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Sliding Gate Design (Styles & Materials)

Here we explore sliding gate design including what it is, benefits, different styles, modern design elements, materials, hardware, and cost of sliding gates.
Exterior house fence with metal sliding gateGates are important parts of homes and businesses that bring in added security and contribute to the aesthetics and overall curb appeal of the home.

When choosing a sliding gate design the first consideration is its design. The usual choices are deciding between a swing gate or a sliding one.

What Is A Sliding Gate?

Driveway with a metal sliding gate and automatic gate openerFor starters, what are they? Sliding gates can operate with either a track or without one (trackless). You get to open and close them from one side to the other. The best part about these gates is that when they’re “open”, they look like they’ve been “tucked away.”

This is in contrast to traditional swing gates, which occupy space depending on the direction that they swing towards. These gates are also easily automated which makes it understandable why they are so popular for residential and commercial uses alike.

What Are The Top Benefits Of A Sliding Gate?

Concrete driveway with black sliding gate designThey save space: Sliding gates can be a godsend for irregularly shaped or small types of driveways for the fact that they can fully function without ever eating up space.

You get to have all of the luxury and benefits of having a gate installed without ever needing extra space for where your gate can swing or arc to when they are wide open. Even the smallest driveways can be gated with little to no trouble at all. 

They last longer than swing gates, especially for sloped properties: This is simple enough to understand. When on a sloping location, swing gates tend to get a lot of tension because they bear the whole load of their weight when they swing open.

Gravity pulls them down some more and eventually, this leads to issues of accelerated wear and tear. The same can be said with swing gates being in windy locations. They tend to take up way more abuse than necessary and this can shorten the life span of your gate.

This isn’t the case with sliding gates though. They effectively skip over this issue altogether since their opening motion is side to side and not in a swinging motion.

They’re durable and customizable: This is similar to most gates but a sliding gate design, in particular, has more to bring to the table when it comes to aesthetics and customization.

It has a very elegant, somewhat premium look and feel to it and it can definitely bring up the overall real estate value of your home further down the road. So when you come to think about it, investing in a sliding gate can reward you further down the road should you decide to sell your property.

Different Variants Of The Sliding Driveway Gate

House exterior with driveway sliding gate, pitched roof, and skylight windowsHere we share the different types of sliding driveway gates.

Sliding Fence Gate (With Tracks)

Sliding fence gate made of metal and painted whiteThis type of sliding gate variant is recommended for properties that have a need for a fairly wide entryway (such as 6 meters and above). This is oftentimes for basic industrial applications. They are highly customizable and can be fully automated, of course.

They offer far better security than swing gates. Sliding types of fence gates that run on tracks actually have 2 other variants under them: the single track and the bi-parting track. The single track variant opens on one side whereas the bi-parting track opens from the middle. 

Sliding Garden Gate

House exterior with sliding garden gate made of woodGetting a sliding gate installed in the garden is both smart and convenient. It’s far more ergonomic as you get to have better use of the space and you don’t have to worry about getting any pots or garden furniture knocked out of the way, which is usually the case with gates that have swinging mechanisms.

On top of better space utilization, a sliding garden gate will also ensure that you get to showcase the beauty or the aesthetics of the inner part of your property while still providing a layer of security by not getting it completely exposed from the outside. So it’s still aesthetic but it’s still solid enough to act as a deterrent against intruders. 

Cantilever Sliding Gate

Residential driveway with cantilever sliding gate, car, and hedge plantsThis type of sliding gate design is also known as the trackless gate. Another nickname that it goes by with is “hanging gate”. How this type of gate functions is that it has mechanical bearings that are concealed in place of the wheels that are being used in the track version of the sliding gate.

The entire weight of the gate is balanced on two hangers; hence, it really has no need for a track at all. And because its entire operation is completely trackless, what this means is that it generates little to no friction at all.

This reduces the pull force on the gate, which means the sliding gate has less wear and tear, a far longer life span than usual, and way less maintenance. 

