Did you know that cement has actually existed for over 12 million years? Cement was present in ancient rock formations, and humans were eventually able to discover a way to create this valuable material. In 3000 BC, the ancient Egyptians used a mixture of mud, clay and straw to bind together dried bricks. In 1908, Thomas Edison built several inexpensive, comfortable homes out of a concrete mixture (these homes still exist to this day!). In 1936, the Hoover Dam was constructed almost entirely of cement. Today, cement is used for housing foundations, driveways, sidewalks, and fire-resistant residential houses.
While your concrete driveway is a wonderful place to park your car, it can also pose a security risk. To help protect your home, you may choose to install a driveway security gate. When combined with proper fencing, a security gate can be a very effective way to ensure that your driveway remains secure. Please note that this is a general guide, designed to help familiarize you with the process of installing a gate. If you have purchased a commercial product, it’s important to refer to the manufacturer’s directions that arrived with your security gate. If you wish to build your own security gate, use these instructions to help plan your gate’s design.
Step 1 – Take Measurements.
Before you begin this project, it’s extremely important to have accurate measurements of the dimensions of your gate. In order to allow for passage of large vehicles (such as UPS trucks or other deliveries), you will want to make sure that your gate is at least 10 feet in horizontal width. If you have existing fencing, be sure that your gate will be approximately the same height once installed.
Step 2 – Gather Your Materials.
Once you have your measurements, you can have your materials cut accurately. Though many people choose to build a security gate out of wood (mostly for cost reasons), you may want to use metal piping or a wood-and-wire combination for your gate. Make sure that you take very accurate measurements, since some materials are difficult or expensive to have cut to your specifications.
Step 3 – Build Your Frame.
It’s usually best to begin by building the frame of your gate before anything else. The frame will determine the structure of your gate, as well as allow you to judge where to place reinforcement materials.
Step 4 – Measure Weight Distribution.
It’s important to remember that the weight of your driveway gate will be relying on several key points. For example, if you have a single-swinging gate, most of the weight will be hanging onto the top hinge or connector to the gate post. Try to build a design that is sturdy, yet is still able to distribute weight in a way that puts minimal stress on the hinges. This will help your gate to remain secure and operational.
Step 5 – Install Reinforcements.
In order to ensure that your gate functions properly, you will need reinforcement materials. The most common reinforcement method is to use cross-beams within the gate’s design, since this also adds strength to the gate.
Step 6 – Hang Your Gate.
This is the most difficult (yet very important) part of building your gate. In order to make sure that your gate is constructed properly, you will need to hang your gate. This simply involves attaching your gate to the fence post(s) as if you were ready to install it. Try to make sure that the top of the gate is even with the top of any fencing system that you already have in place. Leave around 1 inch of space in between the gate and the post, in order to ensure that the gate will be able to swing freely. Do not be cheap with your hinges. A faulty hinge can cause damage or serious injury when it malfunctions. Leave several inches of space between the bottom of your gate and your driveway. If you are able to meet all of these requirements, you can permanently secure your gate on its hinges.
Step 7 – Test Your New Gate!
Make sure that the hinges for the gate are able to swing freely. If necessary, you may want to install springs to make the function of your gate more controlled. If you plan to automate your gate (so that it can be opened remotely), you may need to purchase special types of hinges, latches and locks.
This post is originally authored at the home security blog at family + home security.