If you need an alternative to replace your gate with, or if you need a gate period, consider installing a cantilever sliding gate. Read on to learn what a cantilever sliding gate is, what factors to consider when buying one, designs, hardware, and measurements.
Related: Crash Gates
What is a Cantilever sliding gate?
As opposed to a swinging gate system that requires a lot of space, cantilever gates are gates in various styles that move in a direction parallel to your fence line. Furthermore, this type of gate is larger than other gates and hangs on multiple mounting posts to suspend it from the ground.
Factors to consider when buying a cantilever sliding gate
If you are considering investing in a cantilever sliding gate, you might want to understand what to look for before making a purchase. The first couple of factors include elevation and installation.
If you are interested in picking some of the best gates available, check out our crash gates.
You must install cantilever sliding gates on level surfaces. Otherwise, it will suffer in performance and will slide downhill. When installing the gate, something to keep in mind is to find the highest elevation and install the gate at least a couple of inches above it.
In addition to making sure that the ground is level and the cantilever gate is above the highest elevation, you will typically need three posts—one as a latch post and two to mount the rollers. Afterward, you will need two cantilever rollers for the installation of these gates. Finally, you make the footers, assemble the fence, plant the posts, and install the rollers.
Infill type – Design and Materials
Now that you have selected the best elevation for your gate and learned how to install it, now there are the infill types. These designs will not only give your gate additional functionality, but they can also be aesthetically pleasing if that is what you prefer.
While decorative infills might be similar to ornamental, they often include mixed infill materials, which adds more weight to the fence and can result in wind load, affecting the overall stability of your fence. Features that can affect what we just mentioned include louvers, perforated metal, and other design implementations.
Keep in mind that if you someday wish to automate your gate, ensure there are gaps spread out throughout its structure that are no larger than two and a quarter inches wide.
The innards of a decorative cantilever gate are lined with vertical pickets that are usually close to an inch in thickness. If you opt for the decorative infill, ensure that the pickets do not have a gap between them greater than two and a quarter inches if you decide to automate your gate in the future. Furthermore, make sure that pickets do not stick out of the bottom.
The chain link infill for cantilever gates is the lightest material on this list and the most affordable. Hence, most people use it over the other options on the market. Since the chain link fabric makes this gate more exposed, it eliminates any potential for wind loading- or weight-related issues.
If you are worried about intruders climbing over your gates, high-security infills prevent that possibility from happening with their towering height and include either tightened wire mesh or solid surfaces. Furthermore, they are built as close to the ground as possible to prevent anyone from slipping in.
However, there is a trade-off with having more materials. It adds weight and raises the chances of wind loading from affecting your cantilever gate’s structure.
Since you might have an infill type in mind now, depending on what type you choose and how long you want your cantilever setup opening to span, you now need to make sure that you choose the right tracks to support your gate.
If you decide to opt for a gate opening less than 27 feet and have an ornamental picket or chain link infill, a single track will be the best option and most economical choice to support your needs. Single tracks are especially a better option to go with if you have a lighter gate.
For gate openings over 27 feet long, consider using a double track setup instead. Double tracks typically call for double the number of mounting posts to further reinforce the structure due to the added weight. The typical width of a double-track is close to 10 inches on the upper part of the track’s assembly and around five inches on the lower track.
Since gates on double tracks typically have a wider horizontal structure, they also offer additional support to combat wind loading.
Modified double track
For those with bulky decorative gates that have semi-solid or filled infills, you can modify a double track cantilever gate set up to support it. On top of that, modified double track setups are great for gates with more prominent openings.
These modified variations are wider than their smaller counterparts ranging between 13 and 16 inches on the upper track, while the lower is now up to eight inches.
Since these are modifications and not typical designs, if this is the route you choose, you might want to consider hiring a gate fabricator to either assist you or craft and install it, depending on the size of your gate.
While the height is more of a personal preference, keep in mind that your cantilever gate’s height affects your gate’s overall weight, thus requiring different support posts and footings.
The height of a cantilever gate also has a massive impact in one area over others—wind load, which refers to the pressure winds will exert on a structure. If this is not absorbed properly, it could lead to structural damage, or worse, collapse.
You can reduce the wind load blasting against your gate by using materials such as welded wire mesh.
Gate weight and hardware
Most of the time, cantilever sliding gates will weigh less than 2,000 pounds. However, the weight can surpass that number if you opt for a heavy solid infill material or gates with openings over 30 feet in length. To accommodate for this, you should consider using double track gates to maintain structural integrity.
However, make sure you avoid overdoing it with additional rollers and gate supports because this will add additional resistance against the rollers, which could eventually result in the frame failing.
Support posts and footings
When selecting your cantilever sliding gate’s footing and support posts, they should accommodate your gate’s overall structure. The main factor here is the gate’s height since it affects its overall weight and size. A majority of owners use gate 4” O.D. ASTM 1043 pipes as posts for gates that are 8’ tall or shorter. Any gates taller than 10’ will likely use 6-5/8″ O.D.
Cantilever sliding gates provide an excellent and reliable alternative to typical gates that do not only save space but are simple to install and offer a variety of performance and design upgrades to maximize your home, job site, or business’ entry security.
If cantilever gates alone are not the solution that your site needs, consider also investing in wedge barriers for the ultimate perimeter entry security.