Telescopic Sliding Gate

House exterior with telescopic sliding gate made of woodSee this telescopic sliding gate set at Amazon [sponsored link]

This type of sliding gate is designed specifically for very compact driveways or parking spaces. How it works is that it splits out into multiple panels (initially coming from a single big one). The movement is in a telescopic pattern, hence the name for this particular sliding gate variant.

This gate variant works on a track. If you have a small driveway, the telescopic sliding gate variant is definitely one to keep an eye on as it saves 40% more space and is more compact compared to the rest of its sliding gate relatives. It comes in three variants, depending on the number of panels or “leafs” it breaks up into: two-leaf, three-leaf, and four-leaf.

Sliding Folding Gate

Sliding folding gate made of wood for residential propertiesThis is considered to be the most secured out of all of the sliding gate variants. It’s aptly nicknamed as “crash rated gate” in some instances. This is because this sliding gate is specifically designed and engineered to sustain and stand up to heavy vehicles crashing against it.

It is built to take in that kind of impact. This provides heightened security and safety to those who are inside. This type of gate is usually used as a perimeter for high-value properties or properties that contain highly valued assets.

There are also certifications for this type of gate and they’re required to pass them to ensure that it is up to par with industry standards at all times. It also has higher-end features such as high corrosion resistance, infills, a magnetic lock that’s fully integrated, and so on.

DIY Sliding Gate

House driveway with DIY sliding gate and painted whiteGates are fairly simple mechanisms in theory. If you’re a bit handy with construction, this is something that you can do yourself. Here are some basics you’re going to need before you get started:

Now for the materials, this can be completely up to you. You can opt for a full steel or metal sliding gate or you can opt for a wooden one. Like we said, it’s all up to you. There are so many designs to choose from so make sure that you zero in on one particular item before you purchase your needed materials based on the specific design that you’ve actually decided on. 

Even if you happen to be a bit handy with the tools though, it would still be easier and far more convenient to just opt to buy a DIY sliding gate kit. These kits already come with all of the moving parts and materials and even tools you could possibly need for the installation of your sliding gate.

It will also end up costing you far less money. If you opt to build a sliding gate from scratch, from the raw materials, not even counting the time and labor it requires from you which is unaccounted for most of the time, it will cost you anywhere from $3000 and upwards.

On the other hand, most DIY sliding gate kits range at around $1,800 or so. So when you come to think of it, it’s more convenient and efficient, plus, it costs less.

Modern Sliding Gate Design

House exterior with modern sliding gate design, pitched roof, windows, solar panels, fence, and hedge plantsLooking for a sliding gate design that’s updated or modern is fairly simple. There are a few features that you ought to keep in mind when you’re looking around for the perfect one for your home or business:

Security: Look for something that’s made out of solid materials, such as sturdy cedar wood or metal. A sliding gate needs to be solid and durable enough to deter intruders from breaking into your property.

Durability: Invest in a modern sliding gate design that’s of the highest quality. This isn’t the type of investment that you could scrimp out on. Aside from its security, you also need something that’s tough and durable enough to perform its functions day in and day out.

You also need it to be long-lasting enough to last you over the years. A gate should be a one-time type of investment and not something that you should be maintaining and updating all the time.

Usability: The next thing you need to consider is its ease of use. The security level provided by a modern sliding gate design is based on how quickly you will be able to get it to open and close. The design needs to be something simple enough and straightforward enough for you or for anyone else in your home to control and access at any given point in time.

Reliability: All modern sliding gate designs require some time of periodical maintenance to ensure that they’re always functioning and operating up to their optimal level. Think about add-ons to the material such as powder coating on the steel materials to protect it against corrosion and rust.

Keep in mind that since all gates are outdoors, they are heavily exposed to the elements. You need to make sure that they have everything they need to stand up to it and withstand the test of time while they’re at it. This is a tall order but going the extra mile in ensuring that your sliding gate is equipped with additional features will save you from a lot of headaches further down the road.

Appearance: It’s the first thing that you or anyone sees before entering the premises. Gates that aren’t all that well designed can make your home look bland or a little too closed in.

There are a lot of designs and materials for you to choose from to ensure that you never have to take anything away from your overall curb appeal once the gates are installed.

