Retract-A-Gate Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the Retract-A-Gate operate?
After installing the wall brackets, attach the retractable safety gate to one side of the doorway by fully snapping the safety gate into both brackets. Once you pull the mesh across and hook it in place, you then lock the safety gate. The lock is a double acting (and very secure but simple) push and then turn mechanism. Once the gate is in the Locked position, gears inside the lock prevent the mesh from unwinding. There will be a little give to the material, but it will not unwind.
When you want to retract the safety gate, simply unlock, then unhook the handle rod from the brackets. Retract-A-Gate uses an internal spring to automatically rewind the mesh, no manual winding is required.
Our gate was designed to have a steady, smooth, and simple operation while still being safe and secure for use with children. The gate does not lock until you use the push and then turn lock mechanism. This feature allows you to open or close the gate as much or as little as you wish before re-latching and locking the gate. This enables you to quickly step through without being forced to fully open the gate (no interruption to the smooth operation). Retract-A-Gate offers a superior balance of ease-of-use, functionality, and style than any other retractable gate on the market.
- Will my child or pet be able to squeeze under the gate?
Retract-A-Gate has performed very well with children and pets. For pets that like to burrow and dig, a metal gate may be your best option. When properly installed, the Retract-A-Gate will have some amount of give due to the fact that it needs to be flexible in order to retract. If the gate is installed incorrectly there may be too much flexibility.
Follow these guidelines to minimize any issues:
- Make sure to always lock the retractable safety gate; this keeps the mesh taut and prevents it from pushing out.
- Be sure the base of the gate is sitting flat on the floor.
- If the gate is mounted at the top of the stairs, make sure the mesh is at least six inches back from the edge of the step. Being too close can create a gap that little ones can push through.
- If there is slack in the bottom of the mesh, the bottom brackets are spaced too close to each other (compared to the upper brackets). Adjust the brackets so the horizontal distance across the opening between all the brackets is identical.
- To apply a small amount of additional tension to the gate, turn the roll slightly (no more than 1/8 of a turn) before locking.
- Will my child, dog, or cat be able to jump or climb over the Retract-A-Gate?
With a mesh height of 34 inches, Retract-A-Gate is one of the tallest retractable gates available. Also, when locked, the mesh is kept taut, making it difficult to push down. Additionally, the tightly woven mesh makes it a challenge for dogs or cats to climb. Most cats are inclined not to jump up over things; they want a flat surface to land on first before jumping back down. Since the retractable pet gate doesn't offer a "ledge" for them to jump to, most cats will not jump over the gate. If your dog or cat can jump over three feet, you will need a taller gate.
- Do you make custom retractable gates wider than 72 inches?
At the present time we only offer two standard sized retractable safety gates which fit openings up to 52 and 72 inches. Some possible solutions for wider openings are below:
The best option is to connect multiple Retract-A-Gates together using zip ties. How this works is the handle rod of one gate connects to the rod of the reel section on the next gate (see slideshow). This can be repeated with as many gates as you need to cover your opening. The benefit of this solution is that you can still easily use one hand to open or close the gates. If you decide to use this solution, make sure to always lock ALL gates connected together. This solution is only for special situations such as non-critical applications or where only a visual barrier is needed. Hooking multiple gates together with zip ties has not been certified for use with children. It is just a special option for non-critical applications. There are 17 inch zip ties (Additional Railing Guard Straps) available for purchase on the “Prices/Buy” page if you decide to use this option.
This use of Retract-A-Gate is for
special circumstances only.
Some customers have hooked two Retract-A-Gates together using two S-hooks in order to cover up to 104”/144”. Each retractable safety gate mounts to either side of the opening, and then the handle rods hook together in the middle with the S-hooks. One S-hook would be used in the top cutouts and one S-hook would be used in the bottom cutouts (see slideshow). This solution is also for special situations such as low traffic areas, non-critical applications, or where only a visual barrier is needed. Retract-A-Gate is very easy to operate with one hand; however, when using this option, you would need two hands and the process will be slower.
This use of Retract-A-Gate is for
special circumstances only.
The S-hook solution has not been tested or certified for use with children, it’s just a special option for non-critical applications. If you decide to use this option, a set of S-hooks is available for purchase on the "Prices/Buy" page.|
The only other option to allow the safety gate to span a wider distance would be to put up a partition to close the gap and then attach Retract-A-Gate to that. You could then paint or stain the structure to match the surroundings.
