When it comes to gates for commercial applications, businesses have a wide variety of options from which to choose, depending on their specific needs. The site location, the frequency of use, aesthetics, and convenience all come into play for the final decision.
In this post we break down the pros and cons of cantilever versus swing gates, and discuss how gate automation can make life easier.
Cantilever Commercial Gate: Durable and Space-saving
A cantilever gate is one most people have seen at commercial locations. The main part of the fence rolls back to provide the opening for cars to move through. Cantilever gates can be constructed in chain link, a less expensive option and often used in industrial settings. Or, they can be made from ornamental iron, or a combination of steel and wood, to provide a polished look for places such as homeowners associations or individual residences.
The Pros of a Cantilever Gate:
- Easy to open, easy to automate
- If constructed correctly, will last a long time
- Can be automated or manual
- Sturdy enough to be constructed with a steel frame and wood finish for aesthetics
The Con of a Cantilever Gate:
- If the gate is automated, a maintenance plan is a must. This will come from the control access company who installs the lift. Mechanical lifts will require preventative maintenance (greasing wheels) and reactive maintenance (resetting after a power surge).
One thing to understand about cantilever gates is the size that’s required for operation. If there’s a 12-foot opening for a driveway, then half of that must be accounted for with a counter weight. So, a 12-foot opening will require a 18-foot gate. Always count on needing one and a half times the space for counter balance.
The specific construction of a cantilever gate matters. At Integrity Fencing, we use 2”x2” steel for the frame of a cantilever gate with 2”x2” flat rollers, ensuring a sturdy gate that has less play when moved. If smaller sized steel or rollers are used, the gate will swerve and sway from side to side when it’s closed manually.
The nature of a cantilever gate means that something called a Knox box is required. A Knox box is a small safe that holds the keys for a building or gate for fire departments and emergency medical services to utilize in emergency situations. Fire departments hold the master keys to all Knox boxes in their district. Integrity Fencing pulls the permit for municipal and fire Knox boxes for all commercial gates and receives the sign-off for installation.
Commercial Swing Gates: A Cost-Effective Option
Swing gates are a more straight-forward and cost-effective option for many commercial applications. Swing gates can be constructed in chain link, ornamental iron, or cedar.
The Pros of a Swing Gate:
- Perfect for a smaller opening
- Less expensive
- Less maintenance, no lift involved
- Can be automated
The Cons of a Swing Gate:
- Space is needed for the gate to swing open
- A bigger post is needed to handle the torque on the gate
When swing gates are used on a wide driveway, Integrity Fencing uses 5” or 7” barrel hinges so the fence can carry the heavy load of the long span. Self-greasing barrel hinges can hold up to 1,000lbs.
Combination Cantilever and Swing Gate: The Best of Both Worlds
It’s possible to have a combination of both a cantilever and swing gate. This can be a great option if a driveway is wide and the length of a swing gate would catch too much wind when opening and closing.
For example, Integrity Fencing installed a combination gate at a Domino’s Pizza facility that has 26-foot driveways. That width of gate would be too much in the wind and is a lot of torque on the post. We installed a 13-foot cantilever gate with a 10-foot swing gate. One part of the gate slides and the other one swings.
Combination gates allow you to realize the pros of both a cantilever and swing gate and shorten the span of fence that swings. Another benefit is that if it’s snowing and cold out and the cantilever rails are frozen, the swing gate can still be used.
Automated Gates Provide Ease of Use
Automatic opening can be installed on any type of gate. This mechanism can be powered directly, or with solar. However, solar is best for gates that are not opened more than four times a day due to the time the batteries need to recharge from the sun.
Handy automation options include key fobs, key pads for entry, and sensors to open the gate automatically. There are also add-ons available such as a cell phone call feature box in which you push a button on a gate and it will ring the owner’s cell and they can talk to the person and/or open the gate.
Creating a Custom Look with Your Commercial Gate
Just because it’s a commercial gate doesn’t mean it has to be ugly or industrial looking. Gates can be customized and be made with decorative features such as arches, and ornamental iron special features. Or, just adding cedar to a steel frame gate changes its entire look.
The Expanding Demand for Commercial Gates
In addition to their use in commercial and residential applications, automated gates are also being installed more and more in municipal situations such as fire departments, police departments, and schools. Many companies, organizations, and municipal buildings are seeking higher security for their parking lots and grounds. Commercial gates provide that security as well as a professional looking entrance.
With the variety of options available with both cantilever and swing gates, companies can find the right match for their site, and their budget.
Learn more about Integrity Fencing’s commercial automated gates