Go for something that complements your outdoor aesthetics. There are so many varieties available in the market these days, making this fairly easy for you to do.

Here are other things you need to consider when you’re mapping out your modern driveway gates with a sliding feature:

Measurements

Budget

Materials

Sliding gate type

Appeal contributed to your external property

Sliding Gate Materials

Paved driveway with hedge plants, trees, and metal sliding gateThis is typically the first thing you think about when choosing a sliding gate to install in your home. Here’s anything and everything that you need to know about when it comes to your choices:

Wood Sliding Gates

Wood is one of the most natural and sturdiest building materials to get your hands on so it makes a lot of sense why you can opt for a wooden sliding gate, to begin with.

Before you proceed with this option though, it’s important to note that not all woods are alike. They each have their own traits as well as their own strengths and weakness to consider.

Ultimately, it all boils down to the kind of budget you have or are willing to work with. Then you also need to consider what your budget is for maintenance, what your personal tastes and styles are, and what your climate is in your local area. Let’s look at the most popular wood variants used for sliding gates:

Spruce: This is great for DIY sliding gate kits and if you want to make sure that you end up with gates that match in appearance. It’s also quite budget-friendly as it happens to be the cheapest out of all of your wood options. It’s light in color and this makes it an excellent canvas for stains and paints to adhere to.

When opting for spruce, you need to make sure that you go all out with its treatments and maintenance to prolong the life span of the material as much as you possibly can. A word of caution, because of the fact that it isn’t the sturdiest among the wood choices, it does have the tendency to warp or bend over time. 

Fir: This wood is very durable and considered to bring in bang-for-buck value for your money. Like pine and spruce, it’s also lightly colored so it pairs very well with stains and paints. They also oftentimes come pre-treated which means that they will already be resistant to pests.

If you live in an area that’s prone to termite, pre-treated fir is a very good wood option to consider for your sliding gate.  You also have the option to keep it natural by just giving it a clear stain. It gives off a nice yellow color that deepens over time.

Pine: This wood material is very tough but on the other hand, very durable. It comes as no surprise why pine is one of the most popular wood materials to consider for sliding gate options. Oftentimes, pine manufacturers pressure-treat their pine wood and they also dry them off into a kiln.

This removes a lot of its internal moisture and ensures that it will be resistant to decay. It’s the perfect wood if you plan on staining or painting your sliding gate. One thing to keep in mind though is that there’s a reason why pine wood can come at such cheap prices.

You will need to constantly maintain it to ensure that it doesn’t end up decaying or warping all too soon. Still, if you happen to be in a fairly damp climate, pine is a great recommendation.

Cypress: This wood naturally contains a chemical called cypretine. This means that cypress wouldn’t require any type of wood treatment at all in order for it to be resistant to decay and rot. It naturally repels bugs and insects and this is why cypress has been a popular fencing material for decades.

It’s very easy to work with and it doesn’t have that much of a tendency to warp either. It isn’t cheap though. But then again, it depends on where you’re located in the United States.

If you happen to live in the South, where the tree is native, it will cost less. Be prepared to pay more if you happen to live up north as it will incur shipping and handling to get it to your location. 

Cedar: Cedar has natural oils which means that the wood material gives off a very clean and sharp scent. Because of these natural oils, cedar is also known to be highly repellent to insects and bugs without ever having the need to get the wood treated.

Cedar can come in a variety of colors but it commonly starts off red and then eventually takes on a silvery color. Both colors are great to look at, by the way. In terms of cost, cedar is considered to be somewhat mid-ranged. It means that it’s easy on the budget, considering the qualities it delivers.

A major downside to cedar though is that it doesn’t work well with paints and stains. If you want to go for something that’s brightly colored, it would be best if you go for something lighter.

Redwood: Redwood is durable and very gorgeous. It is considered to be one of the strongest wood materials you could ever go for in a wooden sliding gate. It has a rich red color that’s both eye-catching and rustic and it usually doesn’t require any paint.

Tack on a coat or two of clear stain and you’re good to go. It has natural tannin contents that deter bugs and other pests from attacking it. It also happens to be extremely resistant to moisture so if you happen to live in an area that tends to get a lot of snow or rain, redwood is definitely the wood material to beat.

