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An expanding gate, also known as an accordion gate or a folding gate, is a type of barrier that typically folds up so it occupies a minimum amount of room when not in use. Unlike solid gates that must either slide out of the way or swing open, expanding gates are generally designed to collapse as they are pushed open. These types of gates can be used as security gates, driveway gates, and even pet and baby safety gates.
Expansion gates can be designed in a variety of ways. One of the most common designs creates a criss-crossed "X" pattern across the surface of the barrier. These criss-crossed bars or slats are usually either only fastened on the edges of the gate or fastened to supportive vertical bars. When the gate is opened, they move into a vertical position, allowing the gate to take up a smaller amount of space. Larger gates generally have the supportive bars, while very small gates may be fastened only on the edges since they may not need extra reinforcement.
The benefits of using an expanding gate usually include its space-saving qualities and how easy it can be to fit one in almost any space. A gate that can expand is typically easier to fit in a space than a gate that must be a certain size to fit properly. Some areas do not allow enough room for a sliding or swing gate, such as some driveways or entryways with little room on the sides. An expanding gate will usually only take up a small amount of the width of the opening when it is collapsed, often making it the best choice.
In addition to its frequent use as a permanent security or driveway gate, the expanding gate design can be ideal as a temporary barrier as well. When a baby or a pet needs to be kept in one room or stairs need to be blocked off to prevent accidents, an expanding gate can typically do the job. These are generally made tall enough to keep most children and pets from going over the top, and can be placed flush against the floor to prevent crawling under.
An expanding pet gate or baby gate will typically be designed to fit most spaces up to a certain width, making it easy to choose one that will work in almost any space. The sides are often fitted with rubber stops or cushions to prevent damage to walls and to hold the gate in place, though some can be mounted on the wall as well. A gate specifically designed for children is best when using it to keep babies from going past a certain point, to make sure all the edges are smooth and the finish is non-toxic.