What Are the Different Types of Retractable Gates?

K. Testa
K. Testa
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Retractable gates are generally used to confine children or pets to a specific area. There are a number of different types, including indoor and outdoor gates. Some are made specifically for permanent placement in front of staircases or doorways, while others can be moved around as needed. They can be made from different materials such as wood, plastic or metal, and they are available in various heights and widths to accommodate multiple types of openings. Many businesses also use retractable gates to secure their doors and windows.

Indoor retractable gates are normally used as protective devices to keep young children or pets contained within one location or to keep them out of a forbidden area. Caretakers often install safety gates at the tops or bottoms of staircases in order to prevent children from falling down the stairs. Gate manufacturers usually make usage recommendations based on the child's age. For instance, most roll away retractable gates are intended for use with children age two and younger. Pet gate recommendations, on the other hand, might vary based on different factors such as the size of the animal.

While most retractable gates are for indoor use, some can be used both inside and outside. Outdoor gates typically have mesh screens that are both strong and flexible. If necessary, some of them can provide sun protection as well. The roll away options usually have other convenience features, such as one-hand operation.

Typically, hardware-mounted retractable gates can be permanently installed in the desired location. In contrast, pressure-mounted gates can usually be moved from place to place, which can be a convenient option when child protection is not an issue. Most safety experts advise against using anything other than hardware-mounted gates for babies and children, especially if the gates are used at the tops of stairs. In many cases, pressure-mounted gates are more likely to fall when hit with enough force, potentially causing injuries.

Many retractable gates can be modified to fit narrow or wide openings. Some come with adapter kits for adjusting the total width or for securing the gate to a banister or railing. Many merchants also sell spacers for attaching gates to moldings or baseboards.

Outside of the home, retractable gates can have many other uses. For instance, many stores and other businesses utilize them as security measures. These types of gates are usually made of metal, and they can either fold or roll away when not in use.

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