Metal Sliding Gates

There are various types of metals available for sliding gate use:

• Steel: This alloy is usually a combination of carbon and iron. It is known to be highly resistant to vehicular impact and is said to be much stronger than pure iron. Steel is considered to be very heavy duty and is considered as the top option for sliding gates.

• Aluminum: This is a very malleable and lightweight type of metal. Although it isn’t as strong or as durable as steel, it is still highly prized for its ability to naturally resist rust and corrosion.

• Wrought iron: This is a type of iron that has been heated and has been processed with additional tools. Wrought iron is a pretty interesting material because it’s considered to be far more malleable compared to cast iron.

This means that this can be made into intricate and aesthetic designs. More than that, this metal has a distinct fibrous appearance to it. It adds a certain layer of interest and texture when made into a sliding gate.

Sliding Gate Hardware

House driveway with stone wall, and sliding gate made of woodYou don’t really need the nitty-gritty on sliding gate hardware as more often than not, they are installed by professionals or if you opt to do it yourself, they all come in one kit. Still, it would be nice to be familiar with what they are. 

Here are some of the most common hardware pieces used in a sliding gate operation. Take note that the hardware pieces may vary depending on the type of sliding gate you have.

Chains & Tensioners

Chains usually have their own categories of numerical gauge ratings. These gauge ratings will determine the sizes that you will need for your specific sliding gate. The most commonly used sizes are numbers 40 and 41.

This is for fairly late gate operations, similar to those being used for residential purposes. Chains that are sized 50 and 60 are used for heavier and more industrial applications.  The common variants are those that come in stainless steel or nickel-plated. 

Sliding Gate Latches

Sliding gate latches have the main function of serving as a stopping point for the sliding gates. This will protect them and prevent them from being lifted off of the rack. It will ensure that your gate is secure.

There are several popular types of latches available which are, thumb latches, lever latches, ring latches, and bolt latches.

Sliding Gate Locks

Of course, a gate would be useless if you couldn’t lock it in the first place. Here are some of the variants:

Gravity based

Spring loaded

Bolted

Iron

Aluminum

Sliding Gate Wheels

The common wheel type being used for sliding gates is V-grooved wheels. They are usually 4 to 6 inches tall and can be made out of a variety of materials from cast iron, to plastic, to steel. Cast iron is the most budget-friendly one but isn’t necessarily the best option as it tends to break easily.

Plastic wheels are quieter because they come equipped with a sealed bearing but because of the softness of the material, they also don’t last for very long and they tend to get material fatigue from the overall weight of the gate.

Steel wheels are the best material to consider as a basic 4-inch one can support a load of over 3000 pounds per wheel without breaking or receiving any type of damage. These wheels are known to last for up to 10 years and with the add-on of a zinc coating and sealed bearings on both sides, they’re projected to last even longer than that.

Sliding Gate Track

Most tracks are just made out of flat bars and angle irons that have been fabricated into a track. If you know how to weld, this is even something that you can sort of do yourself if you so choose. 

However, you don’t have to as they are usually sold ready to use prior to the installation with the use of concrete anchors. If buying a track you must know the gate dimensions in order to get a precise fit.

Electric Sliding Gate

Looks aren’t everything. We’re in the day and age of automation and electric sliding gates are in. This type of sliding gate is great as it doesn’t require any type of manual operation at the end of the day. Here are some of the reasons why you need to invest on one:

It looks great and brings in a certain “wow” factor to your home.

It’s easy to use as it requires minimal manpower.

It’s more secure as it usually comes with built-in sensors and warning devices to alert you about possible intruders.

It occupies less space.

It’s low maintenance.

They offer longevity and durability.

