DOORS WEST INC.
 
1301 S. Jason Street, Unit F
Denver, CO 80223
 
Phone
  (303) 574-1419
Fax
  (303) 574-1469
Toll Free
  (888) 399-4232
Colorado's Choice For
Automatic Gate Systems

 

Gate Buyer
Guide

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Gate Buyers Guide

Contractor
Choose a contractor that is experienced and insured, and carries worker’s compensation insurance for their employees.  A contractor can easily supply proof of all these, don’t hesitate to ask.  Your contractor should be an established company that can readily supply references upon request.

Proposal
A good written proposal will cover most aspects of an installation. Important details to look for are: itemized list of materials and equipment; responsible party for supplying power and communication lines to the gate; project completion time frame; whether permits are included and the fees for those permits; extra costs associated with unseen obstacles or site conditions, such as boulders, tree roots, etc. Make sure you understand the proposal completely, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

 

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Compare Bids
When comparing bids from different companies, look at the complete job. Make sure that all installation materials such as wire, operator mounting methods, gate posts etc. meet or exceed manufacturer’s recommendations and take into account local environmental factors as well. Ask to visit the facility where the gates are made and compare materials and methods used in fabricating the gates.
Gate Drawing
A gate drawing allows you to see the gate as it would appear when finished. It should include actual design and dimensions of the gate, and the contractor should provide one for your approval prior to fabrication.

Site Plan
The site plan is an overhead view that shows where the gates, equipment, wiring, loops, etc. are going to be placed. This may be required when obtaining a permit.

Gate
Since gates are moving objects and are attached only at one end to the hinge post, they need to be made from heavier gauge materials than regular fence for proper support. The frame should be constructed of at least 2” square steel tubing, with pickets made from ¾” square steel tubing. The gate must have weep holes to prevent trapped moisture from freezing and causing the metal to deform.
Gate posts should be made from 6” x 6” square tubing with a minimum wall thickness of 3/16”. Posts need to be set below frost line, generally 36” or deeper.
Gate hinges should only be heavy duty, precision ball bearing type designed specifically for automated gates.
Powder coating is far superior to lacquer painting and will last for many years. Many colors are available to choose from, your contractor will be able to help select the one that’s right for you.

Gate Operator
The type of gate operator that is used on your system must be designed for the use it will see. This is where the experience of your gate contractor will be the most useful, as they will know which operators perform best under certain conditions. Important factors to consider are: swing or slide gate, size and weight of the gate, number of times the gate will cycle each day, power availability, environment, etc.
Actuator-type gate operators are great for most residential, farm and ranch, and light commercial swing gate applications. Each actuator will handle a gate up to 14’ in length and 400 pounds, although installation in cold or windy environments may reduce this capacity. This type of operator is DC battery powered, with an AC or solar charging system, and will operate normally in the event of a power outage, providing over 100 cycles of operation before requiring a recharge. Solar systems are ideal for locations where it is not possible or economical to run AC power to the gate, although solar systems don’t quite have the full system capabilities that AC powered systems have.
Commercial swing gate operators are used for high-traffic areas, and larger gates up to 18’ in width and 600 pounds, with larger gates possible with specialized equipment. These operators require AC power to the gate, and optional battery back up systems are available that will open the gates automatically in the event of a power outage. These operators can be integrated into any access control system, making them ideal for gated communities and industrial sites.
Commercial slide gate operators have the same features as commercial swing gate operators, and are used in applications where there is not enough room for a swing gate. Standard slide gate operators will handle a gate with a clear opening width of up to 20’ and a weight of up to 1000 pounds. Much larger gates can be operated with hydraulic drive operators, up to four tons are possible in some cases.

Access Control
There are many different access options available for both residential and commercial applications. Residential access systems can use garage door-style remotes, wireless keypads, programmable stand alone keypads, or residential telephone entry systems that use the home’s existing phone line to contact the resident. These systems can be used independently or in combination with other devices. Multi-family complexes typically use some type of dedicated telephone entry system that is PC programmable with each resident’s phone number, individual directory and access code, as well as devices such as remotes and card readers. Industrial sites can be as simple as remotes or keypads to open and close, or can use PC programmable controllers for remotes and card readers. PC programmable systems allow administrators to control user access based on security level, time and day.
Vehicle detectors, such as loops or probes, can be used to allow free exit from the property, exit can also be limited to remote control, keypad or card reader.

Gate Safety
More emphasis is put on gate safety these days than ever before. Therefore, it is important to have adequate entrapment protection in order to prevent accidents from occurring. There are two main classes of safety devices: contact and non-contact, and typically at least one of each is used for minimum recommended safety. Contact devices, such as current sensing circuits and safety sensing edges, react to physical contact with an obstruction; non-contact devices, such as safety loops and photo eyes, detect a vehicle’s presence and prevent the gate from closing. All gates require warning signs that are visible from both sides of the gate. Since driveway gates are intended for vehicular access only, a separate walkway or pedestrian gate is required for pedestrian access. Be sure to choose a professional gate contractor that will be able to answer all your questions regarding gate safety and recommend the proper safety devices for your particular application.