- The Retract-A-Gate is JPMA certified; what does that mean?
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JPMA) educates consumers on the safe use and purchase of juvenile products. JPMA developed a certification program to help consumers buy products that are built with safety in mind.
To become JPMA certified, Retract-A-Gate was professionally tested by an independent testing facility for compliance with the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) standards. Once a product passes the tests, JPMA allows the manufacturer to label it with the JPMA certified seal. Our baby gates are re-tested every year to maintain their certification. Additionally, Retract-A-Gate also exceeds the Canadian Safety Standards for baby gates.
- Why is the baby gate specified for ages 6 months through 24 months?
6-24 months is what most baby gates are certified for by independent testing organizations. They believe that beyond 2 years children become strong and clever enough to open most baby gates. A small child wouldn't figure out the Retract-A-Gate lock unless they were shown how, since you have to push down and turn at the same time (similar to child-proof caps). Retract-A-Gate is designed to be very easy for adults to operate, while still being difficult for small children to open.
- How is the Retract-A-Gate better than other safety gates?
Smart Retract has done extensive testing of all the other retractable gates on the market. The main difference is simply quality. Retract-A-Gate is priced very competitively and offers the most value of any gate in its class. No other safety gate is as easy to use while keeping your little ones safer. Other retractable gates have complicated parts and don't hold up well to extended use. It is tempting to buy something cheaper, but the old adage of 'you get what you pay for' is very true here as well.
Here is a quick list of why Retract-A-Gate is better:
- Other gates have a loud ratcheting noise when retracting; Retract-A-Gate is quiet.
- Some gates make you manually rewind them; Retract-A-Gate rewinds automatically.
- A few claim one-hand operation; Retract-A-Gate truly has simple, one-hand use.
- Others use complex parts for installation; Retract-A-Gate is simple and fast to install.
- Pausing while opening or closing other gates causes them to jam; Retract-A-Gate was engineered to avoid this cumbersome method of use and operates smoothly.
- Retract-A-Gate is made in the U.S.A. while most other gates are made in China.
- The mounting hardware for other gates is ugly and stands out; Retract-A-Gate mounting brackets are clear and virtually invisible.
- Retract-A-Gate is the only retractable gate designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
- The widest any other retractable gate can cover is 55 inches; Retract-A-Gate can accommodate openings up to 72 inches.
- Any other gate is limited to its maximum opening; several Retract-A-Gates can connect together to cover as wide as you need (this is for special circumstances only).
- No other gate on the market allows for simple relocation; the brackets for the Retract-A-Gate are universal and allow quick, easy relocation.
- The Retract-A-Gate is one of the tallest available with a mesh height of 34 inches.
- There are many gates that specify using the gate for just children or just pets. Retract-A-Gate was engineered for use with both children AND pets.
Retract-A-Gate was designed with ease of installation, ease of use, durability, and safety in mind. It offers the best balance of features and security of any gate in its class.
- Before installing the Retract-A-Gate, which measurements should I know?
Our two Retract-A-Gate models fit openings UP TO a maximum of 52 or 72 inches. This is the total distance (gate and brackets) that Retract-A-Gate can cover; custom lengths are not made. When retracted, the gate is about 3 inches in diameter. The mesh is 34 inches tall and the height to the top of the lock is 38 inches. The wall brackets mount at about 3 and 31 inches off the floor and need about 2.5 inches wide of flat surface for mounting. If you don't have the 2.5 inches to mount your safety gate in the doorway, the brackets can also mount around the corner of the doorway.
If you have baseboards where the Retract-A-Gate will be installed, you must measure the height and thickness of your baseboard. This helps you determine if you need wall spacers, and how many you will need. For more information on wall spacers, click here
- Does the Retract-A-Gate require additional accessories?
For an installation with no stairs or baseboard, and the screws drilled into a solid wall, no other accessories are needed. To help you determine if you need an accessory item, please go to our "Accessories" page by clicking here
- Can Retract-A-Gate be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs?
Yes; Retract-A-Gate is certified for use at the top and bottom of the stairs, has been tested for that application, and can withstand a push out force of up to 200 pounds.
When attaching to the banister post or spindle
While you can screw the wall brackets directly to the stair post or spindle if you want, using a Banister Adapter Kit saves you from drilling these holes. The brackets that come with each gate screw onto the Banister Adapter, then that assembly straps to your stair post or spindle. The included straps can accommodate up to 7 inch square posts or spindles.