Sliding Gate Opener

Sliding gate openers are answered prayers for when you want to automate the opening and closing functions of your sliding gate design. There are various opener types for you to choose from:

1. Automatic Sliding Gate Opener: Here are some of our top picks for automatic sliding gate openers along with some key features for you to consider:

CO-Z Automatic Sliding Gate Opener

Constructed with high quality materials and runs on an all-copper motor

Energy-efficient and powerful enough to easily slide gates weighted up to 1,400 pounds

Remotely controlled up to 100 feet away

JIELI 1800lb Chain Driven Automatic Sliding Gate Opener

Built-in thermal protector automatically shuts the gate off when the temperature reaches a certain value, protecting the motor

Designed for heavy duty use and can open gates up to 1800 pounds in weight

Can be operated remotely from 100 feet away

TOPENS CK1200 Automatic Sliding Gate Opener Chain Drive Electric Gate Motor

• Versatile application: Can be used for residential, farm and ranch, commercial, and even courtyard applications. It also requires basic tools, no welding, and has all of the hardware included for its installation. (Easy for DIYers)

Heavy duty and can open up to 3400 lbs of weight.

Very quiet operation.

Comes with a 30-day exchange and return policy, a 12-month warranty, and tech support for a lifetime.

Can be remotely controlled or operated from a mobile app.

2. Solar Sliding Gate Opener: If you’re keen on saving up on electricity, sliding gate openers have solar variants. Here are some of the best ones in the market:

TOPENS DK1000S Automatic Sliding Gate Opener Solar Kit

Rack-driven sliding gate motor for heavy-duty slide gates up to 1800 lbs. And 40 ft

Driveway security gate operator battery-powered solar panel

Has multiple applications

Designed cleverly

Remote controlled

Comes with a 12-month warranty and a 30-day free return or exchange service

E-Guard 5m Solar Powered Automatic Electric Sliding Gate Opener

Can take on up to 1100 lbs in its load

Industrial strength motor

Remote controlled but has a manual key release

Has a smart digital control box

Ultra-quiet operation

Sliding Gates Cost

House driveway with sliding gate and pillarsHow Much Do Electric Sliding Gates Cost: Electric sliding gates can vary in terms of cost. In a nutshell, it can range anywhere from $1000 up to $3000 or even much higher than that, depending on what the inclusions are.

The cost differentiator is usually depending on if you have a single sliding gate design or a double sliding gate design. The single ones range from $1000 to $3000+ while the double ones range from $2000 to $5000+.

Sliding Gate Kit

House exterior with walls and a black sliding gate made of metalA sliding gate design isn’t cheap to get custom-made. On top of the usually top-tier and pricey materials, the specialized labor that comes along with the installation isn’t something that you should take for granted as well.

For those who are a bit keen on the budget, a sliding gate kit offers a practical and easy solution. Most kits cost only around $1800 or so, depending on the add-on features but in terms of budget ranges, homeowners can easily save $3000 or more by just opting to get a sliding gate kit and doing it themselves.

Most of them come fairly easy with very clear instructions and apart from a few basic tools needed for the installation, they come with all of the moving parts as well.

If you happen to be somewhat handy in the workshop, a sliding gate kit can definitely save you a lot of money as opposed to getting a gate company to build it for you from scratch.

Sliding Gate Vs Swing Gate

Swing gate made of vertical wood planks for residential properties with brick paver drivewayThe main difference between a sliding gates and swing gate designs are how they open and close. Sliding gates move side to side whereas swing gates swing out and in via a sweeping arc motion. 

Uses, Benefits & Features of Sliding Gates 

Modern gray metal sliding gate with vertical slats Use or application:

Residential entrances or driveways

Sloping driveways (where swing gates are impossible to install)

Commercial and residential properties

Benefits:

Less vulnerable against slopes and high winds

Elegant façade

Greater security

Secure locks and easy automation

Features:

Slides left or right

Runs on cantilevers or on tracks

Can come in short or tall heights

Easy to automate

Uses, Benefits & Features of Swing Gates

Driveway area of a house with an iron fence swing gate, and stone pillarsUse of application:

To keep kids and pets inside, also great for front gardens

No steel beam or concrete installation is required

Feels more welcoming

Easier to pair with various home themes and designs

Benefits:

Cheaper than a sliding gate design

Requires less maintenance

Easy to install

Features:

Can be secured via a deadlock or latch mechanism

Railheads can be added for an extra layer of security

Available in various designs

See more related content in our article about the best driveway gate ideas on this page.

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