Considerations When Choosing a Sliding or Swinging Gate for Your Driveway

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A driveway gate creates the entryway to your home, and thus it needs to enhance the curb view and to provide a secure barrier. One important decision you'll need to make is whether to install a swinging or sliding model. You may prefer one over the other aesthetically. However, you'll also need to consider several practical factors as outlined below.

The Flatness of the Ground

Is your driveway flat or hilly? This matters because inward swinging gates may not be able to fully open on an upward inclined driveway. The bottom of the gates may hit the ground, restricting them from opening wide. Whether this happens depends on the slope gradient. On a slight incline, a swing may still be possible.

If your heart's set on a swinging model, however, you'll have other options. Even though gates traditionally swing inwards to a property, you may be able to swing them outward, towards the downward slope. You'll need to check whether this is allowable in your local area as such gates will hinder people walking along the pavement. 

Another way to get around an upward slanted driveway is to design a gate that doesn't reach close to the ground in a way that accommodates the slope. Such a design, though, won't restrain animals, as it will have a gap underneath.

Gate Design and Wind

Is your gate a privacy model, consisting of continuous materials that can't be seen through? Alternatively, is it composed of tubular metal or slats, or a design that has gaps within the gate? This is important due to the wind. It can be challenging to swing open a continuous gate against the wind, as the design doesn't have breaks through which the air can flow. Even an automated model might struggle depending on the gate design and the windiness of your local climate.

Thus, if you're installing a solid gate, you might be better off with a sliding mechanism. Then, only the slim end of the gate will be pushing against the wind as it moves, which won't cause a wind-resistance problem.

Available Driveway Space

You'll also need to factor in available space when selecting a gate. Your driveway area might be flat, but small. When crowded with cars, it may not allow enough room for a swinging gate. In this case, a sliding model that shifts along the fence line may be better. If you don't have an available area along the fence, you could consider a bifold gate that pleats like an accordion as it opens.

Thus, while you may prefer the aesthetics of one over the other — a swinging or sliding gate — you also need to consider practical factors. The evenness of the driveway, the available space, and also the design of the gate and how it allows for wind flow will impact on your choice.

If you're interested in gates for your home, contact your local contractor.