Electric driveway gates, also known as automatic driveway gates, are gates which use an electric motor to open and close the driveway gate without your having to get out of your vehicle to manually open the gate. These gates offer convenience and added security.
Automatic gates are controlled via a keypad, a keycard, a remote control, or with motion detection. They typically open and close within 20 seconds unless prompted to stay open.
Why Install an Electric Driveway Fence?
Electric gates have been increasing in popularity over the years. They are particularly popular with gated communities, resorts, businesses, and affluent homes. The very first electric gate was installed in 1881, for a railway crossing in Canada. First popular with apartments, they have become increasingly common for homes as well. Electric gates have a number of advantages over manual gates for the following reasons:
One of the main benefits of electric driveway fences is their ability to enhance the security of your property. With automated entry and exit, you can control who enters your property and easily keep unwanted visitors out.
Have you ever had to get out of your car and open a driveway gate in the pouring rain? Or late at night when it is dark? Electric driveway fences offer convenience as you don’t have to open or close the gate manually. This is particularly useful during inclement weather conditions.
Increased Property Value
Many home buyers see automatic gates as a desirable feature, which can increase the value of your property. This means that in addition to enjoying added security and convenience while you use the electric gate, when it comes time to sell, at least some of the cost can be recouped with a bump in your property value. On average, an electric gate can increase your home’s value by as much as 5%.
Enhanced Safety Features
Electric driveway gates have photocells or safety sensors around the opening and closing path. They emit an invisible beam of light alerting any obstruction in the pathway. The obstruction causes the gates to halt immediately, protecting the person or object passing through.
Integration with an Access Control System
An access control system is an advanced security system. For residential and commercial purposes, this system can supervise entry and exit. The use of authorized credentials such as remote controls, keypad entry, and intercom systems allow entry into the area. Other forms such as apps and. card readers are especially popular as a modern day system.
Factors to Consider
Before installing an electric driveway gate, consider these factors:
There is a cost to both the installation and maintenance of an electric fence. The cost of installing an electric driveway fence can vary depending on the size, design, and additional features. It’s important to consider your budget and find a suitable option that meets your needs.
Typically, electric driveway gates around 12 to 18 feet wide range from $1,000 to $6,000. Exclusive to material type, the larger the gate, the higher the costs. The cost of aluminum gates spans between $2,000 and $6,300. While this may seem expensive, the rate of return for aluminum is higher due to its durable material with minimal maintenance and damage.
Other factors affecting costs would be additional equipment for electric gates and labor. For example, keypads, gate openers, and sensor types are not usually included in the original installation process. Added security measures and advanced technology can make this project costly and labor consuming.
Homeowners with DIY experience potentially save about 50% of installation costs of driveway automation kit. The average rate of a kit is $450 – $4,500. However, a professional hourly rate costs about $30 – $80 per hour on top of the installment fee and other add-ons. Professional rates tend to be more expensive with added labor charges or installation errors.
Like any other mechanical system, electric driveway fences require regular maintenance to function properly. This may include lubrication of moving parts and checking for any damage.
Over time, wear and tear as well as weather conditions affect the condition of the gate. Depending on the type of material and repair, the costs range between $500 to $1,000 which is relatively low compared to installation costs. Maintenance includes painting, structure replacement, staining, or cleaning.
Your Property and Layout
When planning for a new driveway gate, include the slope of your terrain, obstructions, and the size of the driveway. We recommend contacting professional contractors for a consultation. One size does not fit all, but a professional will design a gate best fit for your driveway.
At First Fence, we value the time and money of our clients. We follow a step-by-step process to ensure a seamless understanding of the property and project. While this is a major decision, we want to make this as simple as possible.
We all want to feel protected in our homes. The level of security is one of the most important factors to consider. It can also depend on the residential area and crime rate. In an area of high crime rate, consider a type of access control system providing real-time security measures for entry.
Operating systems such as obstacle detection, safety sensors, and locking mechanisms, are some examples to reduce security risks.
Other safety measures such as manual release mechanisms, warning signs, and a backup power source could also be helpful.
Choose a Power Source
Gates can connect to the electric grid of your home. As another source, installing solar panels is another great way to use natural energy to power the automatic gate. However, if you do not live in an area with ample sunlight exposure or tree blockage, this would not be ideal. Consider other sources of power such as solar power, wind power, or hydraulic energy.
Styles of Electric Gates
The right kind should suit your lifestyle and home design. Ensure it’s an excellent fit for your topography as well. It is best to use a functional design for practical purposes. However, if curb appeal is most important, functionality may not be as regarded.
Functional design is different based on each property. There is an option for everyone.
These are the common types:
- Move on wheels tracking across driveway. Either one gate door sliding across or two gates meeting in the middle
- Consists of one or two gates supported by hinges connected to large columns
- Folds inwards connected to brackets. Great for visibility and ventilation of a large building or warehouse.
- Lift upwards and usually installed on properties with minimal space and sloped terrain
Before choosing any of these electric gates for your driveway, it’s essential to consult with a professional first. For instance, if you live on a sloping topography, sliding gates are not ideal for your landscape because of gravity. A professional is able to correctly identify the topography and how to execute the installation of the fence.
Common Materials for Electric Gates
Electric gates are manufactured from a variety of materials, each offering distinctive benefits in terms of aesthetics, durability, and maintenance. Some of the most common materials used include:
Aluminum Electric Gates
Aluminum gates are lightweight yet sturdy and are resistant to rust, making them a suitable choice for areas with humid or maritime climates. They also require minimal maintenance and can be easily molded into various designs.
Metal (Iron and Steel) Electric Gates
Known for its strength and durability, metal, particularly wrought iron and steel, is a popular choice for electric gates. These gates are resilient to harsh weather conditions and offer a classic, timeless look to any property. One of the downsides – metal is very heavy. The heavier the material, the more voltage is required to power the gates.
Wooden Infill Electric Gates
Wooden fences are timeless, and they blend well with a variety of styles and landscapes. However, wooden gates require regular maintenance to prevent decay and warping. Wood electric gates are what is known as infill fencing, where the wood is encased within a metal or aluminum structure. Like iron and steel, wood is very heavy. Additionally, the weight of the wood increases when wet. This may be a consistent problem in the rainy season.
Additional Common Questions when Considering an Electric Gate
When people consider installing an automatic gate opener for their home, they often have several common questions and concerns. Here are some of the typical questions that arise:
What Types of Gates Are Compatible with Automatic Openers?
- Understanding whether their existing gate can be automated or if they need to invest in a new gate is a common question.
Can I Install an Automatic Gate Opener Myself?
- DIY enthusiasts might inquire about the feasibility of self-installation, but it’s essential to understand the complexities involved.
What About Power Outages or Emergencies?
- On every gate, there is a manual release option to open the gate by hand. Be sure to know where and how to operate in case of a power outage or mechanical emergency
Do Automatic Gate Openers Come with a Warranty?
- All automatic gate openers come with a factory warranty for the product. This is exclusive to batteries.
Are There Local Regulations or Zoning Laws to Consider?
- Regulations based on height, design, and proximity to the street all depend on location in Georgia. Check with your HOA and local authorities before the installation process.
Are they noisy?
- Typically, no. Some gates generate loud noises due to wear and tear of the motor and gears.
What’s the Lifespan of an Automatic Gate?
- A high-quality and well-installed automatic gate can last up to 15 – 20 years.
Choosing suitable electric gates for your driveway involves education and careful consideration. By considering your budget, privacy, maintenance, security, and long-term plans, these will aid in determining the right choice.