Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield
Swing gates can provide the entrance point to any type of land but they do require enough clearance to swing open. While generally designed to open inwards, so as not to block a public passageway, a swing gate can open outwards as long as the space in front of it is on private property.
In order to install a swing driveway gate, you'll need two plumb pillars which must be sturdy enough to support the weight of the gate. The ground must be flat so the gate can open freely. Bear in mind that your choice of gate may be limited if you live in a conservation area and you may require planning permission if you are erecting a new gate as opposed to replacing an old one.
If you are installing a metal gate or a wooden gate, the hinges, handle and drop bolt will probably come installed or at the very least the gate will come with pre-drilled holes for fitting the hardware. For PVC gates, you will probably have to fit everything to the gate yourself. No matter which model you go for, be sure to check that all accessories are supplied and read the product description carefully.
In this case, the gate is installed between the two pillars and is mounted more or less in the centre of each pillar. The hinges are fitted on the inside at the top and base of each pillar. The inconvenience of this set-up is that the gates will only be able to open to around 90° maximum.
The gate must be roughly 60 to 80 mm narrower than the distance between the pillars.
In this case, the hinges are fitted on the inside face of the pillars which allows the gate to open to 180°. Don't forget to protect yourself against break-ins – do not fit the hinges on the outside face of the pillar using screws that can be tackled by the first intruder who comes along with just a socket wrench or a screwdriver!
It's also important to check that the drop bolt is not accessible when the gate is closed.
At this stage, the gate foundation should be ready (complete with a hole for the drop bolt), the pillars should be in place and the electrical conduit should be set up in case you want to install an electric gate opener at a later date.
The size of the opening should be big enough to allow your car(s) to pass through easily as well as any vehicles that may use the driveway occasionally such as delivery or moving vans. The ground should be perfectly flat and level. Place your spirit level on a 2 to 3-metre straight edge to check the ground is level. The height of the pillar needs to exceed the height of the gate itself by about 10 to 15 cm.
No matter whether you are installing the gate on the corner of the pillars or on the inside, you will have to start by positioning the gate upright between the pillars where it will be installed.
A small footing or concrete slab can be used to fit your door stops in the position of your choice.
If your entrance is on a slope, you must use special offset hinges that are adjustable at the base. These hinges are called 'uphill hinges' or rising hinges. When the gate opens, the upper part of the leaves will part from the pillar and the base will follow the slope.
If you plan to automate the gate, you will need to ensure that the gate is reinforced around the areas where the electric gate fittings will go (especially if it is made of PVC).
Remember – electric gates don't require a gate handle or latch.
Installing a gate involves a series of fairly straightforward tasks that can be tackled by any DIYer. Knowing how to use a spirit level, take accurate measurements, install clamps and being in generally good shape – since metal and wooden gates can be heavy – are the main requirements for installing a swing gate. You should also know how to drill a wall, be able to pick suitable wall plugs and mix mortar.
4 to 8 hours depending on installation (factor in mortar curing time if necessary)
Please note: this is a non-exhaustive list; be sure to match your personal protective equipment to the job at hand.
Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield, 92 guides
I was trained as a pipe worker and a pipe-welder and after having travelled for 35 years working around the UK, I became the head of a metal shop, then a designer and in the end the head engineer. I have designed and built a workshop where I make metal sculptures: I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can let my imagination run wild. Auctions and garage sales are no secret to me. I find unusual objects and old tools there that I collect or transform into works of art. I also like decoration, painting on canvas, and gardening. I am developing new technologies concerning tools. To share my passion and advise you in your choice of materials is a real pleasure.