Whether you are buying pre-made or building your own, it is important to know the main differences between swing and slide gates.
Swing Gate Hardware
Residential swing gates use a married pair of “Post” (aka “Pin”), and “Frame” hinges placed near the top and bottom of the gate. Most residential gates are built out of 1 3/8in. or 1 5/8in. pipe and hang off 2 3/8in. diameter posts – naturally, the hinges will need to match.
If your swing gate is commercial grade, the frame will most likely be made from 1 5/8in. or 1 7/8in. pipe and hinge on posts ranging 2 3/8in. to 8 5/8in. in diameter. This heavier gate may require “Bulldog” hinges, also set at the top and bottom. Whatever size of frame and post you choose always keep in mind the weight of the gate you are hanging as well as the pipe size to successfully pick the correct pair of hinges.
Latches are the other half of a swing gate’s hardware puzzle. Most gates we sell come with a “Fork Latch,” but we also offer “Butterfly” latches which have dual latching sides. Both styles can be padlocked for added security and their size depends entirely on your post and frame widths.
If your gate is the wood-to-steel style or a chain link gate hung on wooden posts, we offer post hinges and latches with flat plates that screw onto the wood posts. The Frame hinges will be the same as the ones used on regular chain link swing gates.
Slide Gate Hardware
Slide gates slide along two parallel lengths of thick pipe, or track, supported by line posts set every 5ft.-6ft. down the track. To attach the track to the posts, you will need “Pipe Track Brackets” (PTB). The general rule of thumb about PTBs is they go on both the top and bottom pipes attached to the terminal post at the beginning of the track as well as each supporting line post with the bracket side up. The last bracket on the track will be flipped upside down to stop the track wheels.
Track wheels are either pressed steel, malleable, or nylon. When deciding which wheels to use for a residential slide gate, pressed steel and malleable wheels are your best options. While malleable wheels more expensive than pressed steel, they can be greased, are heavier duty, and will last longer than pressed steel. For commercial gates, Nylon wheels are even more expensive than malleable, but they are the highest quality choice for a daily used slide. Typically, there are two brackets attached to the wheel. One bracket attaches to the frame of the slide gate, but you can always remove that bracket and drill a hole directly into your gate frame to bolt the wheel to it. The second, curved, bracket attached to the wheel must be placed in perfect alignment with the track. This enables it to slide under the track as the wheel glides across the top. This bracket will be the one to hit the upside down PTB and stop your slide gate from sliding off the track.
Unlike Cantilever gates, Slide gates require ground wheels to support them. Your choices are a Double Ground Wheel Assembly, a single In-Line wheel, or a V-Groove wheel that slides along V-Track. Between the Double Ground Carrier and Single In-Line wheel, the Double is best for longer slide gates as they offer better support and stability. V-groove wheels and track, which must be set on concrete, are a must for automated slide gates because they will track truer than the others every time. However, for manual slide gates, the Double Carrier is all you need.
For a latch, slide gates use ROLO latches as shown in the picture to the right. This can also be padlocked to lock the gate.
When deciding on the right size of swing gate for your property, you need to consider the width of the opening that will best suit your needs as well as the space around the gate for it to swing open. We build our swing gates to fit the exact opening from inside to inside of the posts and deduct from the gate to fit the hardware. For example, if the opening between your two posts is exactly 4ft wide, the gate itself will be a few inches shorter to accommodate the hinges and latch.
We construct our slide gates 1ft longer than the opening, which prevents the gate from falling through the opening when it is closed. This is especially important to remember when planning the track and making sure you have enough fence for the gate to slide along when it is open. As I mentioned earlier, line posts supporting the track must be set no more than every 5ft-6ft apart. If your fence does not already have these posts, you will need to set extra posts for the track.
Feel like an expert on the differences between swing and slide gates yet? If you have more questions, would like pricing on materials to build your own gate, or would like to see what we have in stock, give us a call at 253-531-5452 and a Specialist will gladly assist you.