Friday, November 28, 2014

What is an Automatic Gate?

Automatic gates, long used as a means of controlling access to secured areas in commercial and industrial settings, have recently become increasingly popular for residential use as well. Having an automatic gate protecting access to your home's driveway, fitted in as an integral part of your property's fencing or other form of protective barrier, provides multiple benefits, including increased safety and security. With the convenience of automation, these gates may be opened and closed in a variety of ways and, when going through while in your automobile, may be opened without the need to leave the confines of your vehicle. This increases the safety factor and also allows you to stay warm and dry during inclement weather. 

 Types of Automatic Gates 

Automatic gates come in a wide range of sizes, weights and configurations. They may be as simple as a sliding panel composed of chain-link fence or of ornate construction with fancy wrought-iron scroll work designed to match the adjacent fencing. The most popular type of automatic gate for use in residential or light-commercial applications is probably the slide gate. This consists of a panel that operates by sliding back and forth across the opening while riding on supporting wheels or rollers. Also known as "rolling" gates, the rollers travel along a track that has been installed on the ground. Because these tracks can easily be blocked by debris, snow and ice, however, they can present some ongoing maintenance concerns. 

Other popular automatic gate types include:  

Cantilever Gate – similar to the slide gate except the track is replaced by a raised rail that allows the gate to travel up off the ground.

Swing Gate – hinged on one side to open and close like a door, these gates are popular because of their relatively low cost and easy installation. They may be a single- or double-leaf configuration and can be made to swing either in or out, assuming there's enough room available to accommodate the 90-degree swing in a particular direction.

Vertical Lift Gate – this gate moves vertically up and down over the opening, traveling along vertical supports tall enough to allow for vehicles to drive underneath the gate when fully opened. These are useful in an application where a swing gate can't be used because of limited space. These lift gates have a somewhat industrial look and may not be the best choice for residential use where appearance is a primary concern. 

Other types of automatic lift gates include Pivot Gates, Bi-Fold Gates and Barrier Arm Gates, which are popular for use at entryways and exits to vehicle parking areas. 

 Operators and Means of Access 

Automatic gates feature two basic components: the gate itself, which is what moves in order to block the opening, and the operator, which is what powers the gate's movement. Operators typically use standard electrical power but may use solar power. Mechanical movement may be chain driven, hydraulic or gear driven. Devices used to initiate a gate's opening include:  

- Car readers 
- Vehicle tag (RF) readers 
- Digital keypads 
- Wireless hand-held remotes (similar to garage-door openers)  

An automatic gate operator may be used in conjunction with an intercom system that allows visitors a means for contacting someone inside who can activate the gate. Surveillance cameras may also be used to view and/or record activity around a gate and to visually confirm a visitor's identity. Exit loops or sensors may also be used to automatically operate a gate when a vehicle is leaving the premises. Safety concerns should always be addressed when installing automatic gates to ensure pedestrians and vehicles are protected from damage or injury. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Best Seal a Garage Door

With the weather getting chillier it may have become clear that your garage doors have air gaps around the sides that needs to be fixed. It's important to know that the garage is a space that needs proper sealing, especially if it is attached to your house. Having a seal around your garage door will have many positive benefits. 

Creating a seal for your garage doors is fairly simple. There are a few tips and tricks to make the best possible seal around the doors. You have to choose the type of seal you want for your garage door. This is purely based on your preferences. There are also many colors to choose from making it easy to match your garage and house. 

Inspecting and preparing your garage doors 

First inspect your garage doors, gaps will allow light in. If you have gaps you will need to seal or reseal the doors. To prepare for sealing be sure to adjust the door opener or the top joints in order to get an even gap. A key point to remember while installing the sides and top is not hammering nails in while the stop boards are bent, if you are using a seal that has a PVC molding. This will result in breaks and fractures in the boards. 

Sealing the top of your garage doors 

The top of your garage door should be sealed first. When sealing the top of your garage door the process will be similar to that of the sides. However, one step that will be important is to cut the corners of your vertical stops. This will allow the sides to meet the top without any gaps. 

Sealing the sides of your garage doors 

In order to have a good seal you must address all sides of the garage door. Weather stripping for the garage door is ideal for the sides. The outdoor elements such as wind and rain can easily leak through without proper materials. The weather stripping is simple to install. You need only use some nails to attach the material to the garage frame. 

With both your top and bottom garage door seals you must make sure the seal creates a 45 degree angle against your garage door before completely nailing them into place. You may have to adjust some sections slightly. Try to keep your nail spacing for the top and sides at about 6 inches apart. 

Sealing the bottom of your garage doors 

You can address the sealing at the bottom of your garage door in two ways. One, you can use a bottom seal. This is a flexible rubber or vinyl that attaches to the bottom edge of the garage door. It will keep out the water from rain, cold chills from the wind, pesky vermin, and even dirt. The bottom seal is easily slipped with no extra fuss. 

The second option is to install a threshold seal. The plus side to this option is that it can be more durable than a bottom seal. However, it does make sweeping a bit more challenging, and it is harder for water to flow out. It is also easy to install and usually comes with the adhesive needed. 

With a proper seal on your garage doors you will find it warmer on cold nights, you won't have to worry about critters entering your space, and with a proper seal you will find a reduction in noise. Not only does this benefit your home, it also benefits you. Not only that, the savings you will see on your energy bill is an added bonus. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

How Good Are Insulated Garage Doors?

With energy costs these days, garage door insulation is just as important as anywhere else in your home. More and more people are using their garages as a work space or as a spot for social gatherings, its not just about storage anymore. 

You may be wondering what the difference is between the standard garage door and an insulated one. Also, whether or not the insulated garage door would be that much of a change if you have a regular uninsulated garage door. There are many good reasons why an insulated door is a good investment. 

Insulated doors are great if your garage is more than a garage.

When you use your garage as a hangout or as a workshop you want the space to be comfortable. When temperatures outside change so does the temperature inside your garage. With an insulated door the temperature will stay within a more even range. 

An insulated garage door will help keep your space warmer in the winter months. Likewise, it will keep the garage cooler in the summertime. This can be extremely important if your garage is connected to your home. 

Insulated doors keep air from entering into your home.

When your garage is attached to your home it is important the garage be well insulated. This is because the air in the garage can travel in through the doorway. This can mean a cold breeze making your heater run more often, or it could bring in unwanted heat. Both can mean an increase in the energy bills. An insulated garage door will help to eliminate the movement of air from outside to the inside. 

Insulated doors keep upper rooms comfortable.

The air in your garage can travel up through the ceiling and into the floor of rooms above. This can also cause a fluctuation of temperature in these rooms. With an insulated garage door keeping temperatures in the space fairly stable, the rooms above will not be affected. 

Insulated garage doors keep noise down.

With an insulated garage door you will find that life is a little quieter. It will cut down on the noise from outside. It also cuts down on the noise coming out of your space. This is ideal if you tend to work late with tools. The neighbors will not be bothered by late-night hammering. 

Insulated garage doors are better looking and cleaner.

An insulated garage door has a more attractive interior than a garage door that is not insulated. While this is not as important of a feature as keeping things warm, it is a nice bonus. Especially if you use this space to entertain and hangout with others. If you do entertain in the garage the insulated doors will be easier to clean, if you want them cleaned. 

These are all perfect reasons to have your garage door switched out for a new insulated one. If you do have a garage door that is insulated but find that it is not keeping the space comfortable, you may need to replace it with a better quality, more energy efficient insulated garage door.