Underground motors are another very popular type of automatic gate opener, offering a more discreet aesthetic that many prefer over visible motors. It’s installed beneath the ground inside of a protective case, with the drive arm connecting to the bottom of the gate.
Because the opener isn’t visible it doesn’t ruin the look of the gate, although it requires a more complex installation process that typically results in a higher price for the opener.
- Nearly invisible
This is one of the main reasons that make underground gate automation so very popular. Because the motors are buried under the ground, enclosed in boxes; all that is visible is the rust proof lid. This is particularly advantageous if you do not want to spoil the aesthetic of your gates by attaching arms across the back section of your gates.
Whilst no automatic gate kits are especially noisy, the underground operators are amongst the quietest of all the opener types. This is something you may wish to bear in mind if you live in a residential street, especially if you are likely to be operating your electric gates during the night time hours.
- Can move all gate types
Underground gate motors are most typically found on open patterned iron gates but they can also be used on closed boarded gates if required. In order to move a closed boarded gate you will need one of the higher specification underground motors such as a BFT SUB R or the Beninca DU.350.
- Can require lots of extra drainage
Due to being in boxes under the ground, they obviously have the potential to fill up with water. As standard, a soak-away will be added to provide drainage away from the boxes. The motors are rated to operate under water but it is never good for them to be permanently fully submerged.
- Not ideal at the bottom of a slope
If your gates are at the bottom of a hill or slope, this can provide an additional drainage challenge which may not be combated with just a standard soak-away. You may well find that you need to put a drainage channel across your driveway to stop a cascade of water reaching your underground gate motor boxes in the first place.
- Hard to retro-fit and requires welding
If your gates are already installed and you are wanting to retro-fit electric gate motors, it is far more difficult to install underground gate openers than it is to install arms. The installation process requires the removal of your gates and then welding of ‘shoes’ to the underside of the gate to connect to the drive mechanism of the underground gate opener. This is something to bear in mind when costing up the job as this can add a significant amount of expense to the project.