The Ultimate Guide to Cantilever Gate Hardware
Cantilever gates are a popular option for sliding gates, particularly in places that get snow, where ground clearance is required and using a track and wheel sliding gate system won't work.
However, while most people understand gate hinges and gate latches, cantilever gate hardware is a little more complicated. So here's a guide to the hardware that is used for this kind of gate in various settings.
The Cantilever Gate Trailer
While it's not strictly gate hardware, the cantilever gate trailer is an integral part of this kind of sliding gate system.
Unlike other kinds of sliding gates, a cantilever gate has an extra section of gate, also known as the "trailer," that acts as a counterbalance or cantilever to the gate. This helps to keep this kind of gate - which is usually quite heavy - in balance during operation and when it's in the closed position.
The drawback to this kind of sliding gate is that because the gate is actually about 1.5 times the width of the gate opening, you do need to have a lot of space next to the gate opening to allow the gate to slide into the open position.
If your sliding gate does not have a cantilever gate trailer, it's not a cantilever gate, and it's actually a different kind of sliding gate.
Cantilever Gate Rollers
Cantilever gate rollers are large, heavy-duty wheels that are usually attached to cantilever gate posts, often using a u-bolt or similar type of bolt or bracket.
These rollers hold the top and bottom of the gate frame in place and allow it to roll back and forth, and because you need to have stability when you slide your gate, each cantilever gate will have top and bottom rollers on at least two posts on the opening side of the gate.
Cantilever gate rollers can be made of steel, nylon, or other materials, and they can have round or square brackets for attachment to a wide variety of gates.
If you use this kind of cantilever gate roller for your gate, you should use a round frame design to ensure smooth sliding because the gate frame is actually part of the gate's rolling mechanism.
When you are selecting cantilever rollers that bolt onto a gate post, make sure that the bracket or bolts are designed for that size or diameter of cantilever gate post.
Cantilever Roller Covers
Cantilever rollers are a weak point in terms of tampering and debris.
Uncovered cantilever rollers are easy to access and tamper with, but they can also be clogged with things like falling leaves, which might affect the operation of your gate.
Cantilever roller covers are usually made of plastic, and they are designed to fit over the roller assembly. You can install these on new cantilever gates, but you can also retrofit an existing gate that doesn't have them in most cases.
Cantilever roller covers come in different sizes and styles, so make sure the one you buy is designed for the rollers you plan to use.
Tracks and Rollers
Another type of cantilever gate hardware you might see on various types of cantilever gates is a track and roller system.
This type of cantilever gate hardware consists of rollers that can be floor or post-mounted and fit inside a lipped channel or a custom extruded track system.
Since this type of cantilever gate hardware does not rely on the gate frame to be part of the roller assembly, you can use it on gates with square or rectangular frames, and there are plenty of options for very large, heavy gates.
If you choose to side mount a track and roller system for your cantilever gate, you can even add an additional rail or even two along the body of the fence to carry extra heavy gates.
Cantilever Gate Catches
Cantilevers can use regular drop pin style latches or other kinds of latches you would use on regular gates, but if you ever plan to automate your cantilever gate, you probably want to use a proper cantilever gate latch, also sometimes known as a vee catch.
These catches are designed to channel the gate into the right place when it closes, but also, like this one, can act as an anti-lift feature, which adds some security to this kind of gate.
Cantilever Gate Posts
The final - and possibly most important - part of your cantilever gate hardware package is the posts your gate will be installed on.
Cantilever gate posts are almost always much more robust than the fence posts you're using. That's because they need to carry a lot more weight, and that weight will be moving from time to time. The extra forces on your posts mean you will need bigger posts with a thicker wall.
Usually, the weight of the gate itself will dictate the size of the posts, so be sure to check with the gate manufacturer to find out what your gate weighs and what posts they recommend for your project.
Cantilever Gate Installers
There are a few residential sliding gate options out there, but most cantilever and sliding gates fall into the commercial and industrial type of fence, so if you're looking for a company to install a cantilever gate for you, start your search there.
Cantilever gates are much heavier, harder to install, and dangerous if not installed properly, so always go with a professional if you don't know exactly what you are doing. This is not a DIY project for the fence or gate novice!