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What is a Chain Gate?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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A chain gate is simply a chain used to deny access to a particular location. Equipped with a hook or latching mechanism at one end, it is attached to one side of an entrance or exit by snapping the hook into a loop of wire or another type of fastener. Often used to keep livestock restrained, a chain gate is typically used to close a through-way for tractors and other farm equipment that frequently enter a livestock area. By attaching a shock-resistant handle, this type of gate is easily converted into an electrified gate to dissuade stubborn animals from pushing against and breaking the chain.

Not limited to farm use, a chain gate often makes a useful addition to a driveway. For those wishing to limit access to a driveway on vacation property or a rural home site, a chain gate is easily locked with a padlock or fastened with a simple hook-and-eye bolt. The links in the chain make it easy to hang a "Private Drive" or "Do Not Enter" sign by running a length of wire through the sign and the chain links. In some areas that frequently have snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle traffic, it is wise to paint the chain with a bright reflective paint to avoid accidental collisions from occurring.

Military installations as well as forestry personnel often use a chain gate to permanently or temporarily close off restricted trails. The heavy-duty chain material prevents would-be trespassers from easily cutting through it. When attached and fastened to strong steel or concrete posts, such a gate is a very formidable foe to anyone wishing to unlawfully remove it. Monetarily, a length of chain is far less costly than a comparable wooden or steel gate. It is also much easier to maintain than a gate requiring hinges, latches and occasional lubrication.

When measuring a driveway or entrance point for a potential chain gate, additional length needs to be added to compensate for the sag that can occur in the chain when attached to the posts. The weight of the chain will make straightening it nearly impossible without the use of a turnbuckle. By making the chain a little longer than required, it will easily fasten to the posts without struggling to hook the chain into place. It is also important to decide on the size of the chain required to close the access, as using a chain that is too heavy will make it difficult to stretch it into position. If a chain is too light, it may not dissuade trespassers.

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