Swing Gate vs. Sliding Gate – Comparisons

Swing Gate vs. Sliding Gate – Comparisons



There are several important benefits and limitations to consider when deciding to install a gate. Swing gates and sliding gates both have their pros and cons. Typically the decisive factors fall into the following categories: space constraints, use case, maintenance / reliability, ground slope and leveling, electric / automated or manual gate control, and aesthetics.

Space Constraints – Winner: Sliding Gates

Space limitations tend to favor sliding gates and offer good compliance within Vancouver BC city property restrictions. If you have a parking lot beyond your driveway for example, you can allow for more parking in your lot by having a sliding gate.

Conversely, anything that would be within the turning radius of a swinging gate would prevent its operation. And, the longer the gate is, the more open room it will require to swing.

A sliding gate typically only requires 10 inches or so of width and the gate’s length on the side of the gate. So a 5 foot fence would just require a strip of space 5 feet long and 10 inches wide to accommodate it’s opening.

slide2Walls, hedges, and existing fenced partitions

What about walls, hedges, and other partitions on either side of the driveway? If you have a driveway with parallel walls on either side, this is where a swinging gate might work better — but not always. Swinging gates work well against walls if it has a flat pocket large enough for a swinging gate to fit against.

If you have a curved wall or not enough room in front or behind the gate, a sliding gate is probably the better option.

Sliding gates can work well going through a slot in the wall or hedge, as long as the wall or partition in question is built or modified with a slot to accommodate the sliding gate. A small opening of about 10 inches or so, is typically enough to allow a sliding gate to effectively disappear when the gate is opened.

This also carries a distinct coolness factor, but more on curb appeal below.

Ground slope and Leveling – Winner: Sliding Gates

Again, we often find that leveling and ground slop issues are more common for swinging gates.

For example, many driveways slope up or down hills in the Vancouver BC Area. For driveways on slopes, a swinging gate must open towards the down-slope, which can be a limiting factor for many driveways.

Also common in Canada is heavy snow, which is effectively a leveling issue that requires the swinging gate to be hung higher (at 12 inches or so) to give additional clearance for driveways where overnight snowfalls or snow piles might be a concern.

If the adjacent terrain is sloped or very rough, a sliding gate might require leveling so it’s best to get a quote to see which options will be the most effective for your conditions.

Curb Appeal – Winner: Tie

While closed, both sliding gates and swinging gates can look virtually identical. While open however, the sliding gate has a distinct aesthetic advantage.

Swinging gates tend to stand out and make grounds look busier or more cluttered when they are open.

Sliding gates can slide alongside a wall or fence to virtually disappear when opened.

Some like the look of French Doors (bi-parting gates) as they can look quite inviting while opening inward, so we leave this category as a tie.

Less clutter tends to be better in my view, however a decorative French door style can work very well with a decorative fencing style and the overall architectural design.

Help Deciding and Installing You Gate

If you need help on which type of gate is best for you, QS Fencing LTD in Vancouver BC designs and installs all types of gates, including automated electric gates.

Call our fence and gate professionals at 604-345-5145.