Table of Contents
Preparing the grade for the track
I wanted a continuous straight line for the track. Maybe I’m a bit fussy, but if the track has a horizontal curve then the gate will still slide alright but it may not align vertically with the posts in both open and closed position. Anyway, I figured that a straight track would give an even pull and/or push when working the gate. (Don’t confuse straight with level. I wanted the track straight but running slightly downhill away from the drive.)
I wanted the track running downhill a little towards the open position so that the gate would stay open (without the need of catches) and not accidentally roll into passing vehicles.
I made it so that track had a fall of 3/4″ (20mm) over the length of the gate.
The existing concrete surface was curved so I decided to cut a straight trench in the concrete, wide enough to take the gate track.
I also needed something solid on the side of the driveway to fix the track to.
For this, I used a post set horizontally in concrete.
The grade plan
Cutting a trench into the concrete
Because the existing concrete surface was curved, I decided to cut a straight trench in the concrete wide enough to take the gate track.
I determined the position of the trench line.
The gate was to be 3 1/2″ (90mm) thick and I wanted the gate 1 3/8″ (35mm) in from the posts, therefore the center of the track would be 2 1/2″ (63mm) in from the posts.
I used a straight piece of wood as a platform for the cutting saw to run on. I determined the height with a string line and level.
I then set the blade on the cutting saw to the required depth and made multiple cuts in the concrete.
I cleaned out the trench with a chisel (see picture above).
Determining the line and digging a trench in the ground
I ran a string line along the middle of the trench (in the concrete) and down to where the track would finish. This enabled me to determine where to dig the trench in the ground and where to place the horizontal post (track support).
I then dug the trench to a depth and width that would accommodate the horizontal post and about 4″ (100mm) of concrete below and around it.
Setting a post horizontal for the track support
I then mixed a batch of concrete and placed it in the newly dug trench.
I placed the 4″x4″ (100mm x 100mm) post horizontally on the freshly poured concrete and adjusted it (using the string line as a guide) until it was the right height.
I now had a continuous straight surface to fix the track to.
Putting in the fence posts
I also decided to build a little 4ft (1200mm) high fence along the side of the gate when it was in an ‘open position’.
This would protect things from getting in the way of the gate and also keep grandkids out of harm’s way.
At this stage, I just put in the fence posts so I could still get in to fasten the track.