Sliding gates are a popular choice among homeowners thanks to their convenience and ease of installation. However, some people choose to buy readymade gates and have them installed by local professionals, while others prefer the DIY approach to build and install their sliding gates.
In case you decide to go down the DIY route and want to make your gate from scratch, we’ve written this helpful guide to help you learn how to build a sliding driveway gate with a metal frame.
Whilst it is possible to build a sliding gate entirely from timber, such gates often warp over time. For this reason, we will focus on metal-framed gates. Once you have constructed the frame of your new gate, you may choose to clad it in timber if you want it to look like a wooden gate.
Required components for a metal frame
To construct a basic sliding gate frame, you will need these four key components made from aluminium or steel.
- Top rail
- Bottom rail
- Open-end mullion
- Closed-end mullion
Depending on the proposed height of your new gate and whether or not you intend to attach metal or wood slats to the front for aesthetic purposes, you may also need the following:
- Middle rail
- Centre mullions
These extra components provide additional strength and stiffness, but they aren’t normally required for plain metal gates.
If you are not going to clad the front of your entrance with metal or timber slats, we recommend using square, rectangular or round vertical tubing welded to the frame. This creates a pleasing aesthetic and adds strength to your frame design. If you use vertical tubing, you will not need centre mullions.
Step 1: Cut your sections to size
Before cutting your sections to size, you will have to measure the distance between your gateposts carefully. Your completed gate frame should be wide enough to overlap each post by 50 mm. When building a sliding driveway gate, you must remember that the closed-end mullion will cap the end of the bottom rail while the open-end mullion will be welded to the top of the bottom rail.
The open-end mullion will therefore be shorter. Measuring the distance from where the open-end mullion joins the bottom rail to the end of the bottom rail, there should be 400mm of rail. This is where you will install your automatic sliding gate opener.
Using aluminium components, you can cut each section to size with a drop saw fitted with an aluminium blade. For steel gate frames, you can use a drop saw designed especially for cutting steel or an angle grinder.
Step 2: Weld the frame of your sliding driveway gate
We are now almost ready to start welding the frame together, but before you get your welding equipment out, there are a couple of tasks you need to attend to first:
- Cutting holes for the wheels in the bottom rail
- If applicable, drill holes for round vertical tubing in the bottom, middle and top rail.
You could cut and drill these holes after you weld the sections together, but it is much easier to do it beforehand.
Once your gate is complete, it is time to install a sliding gate opener. This is an important component to make opening and closing the gate easier.
Step 3: Install a sliding gate opener
After building a sliding driveway gate, you will need to install the sliding gate opener, which is the component that allows you to open and close your gate remotely.
- Inspect and measure your gate — You will need a gate in perfect working order, with around 300mm of extra width available. This is so you will have enough space to install the motor.
- Level the surface and install the motor — If the proposed installation site is on uneven ground, you will need to level the surface before fixing the motor in place. You should also check the gate posts are firmly secured in a solid foundation.
- Install gear rack & gate track — You’re now ready to fit the nylon gear rack that’s designed to deliver whisper-quiet operation and the gate track if applicable.
- Connect to a power source— Whether you are using mains electricity or solar power, you now need to connect your sliding gate opener motor to a power source.
Your new sliding gate opener should now be ready to use. You can test the opening and closing functionality with the supplied remote control or with an app on your mobile phone if provided. For safety, your gate opener will be supplied with infrared sensors that send a signal for the gate to stop closing in the event an obstacle is blocking its path.
Should you require additional information regarding your intended sliding gate opener and its suitability for your gate, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us and a team member will be happy to help.