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Thread: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

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    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Pasadena, CA
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    Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    Because of building our pool, we had install a gate that opened away from the pool and had a spring to close itself. We opted for a vinyl gate for its longevity and maintenance-free aspects. We asked our PB to get us one that has a lockable door knob like we had on the old gate. Just a basic door knob with a key that you use to lock/unlock from the outside, and a turn-style device that you lock/unlock with your hands from the inside (so you only need the key when you are entering the backyard from the outside -- if you're in the backyard by way of going through the house, you don't need a key to open the gate). Our PB said the sub only has a key style latching device, which sounded like it would work when we spoke over the phone.

    Today this expensive gate was installed and we are pretty unhappy with the way the locking mechanism works. The device is on the outside of the gate so anyone walking up to our gate with a screwdriver could remove it and gain access to our home. Further, you need a key to lock/unlock it from both the inside and the outside, which is very inconvenient. We don't bring our keys with us when we enter the backyard from the house. My irritation with this is amplified because it cost us $955 for just this gate. That price makes me feel we should have gotten a gate with a better locking system. Granted we wanted a high quality vinyl gate, not the cheap kind we have elsewhere in the yard from Home Depot which is weak and too lightweight. The gate itself is nice, and they poured concrete down each of the posts so I'm confident knowing it will be strong. But the security aspect and the annoying key requirement from the inside really bugs me.

    Does anyone have a similar gate that has a better locking mechanism? FYI, we can't install a door knob because the gap between the gate and the stationary panel part is too wide (there's a vertical piece behind it that makes it so you can't see through the gap but obviously it won't make installing a trusty old door knob feasible).

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    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    May 2014
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    East Texas
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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    Hi, I have a vinyl gate and was also concerned that a lock on the outside could or would break. I chose to install the lock on the inside, so when the gate is locked the only way to access the pool is to go through the house, through another fenced in area and through another gate. Yes, it's a pain and I have considered installing a digital keypad lock on the outside of the gate and just locking the inside when we are out of town. Either way, an inside lock just seems more secure than a knob type lock. And with a digital lock, there's no need to keep up with keys.

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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    Thanks, Tylerlisal. A digital keypad sounds awesome. We had one on the roll up garage door and it made things convenient for sure. I have a feeling the gate we got was designed to open in the opposite direction, i.e., in towards the pool and yard. The hinges are on the outside too. Because of that vertical piece that the gate rests upon when closed, we don't have the option of installing the lock on the inside. The pin would end up on the outside of the vertical piece, thus preventing the gate from swinging open in the direction it needs to (away from the pool).

    Are you able to post a pic of your vinyl gate? I'd like to compare it and see if there was a better choice the vendor could have sold us for our needs. Again, it seems that the gate they brought was meant to open in the opposite direction so they turned it around to meet the city's pool code, but that put the hinges and lock on the wrong side of the gate. Thanks.
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    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    Feb 2015
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    I did a ton of research on gate latches as I ended up building my own gate.

    Here is the latch we decided on - it is not exactly a door handle that you turn. It works by pulling on the handle outward to enter - and pushing on the lock with your thumb to depart (from the inside). It is magnetic latching and works well. You can lock it or not as you need with the keys that are included. It uses a Kwikset lock and can be keyed to match your home locks if you have Kwikset - we have Schlage and will need to modify the locks if we want them to match our house keys.

    DD Technologies - World's most trusted gate hardware

    The problem you have with the outside hinges is something that might be able to be fixed with some tamper proof screws. They have unusual heads on them that are not standard for anyone with a normal screw driver...

    2015 Build Link: 15'x30' Rectangle (3'-6", 5', 4' depth) 14,000 Gallon Pool, Finish: Wet Edge Primera Stone Black Kona. TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin DX5+S Robot, Jandy CL460 Filter, VS 2HP pump, AquaPure 1400 SWG, iAqualink2, Automatic Safety Cover. No Heater

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    jv92red's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    Julie,

    I have that exact same vinyl gate and locking mechanism. Don't worry, you can't unscrew the inner screws. Take another look at your picture . There are two screws accessible from the out side on both sides of that mechanism that ARE accessible from the front, then two on the inside of each mechanism that CANNOT be accessed when the gate is locked.

