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When it comes to a property's security, automated gates can be a valuable addition.
They deter potential intruders and bring a wide range of benefits to the homeowner.
Installing them introduces style and convenience, as well as providing kerb appeal, helping your home to stand out from the neighbours.
In this guide, we take a look at automated gates to help you decide if they are right for your property.
A question frequently asked by people interested in installing electric gates is: How long will they take to install? Is there much disruption?
The answer to these questions depends on various factors.
First, the size of the gates affects length of time it takes to fit them.
Second, electric gates need a mains power supply which must be run underground from the house to the gates.
The third factor is the limitation of the site itself. For example, is access difficult? What is the topography? Are there any features in the garden that need to be removed?
If you have a straightforward layout, on level-ground and without many complicating factors, then the process is likely to be quicker, with disruption kept to a minimum.
When your qualified installer comes to do a survey, they will be able to give you an accurate assessment based on the site, and their own knowledge of how long similar installations have taken previously.
As a general rule, without interruptions, complications or the installer being called to deal with an emergency, an installation takes up to two days.
For example, the process might include:
The price for automatic gates varies significantly and is determined by the material, styles, size and design.
Larger gates cost more than smaller ones for the same design and material, for example.
Aluminium gates are comparable in price to hardwood gates, and require less maintenance.
The more ornate the style, the more expensive the gates are likely to be, while non-standard finishes or colours will also add to the cost.
You should also factor in the price of installation and how much your gates will cost to run and maintain.
Installation costs for electric gates change according to the type of gates, and the amount of preparatory groundworks required.
For example, groundworks might include pillars, posts, underground motor installation and drainage provision.
A qualified installer will be happy to give you a quote for installation, and to advise on what will be required for your specific project.
Electric gates don’t use much electricity, and their running costs depend on how much they are used.
Larger costs will be incurred from maintenance visits.
These vary depending on your chosen gate system, and how far away your preferred gate engineer is.
Sufficient maintenance to ensure reliable operation and a long life for your gates is likely to be around £150-£300 per year.
Perhaps you already have gates in place that still have lots of use left in them, and you’re confident they can be successfully automated.
A professional installer will be able to assess your gates and advise if they can be, and automating existing gates is usually cheaper than installing new gates.
The cost of automating depends on the automation kit you choose.
With an electricity supply in place, surface mount automation (either with rams or an articulated arm) is likely to be between £1,500 and £3,500 depending on the kit chosen and groundworks required.
Meanwhile, underground automation is likely to be between £2,000 and £4,500.
If you want to add intercom controls, then you should expect to pay between £300 and £400.
The type of automation kit you choose depends on how often the gates are going to be used.
For example, if your gate will open and close more than a dozen times a day - perhaps at a commercial property – then you must invest in something that’s able to cope with that workload.
The other part of a cost calculation for automating gates is installation.
Even if you are only automating existing gates, there will preparatory work required for your driveway.
It is possible to install automation kits yourself, but unless you have the necessary skill set, it’s not advisable.
A professional installer will ensure the job is done both correctly and safely.
The four most popular materials for automatic gates are wood, steel, iron and aluminium.
Each has their advocates and comes with advantages and disadvantages.
Many people prefer the natural look of wooden gates.
All gates require some maintenance, but with wooden ones those demands are higher.
Even with regular care, wooden gates will eventually deteriorate.
Another factor to consider with wooden gates is the weight.
Wooden gates are often heavy, so the force required to open and close them will be greater.
That means an automation kit must be powerful enough to do the job.
Steel and iron gates are longer-lasting and more hard-wearing than wooden gates, so require less maintenance.
However, they are also heavy and will require strong motors, hinges, locks and stops.
Aluminium is often the preferred material for automated gates.
It is light, durable, and needs only a minimum amount of maintenance.
The amount of power required to operate them is considerably less than that needed for wood, steel or iron.
There is also less strain on the fittings and the automation components.
Aluminium gate production techniques are improving all the too.
They can be manufactured to look like traditional wooden gates, or ornate wrought iron gates.
It can be hard to tell that wood-effect aluminium gates are not made of natural material unless you get very close.
For all the above reasons, we strongly recommend aluminium as the best material for automated gates.
Automatic gates are driven by powerful motors that normally only stop when the gate is fully open or closed.
So, what safety features exist to prevent serious injury or expensive damage if moving electric gates hit someone or something?
One way to address this issue is obstacle detection.
Infrared safety photocells are electronic safety devices that are used in pairs.
One emits an invisible beam of infrared light which is either detected by the other, or reflected back to the first. If an object breaks the beam, the photocells trigger the control panel to stop and reverse the gates.
Positioning pairs of photocells across danger areas ensures anyone entering while gates are moving interrupts the beam and stops the gates.
Meanwhile, 24Vdc gate motors feature obstacle detection, which causes them to stop and reverse when they encounter the resistance of coming into contact with something (or someone).
There is some variation in the time it takes for gates to open and close, depending on their size and the type of automation kit that has been installed.
A fast Nice underground swing gate motor can move a four-metre gate through 90 degrees in six seconds.
A fast sliding gate motor can move a gate weighing up to 600kg at a rate of up to 70cm/s.
Meanwhile, a standard sliding gate motor from Nice can move the same gate at up to 30cm/s.
At Linkcare, we can provide everything you need to have automatic gates installed at your property.
Our wide range of aluminium gates come in a variety of styles, colours and finishes and complement any type of home.
Whatever you’re looking for, our hard-wearing gates combine great looks with durability and good value.
Our automation kits are carefully selected using the feedback of our customers and a network of preferred installers.
A professional installer will ensure that there are no problems with your gate installation.
We work with a network of qualified installers across the UK, so we can usually recommend one local to you.
If there’s anything we’ve missed that you’re keen to find an answer to, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today and ask.
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