Can I automate my existing gate?

Can I automate my existing gate?


The simple answer is that some manual gates can be automated but many will be more work and cost to bring them up to scratch.  This really comes down to design and strength of your gate, posts and hinges or wheels. It is often better and cheaper to start from scratch with a custom made gate, but lets look at some of the considerations.


Wooden Gates

Generally professionally made solid wooden gates can be automated. If you gate is not super ridged and difficult to move by hand then is not recommended that you automate it. The best solution is to look at getting a new gate fabricated that matches your fence. Here at FenceLab we have made many aluminium gates like the one above that look like they are made of timber but have great durability, are lightweight and never need to be repainted.


Posts and Hinges

Automated gate posts and hinges need to be a lot stronger than those of manual gates. This is because the motor puts a lot of additional force on them. Even a smaller swing gate motor will exert about 150 - 200kg of extra force on the post and hinges. FenceLab recomends wooden posts less than 200mm square should be replaced with steel or aluminium posts of no less than 100mm square. Larger swing gates will need a 125mm or 150mm square post. Our team have excel tools designed by a qualified engineer to help specify the right size post for your height, width and weight of gate.


Gate Design
  • Swing gates will need at least a 50mm square frame and a thick enough frame to bolt the motor to.
  • Sliding gates will need a straight track running across the driveway and a bottom rail that is thick enough to bolt the gear rack onto. 
  • With PVC gates, the bottom rail for a sliding gate will need to have a steel insert in it in order to attach the gear rack. If this is not here you will struggle to automate the gate. The same will apply to swing gates here the frame will need to have steel throughout it.

    Can I DIY?

    We don't recommend a DIY approach to gate automation. In all instances a professional installing company will be able to give you the best advice . Most will give free quotes and will be happy to give you the best advice on this subject. We don't install gates here at FenceLab we deal with lots of reputable installation companies and we will be happy to put you in contact with them . 

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