    Sure a bolt cutter will make quick work of that this metal pin but they will need bolt cutters (or a hack saw and some time) But a screw driver won't get them very far.
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
    TF-100

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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    You both have really put my mind at ease. JV92RED, I noticed the inner screws but thought if the outer ones were removed it'd be pretty easy to twist the hardware in a manner that would release the gate. And you're right about the bolt cutter. My husband was thinking he'd like to find a solution where the "pin" behaves as a deadbolt in that it goes inside the stationary panel but it seems that can ruin the panel so I don't think we'll go that far. Our PB made a good point too by saying if someone was going to break in, they'd simply jump the gate since it's only 6' tall anyhow. I'm calming down about my security concerns and have come to terms that we will leave a key somewhere in the backyard so we can open it from inside without having to go back into the house for a key (or better yet, get the latch that SantaCruzPool just shared with us). Further, I feel much better hearing that others have this gate and this is in fact the design, rather than thinking we spent so much money but got the wrong gate for our requirements (i.e., a gate that is designed to open away from the pool instead of simply turning around the one that was meant to open the other way). If that had been the case, I would have insisted on replacing it with a gate that is designed for our requirements, especially considering the price.

    I am definitely going to show my husband the tamper proof screws and both of your responses. And we will likely get that latch, SantaCruzPool. We surely appreciate your feedback. Thank you, everyone.
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    jv92red's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    If it puts your mind at ease, go ahead an undo the screws facing forward and see how far those pieces of metal can be twisted while the other two screwed that are not accessible are still securely in place. I doubt they will move much if at all. It would be much easier for someone with a deadbolt cutter to snap that pin rather than deal with a screwdriver and trying to pry them open.

    I'll take a picture of my gate from the front. You'll also see a security camera from underneath the eaves on the back yard side shooting right to the front gate area as you open the gate. A criminal doesn't want to be caught on camera so why would they be taking the time to pry open the gate and be caught? And oh, I didn't say the camera was real. You can get these small fake cameras from many online places and they are the exact replica of the same real camera. I'm also looking at a real 4 channel security setup for my yard for this very reason. Some are linked to your phone and many of them have DVR recorders so you can record on motion detection. They start at around $300 so won't break the bank either.

    I'll post of a pic of my gate and camera when I can take a quick photo for you so you can see my setup.
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
    TF-100

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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    Sounds great. Thank you. I love the idea of having decoy cameras. We have real ones too, but having a few decoys around to make it look beefier is a good idea! I'll have to look into that. BTW, my hubz is searching for a replacement camera system to our outdoor system and is concerned about clarity on the DVR options. While he continues his search, we added a single dropcam to the outdoor camera mix that is working nicely for us. The thing is that you'd have to figure out a way to waterproof it but there might be something you can buy for that purpose. In our case, we have it resting on a low window sill aimed out the window. It hardly noticeable and the footage is very clear with sound and we pay a small fee to store the footage offsite on their servers (I think like $5 to $10/mo). The camera itself is $200 for the HD resolution but you can find it on sale, and there's no need for wires & a DVR. Maybe it's an option for you. We'll continue to use it even after finding the robust and affordable outdoor system replacement we are looking for.

    And, another temporary solution we are using for indoor cameras is repurposing our old iphones and itouches by downloading the free Nest Dropcam app on them. We have them setup by the doors and you can pay to have the footage stored in a cloud for this option as well. I love it cuz you don't pay for the devices again (assuming you have old devices withering away somewhere). But whenever I workout in the living room, I always turn that darn camera away. LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by jv92red View Post
    If it puts your mind at ease, go ahead an undo the screws facing forward and see how far those pieces of metal can be twisted while the other two screwed that are not accessible are still securely in place. I doubt they will move much if at all. It would be much easier for someone with a deadbolt cutter to snap that pin rather than deal with a screwdriver and trying to pry them open.

    I'll take a picture of my gate from the front. You'll also see a security camera from underneath the eaves on the back yard side shooting right to the front gate area as you open the gate. A criminal doesn't want to be caught on camera so why would they be taking the time to pry open the gate and be caught? And oh, I didn't say the camera was real. You can get these small fake cameras from many online places and they are the exact replica of the same real camera. I'm also looking at a real 4 channel security setup for my yard for this very reason. Some are linked to your phone and many of them have DVR recorders so you can record on motion detection. They start at around $300 so won't break the bank either.

    I'll post of a pic of my gate and camera when I can take a quick photo for you so you can see my setup.
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    Re: Problem with New Vinyl Gate Locking Mechanism

    Hubz just corrected me... the free app is not the Nest Dropcam, but rather is called Manything. And they offer a certain amount of hours to store footage for free, then you can pay a small fee if you want more stored hours. And you can watch live activity the cameras are capturing from your phone or iPad. That's how I've been watching our pool get built from my home office since there's no window to the backyard nearby. If you want more info, I'll have my husband provide the details next time. He clearly knows a lot more about this than I do : )
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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