal wear and tear will occur.

To avoid compromising the safety and security of your home and family, and reduce the cost of repairs, follow this guide to identify common causes of gate failure and when you need to call a professional gate repair technician.

The difference in driveway gate repairs

Driveway gates can be as unique as the properties on which they are installed. While you can find stock designs and prefabricated gates at the big box retailers, sometimes a custom driveway gate is needed due to landscaping, the shape and size of a driveway, or even your preference in style and design.

The complexity of types of repairs you may need depends on the type of gate you have installed.

A manual gates does uses simple mechanics to open and close it, like rolling along a track or opening on hinges like any other gate or door.

Automatic (electronic) driveway gates are a little more complex, depending on the nature of the repair and the other accessories built-in as part of the operation, like vehicle detection systems, keyless entry, computer controlled systems, wiring, hydraulics, and more.

Repair and maintenance is inevitable for any driveway gate

Regardless of the materials, design, type, or size of the driveway gate you have installed, at some point you will need some kind of repair service. While quality, professionally installed driveway gates require little to no maintenance there are still problems that may arise.

Normal wear and tear that comes from standard operation eventually results in repairs needed to the tracks, hinges, latches or other elements, but there are other causes for driveway gate service and repair.

Common causes of driveway gate failure

Harsh weather or weather damage – Although most driveway gates are very durable, extreme weather can cause weakened or damaged parts. This can come from downed trees and branches, lightning strikes, high winds, debris, etc.

Improper use – Any use of a gate outside of its intended purpose can lead to stress of the mechanical and electronic systems causing premature failure and damage.

Uncommon conditions or events – Repairs may be necessary when accidents or damage occur from things like vehicle collision or natural disasters like earthquakes or fires.

Electrical failure – With automatic gates a number of electronic systems can fail, like the wiring, electrical connections, maglocks, and other accessories such as keypads and sensor bars. To make sure these safety systems do not fail, it is important that you monitor them.

How to tell when your driveway gate needs repair service

With all the possibilities that can cause gate failure it is important for you to know the signs that could indicate a need for maintenance and repair. If you spot any of the following issues you should reach out to a professional gate installation and repair company to inspect your driveway gate as quickly as possible.

Grinding or grating sounds when the gate is opening or closing

Latch failure, for example the gate does not close completely

Misalignment of gates to one another

Cracks, breaks, or visible structural issues

Lack of response in automatic gate operation when opening or closing

Resistance when opening or closing a gate

Sensors failing to detect vehicles, or safety sensors not halting operation when motion is detected while closing

Driveway gate latches but does not lock (such as maglock failure)

Gate won’t stay closed (swings or rolls open on its own)

Obvious electrical or operational issues with automatic gates such as the gate opening and closing on its own

Dings, dents, and weathered appearance

Why choose a professional for gate repair services?

A properly installed driveway gate should give a homeowner or business very few problems. Sadly, not all contractors are the same and some may cut corners during installation or when ordering parts.

Even manual driveway gates can be complicated to install correctly and require experience and skill for installation. The same applies to repairs.

Both manual and electric driveway gates use heavy materials, with many gates weighing several hundred pounds. Trying to repair it yourself, or hiring an unskilled contractor, could result in additional damage including injury to yourself or others. You could also see abnormal wear and tear result from improper installation.

More risks could be involved if you try to repair an automatic gate yourself due to the electrical components involved. These types of gates should only be repaired by a certified, professional technician.

When you work with a professional, skilled driveway gate installation and repair contractor you can be assured that the service and parts are guaranteed, the proper parts will be used, and the contractor won’t take shortcuts to get the job done quickly.

A professional repair service is a smart investment that will save you time and money because your gate will be fixed right the first time, and your driveway gate will last you for years to come.

Tips for choosing the right gate repair specialist

  • Ask your friends, family and neighbors for recommendations
  • Check references from past customers to see if they were happy with their repairs or installation.
  • Find out how long the company has been in business.
  • Is the technician asking questions and actually inspecting all of the gate’s components?
  • Do they offer a service guarantee that includes replacement parts?
  • Are the options they offer you realistic, or are they suggesting more work than what is needed?
  • If the technician’s recommendations don’t seem realistic, be sure to get a second opinion.
  • Can they do the work in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Will the work be subcontracted?

Finding the Right Gate Repair Company

It is worth the time to do a little research when looking for a driveway gate repair company. A little time now can save you hundreds of dollars later. By choosing the right company for the job you can feel comfortable knowing the best parts are being used and that the work is guaranteed so if something goes wrong the contractor will take care of the problem for you.