Is It Possible To Add Gate Automation To My Existing Gate Or Gates?

If you want to automate existing gates that don’t have electric motors installed already, here’s our guide to what you can and can’t do.

If you have gates at the entrance to your driveway but they’re not automated, they are likely to be a single or pair of swing gates. Sliding gates are nearly always automated.

Many single manual driveway swing gates are designed like the 5-bar gates originally seen on farms. Finding out if these existing gates can be automated will require a visit from a gate automation engineer. They will assess your situation and find out what you would like and need from automated gates. This is what they are looking for in that assessment.

Automate existing gate

What Do You Need Before You Can Automate Existing Gates

To automate existing gates, the first check is that your existing gate moves smoothly on its hinges and does not hit the ground or any other obstacle as it swings fully open and closed. It will need to close onto a sturdy post, wall or pillar and its hinges will need to be mounted on a strong, immobile surface. If any of these don’t work smoothly or are not strong enough, they will need to be replaced.

The gate itself needs to be strong and rigid. Five bar gates are typically made from wood with gaps between the vertical, horizontal and diagonal sections. Unfortunately, wood rots and the five bar gate design is not particularly strong. So, if the gate has any weak areas or rot, these need to be fixed and the gate strengthened.

Automate existing gates motor mounting

What Problems Do You Face When Automating Existing Gates?

The main problem if you want to automate an existing gate relates to how the force used to move the gate is applied. With manual gates, you unlatch the gate and then open it from the end furthest from the hinge. You move the gate a longer distance but need minimal force. Even if a strong wind is blowing on the gate or the hinges are rusty, the principle of leverage is on your side. You are levering the gate open from the point furthest from the fulcrum (hinges).

Gate automation motors have to be mounted to a sturdy location near the hinge so that end of the arm that moves the gate is attached to the gate much closer to the hinge than the latch end.

While the motor arm moves a shorter distance to open the gate than you did when manually opening it from the latch end, the motor needs to apply more force to the gate. It is also applying this greater force through a small area where the motor arm is mounted to the gate. So, automatic gates need to have a stronger structure than manual gates as a result.

Driveway gates with automation

If the hinges are free and the gate doesn’t ground through its opening and closing, reinforcing a manual gate around the area where the motor arm will be attached and generally throughout the whole structure may be effective. The alternative is to have a new gate or gates that have been specifically made for gate automation systems.

If your driveway has cars parked on it just inside the gates or obstacles to the opening of swing gates such as a rising driveway, a sliding gate might be your best option. As we’ve already said, these are nearly always automated anyway.

Sliding gates are nearly always automated

So, How Easy Is It To Automate Existing Gates?

In most cases, automating existing gates is possible but troublesome. Many homeowners react to the issues created by this happily because they get to choose brand new gates rather than trying to make do with their old and tired existing gates.

If you’re thinking about automating existing gates, contact us now. We will give you a full breakdown of what will need to be done to add electric gate automation to your old gates and what new gates will cost. It’s then your choice but you’ll have the full picture.

Electric Gate Repair London