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Above ground systems are more cost effective to fit, and easier to retro fit although in both cases it is necessary to ensure the gate is suitable or designed specifically for this purpose. When specifying a traditional gate for above ground automation we always construct the gate with a thick mid rail to take the extra punishment that these systems will give the gate over the years, and similarly with boarded gates / doors, these too need a heavy mid rail for the same reason.
Below ground automation can be more time consuming to fit but the end result is a system that is a lot less visible. This type of system is more suited to a new entrance, although it can be fitted after. When matched with the correct gate fittings, a below ground system will give many years of trouble free service. A thick lower rail is necessary on a traditional gate, and on a door, it’s necessary again to ensure the framework can be incorporated into the mechanics of the chosen system.
A number of different factors should be considered when deciding on hardwood or softwood. Some designs are more suited to hardwood, for example, a double leaf pair of boarded doors, as the amount of swelling and contraction associated with softwood would make the installation prone to a much higher level of maintenance. Whereas a single leaf gate would be fine in either soft or hardwood. Hardwood also has the advantage of being more durable and offering greater longevity, but it is considerably more expensive. Iroko is generally the hardwood of choice. It is a very stable timber, moves very little with the seasons and rarely cracks. It is often confused with teak, and if left untreated it turns a silvery colour and is difficult to distinguish from oak. Oak is visually, probably the nicest timber, but even joinery grade oak is prone to twisting and splitting when used as an outside timber. This is not always a bad thing as it gives the gate character.
Motors and electrics for all electric gate installations vary enormously in quality and consequently life expectancy. We only fit high quality electrics sourced from Europe which come with a full warranty and are fitted buy fully trained electricians.