DIY, how to build your own cantilever sliding gate (1) – Make a plan

In this series of posts, I will show you how to build a cantilever sliding gate from scratch. The picture below shows the before-and-after of my project.

Replace the old double wood swing gate what is manual with automatic cantilever sliding gate
Replace the old double wood swing gate what is manual with automatic cantilever sliding gate

I needed to convert my old double wood swing gates to automatic sliding gate, so that I can drive my car in and out without any hassle. There were several options to do this project: 1) Hiring a contractor. It would cost me $5,000~$6,000. 2) Purchasing a kit and installing on my own, e.g. cantilever gate kits from Hoover fence Co. priced for $2636,06 plus tax and shipping, but it would still be a lot of work to assemble and install it. 3) Complete DIY.

After intensive research, I decided to build it from scratches on my own. I chose to build a cantilever style sliding gate so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the pavement to put down the track. Galvanized pipes was picked for the gate framing for its low cost. According to online resource, I chose O.D. 2-3/8″ (Outside Diameter) pipe for the frame, and 4″ for the post. My existing gate opening is 12′ wide, so I needed to build a 18′ wide gate. Height would be 5′ for mounting with 6′ long wood fencing boards. In order to “clamp” the 5′ gate frame between sets of roller wheels, the post above ground is 6′ tall, that means, the post below the ground should be no less than 3′ long. This gave the total length of the post as long as 9′Gear driven gate opener was decided against chain-driven for its low noise and smooth transition. And nylon roller wheel also won my bid for the same reason.

A diagram from Hoover Fence Co. is illustrative enough to begin with.
A diagram from Hoover Fence Co. is illustrative enough to begin with. Courtesy by Hoover Fence Co.

After hard work by myself (just one person except for one moment when I asked a favor of my wife) on weekends over almost 3 months, I finally finished my cantilever sliding gate! And here are some useful information.

Total cost: about $1,500 including


Galvaznied_PipeGalvanized pipes: $500.
Dia. 2-3/8″. 18 ft x 2; 6 ft x 5; 8 ft x 2.
Dia. 4″. 9 ft x 2


Nylon cantilever rollers: $300.
x 4

Sliding gate opener: $240
w/ gear rack
w/ remote

Concrete_MixConcrete mix: $40
60 lbs pre-mix x 15

Lumber: $100
fencing boards


Bracket & hardware: $50
Wood fencing adapter
Gear rack mounts

Building_WireElectrical: $50
Building wire
GFCI plug


PVC conduit: $20
Pull box

New-purchase tools:

Hole saw: $30.

Welding_MachineWelding machine: $100
200 amp stick type.

Concrete mixer: $60

36 Replies to “DIY, how to build your own cantilever sliding gate (1) – Make a plan”

  1. Some helpful notes here. Fantastic. We’re at 75% of the legwork done. I’m a general contractor that is more familiar with the materials. a) Have a concrete company come to pour your holes $300 max. If you need to build a curb around posts go to Lowe’s and ask for Sono tube. Careful not to pour too close to gate stop location. Guys at Lowe’s will tell you what to do. Any extra concrete pour into 4″ deep pancakes straight on the ground, No need to form. make large grooves in pancakes 3″ deep at 110-20 min. Break up with sledge in 6-12 hours while still 50% soft. b) lease an ele chisel for holes with extension for hard soil/rock. Good for back/hands too. c) Have welder build on site or deliver what he builds at his shop, $80-110 per hour, most welders. He’ll need to visit to make that decision. Probably 2-4 hours work but stay with him as a helper. Only do what he says if anything. Look at some of his work around town. A lot of shops do mobile work. Taking picts with some drawings to them, a must. d) Ele can be temp until you have ele power installed at operator. Building Code is 12 to 16″ deep, sometimes less. Get 2″ pvc min and run temp (with extension cord) from house if not over 100′. Less than 2 is too hard to pull, and do in 20′ sections. You should use 14 gauge, 12 if you have to. Buy a 100′ extension cord 22-$50 new. If you don’t need ex cord later, sell on Craig’s 1/2 what you paid etc. When you do final ele, tie your wire to extension cord and pull through. ABSOLUTELY, DO NOT bury extension cord straight into ground!!! You’ll cut it later taking it out. If you don’t do ele work get electrician for final, 50-100 per hr. Most won’t risk their license doing w/o permit. Unlicensed only if you know him and still, absolutely code, no cheating.

  2. Great job, I really like your design. It’s been approximately 2 years since the date of this posting and your build. Have you had to make any repairs or modifications to keep the gate running smooth. I have double wood swing gates as you did and your blog will be extremely helpful.

  3. Looks amazing! I’m research I to try something similar myself.

    Curious how you powered this gate? Do you have to hire an electrician to properly wire it and bury the cable to the house?

    Thanks !!

  4. I’m looking at bulding something similar for a camper parking access. Since it wouldn’t be used every day, I’m not sure I need the motorized opener – how hard is it to open/close your gate manually?

  5. HI XueMing,

    What gauge of galvanized pipe did you use? I am assuming schedule 40 but wanted to check. Can you provide details on your pedestrian door (hinges, attachments and cross supports)? I was doing some calculations for a 15 foot gate (10 foot opening) and with wood, pipe and track, I am figuring my gate will weigh about 700 pounds, assumes schedule 40 pipe and 2×6 wood fencing. This is why I want to know what size pipe you used.

    Nice job with your project – Thanks


    1. Hi JC,

      Thanks for visiting my post. I believe I used gauge 14 pipe. You should be able to find a table converting the schedule to gauge. I didn’t put too much thoughts into the pedestrian door. Hinges were re-cycled from its predecessor. Other details should be quite straightforward from my post photos. Yes, the gate will be heavy, so make sure the cross support for the galvanized pipe is correctly installed. If everything is done correctly, the gate should hold up well. Mine has been up and running for almost 5 years without any glitches.

      Good luck!

  6. I just came across your videos. Great job. I just bought a used 16’ chain link fence gate. I want to use it as the frame and build a gate system like yours. Couple questions.
    My opening is 14’. How did you figure out the required additional length? Is it just 1/2 the opening, so in my case the track wheel posts would be 7’ apart, ( and I will have to make my gate frame 5’ longer?
    I don’t want to add the motor. Can you easily operate your gate manually?
    Thanks Bev.

  7. How did you determine the ratio of counterbalance to gate opening? It looks like yours is 41.6%. Also, how did you determine how far apart to space the two posts with cantilever rollers? Any reply appreciated.

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