These adapters are designed to also work with iron spindles. For thick iron spindles the adapter would fit against the metal, or if the spindle is about 1 inch, it fits into the gap between the two sides of the adapter.
When installing at the top of stairs
We recommend that you mount the gate a minimum of 6 inches back from the edge of the top step; being close to an edge can create a gap. If this is not possible, Retract-A-Gate is very unique in that it can be installed diagonally, at any angle, which can help achieve the 6 inch requirement by angling it away from the stairs (see Installation FAQ #4). Another option would be to block off near-by areas which still restrict access to the stairs.
When installing at the bottom of stairs
For the bottom of the stairs we recommend mounting the Retract-A-Gate on the floor and not up on a step. If the gate was mounted up on a step, a child would have farther to fall if they stepped up and then fell backwards.
How many adapters do I need?
If you are going to attach both sides of your gate to stair posts (or spindles), then you will need two
Banister Adapter Kits. Only one Banister Adapter Kit would be required if you have a wall on one side of your staircase that you will be attaching to.
More detailed information
For full installation instructions, click here
(opens in a new window).
- Can Retract-A-Gate be installed diagonally?
Yes. A great advantage of Retract-A-Gate, over other safety gates, is that it can be installed on a diagonal and work at pretty much any angle. With an angled installation, the opening of each bracket should face away from the safety gate.
- What other surfaces can I install the gate to?
There are many alternative surfaces that the Retract-A-Gate can be mounted to. Some of the more common ones are listed below along with what you need to consider for that surface.
Bookcase or cabinet
As long as the bookcase or cabinet is stable (wall-mounted) and not free-standing. If the bookcase/cabinet wall is thin, you may need a backer board on the inside because the screws need a minimum of 1 inch of solid wood. If there's a countertop overhang, you can use wall spacers under the brackets to move the safety gate out away from the overhang which should provide enough clearance.
Brick, stone, concrete, or mortar
To install on these surfaces, take the screws that come with the Retract-A-Gate to a hardware store and have them size masonry anchors for you. We provide 2 inch long screws; if you need shorter ones, be sure to use #6 flat head screws with the provided washers. Otherwise, you can attach a board to the brick, stone, concrete, or mortar and attach the brackets to the board.
Fiberglass or vinyl siding
Make sure there is solid wood sheeting/boards underneath. If there is no support, you will need to get appropriate anchors that work with your situation.
- Can the Retract-A-Gate be used outdoors?
Absolutely! All parts of the Retract-A-Gate were designed and have been tested for use outdoors in all seasons. However, we do recommend you bring the Retract-A-Gate inside during freezing temperatures. Anything left outside will have a reduced life compared to only indoor use (some fading may occur).
If installing outdoors to a Trex deck, the posts will normally have a 4x4 wooden post inside them. We recommend pre-drilling your holes and using stainless steel screws the same size as the ones we provide (#6 flat head).
- What is the mesh fabric of the safety gate made of and how durable is it?
The Retract-A-Gate fabric is a tough, non-toxic, reinforced polymer composite material that does not contain Lead, Phthalate, Latex, or BPA chemicals and is formaldehyde free. The retractable safety gate fabric is UV, mildew, and highly scratch resistant. This same mesh is also used for truck tarps to hold down cargo.
The mesh fabric has been tested for pets with great results. However, the mesh will not last long if used for pets which chew at the pet gate, (for these pets we recommend a solid steel gate).
- Can I get a sample of the mesh fabric?
Absolutely! Be sure to include your name and mailing address and we will be happy to send you fabric samples of both the White and the Café Retract-A-Gate mesh. Just e-mail us at:
- How do I clean the Retract-A-Gate?
Retract-A-Gate can be cleaned with mild soap and water as needed. For stubborn stains rubbing alcohol can be used.
- Is there a discount if I order multiple gates?
If you would like to purchase multiple gates, we do offer great savings through the Combo Case which is available on our "Prices/Buy
" page. The Combo Case contains 3 of each type of gate available for a total of 12 gates. A great advantage of this promotion is that you would save over $300 compared to purchasing the gates individually. Also, there is FREE shipping within the continental U.S.
A way to receive an even greater discount on multiple gates would be purchasing with our wholesale pricing. Wholesale pricing is available to anyone purchasing a case of 12 gates all the same size and color. If you are interested in the wholesale pricing and would like to know more, email our customer service at: .