Dog Gate Frequently Asked Questions
- How does Retract-A-Gate work?
After installing the Retract-A-Gate wall brackets, simply attach the retractable dog gate to either side of the doorway by fully snapping the safety gate into both brackets. Retract-A-Gate has a secure lock on it, so once you pull the mesh across and hook it in place, you then lock the retractable safety gate. The lock is a double acting (and very secure but simple) push and then turn mechanism. This keeps the dog gate from being pulled out or pushed down.
When you want to retract the dog gate, simply unlock and 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. The mesh can only rewind when the lock has been moved to the open position; preventing any inadvertent retracting of the mesh. The action of the Retract-A-Gate as it retracts is smooth, steady, and quiet. Once it is fully retracted, the mesh and handle are neatly contained. Retract-A-Gate is the ONLY retractable dog gate which retracts easily, quietly,
The opening and closing process is very simple, can be done with one hand, and only takes a few seconds to do. We went to great lengths to engineer and design Retract-A-Gate for safety AND convenience and are confident that you will be satisfied. Please refer to our “How to Use” page for installation instructions. To go to our “How to Use” page, click here
- Will my dog be able to squeeze under the gate?
Retract-A-Gate has been used with just about every breed of dog and has performed very well. There are some breeds of dogs which like to burrow and dig. For these dogs a metal dog gate may be your best option. When installed properly, there will be some amount of give to the mesh material due to the fact that it needs to be flexible in order to retract. However, if installed incorrectly there may be too much flexibility.
Follow the guidelines below to minimize any issues:
- Make sure to always lock the retractable safety gate by pushing and turning the lock. This will keep the mesh taut and help prevent your pet from pushing the mesh out.
- Be sure the base of the dog gate is sitting on the floor and is not mounted up off the floor at all. When in use there should be no more than about 1/4" gap between the bottom of the mesh and the floor.
- If you have the retractable safety gate mounted near a step, make sure the mesh is at least six inches back from the edge of the step. Being close to an edge can create a gap that dogs may be able to push through.
- When the mesh is extended and locked, both the top and bottom should be tight with no slack. If there is slack in the bottom, it probably means the bottom brackets are spaced too close to each other (compared to the upper brackets). Adjust the brackets so the distance between them across the opening is identical.
- To apply a slight amount of additional tension before locking the mesh in place, tighten the roll of fabric (no more than an 1/8 of a turn), and then lock the gate.
- Will my dog be able to jump over the Retract-A-Gate dog gate?
With a mesh height of 34 inches, Retract-A-Gate is one of the tallest retractable dog gates available. When locked, the mesh is held taut, so it is difficult to push down. Retract-A-Gate’s tightly woven mesh fabric would be difficult for a dog to climb over. If your dog loves to jump and can jump over a three foot fence or safety gate, you will need a taller dog gate.
- Do you make a retractable dog gate wider than 72 inches?
Could you make a custom one?
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.
- How is Retract-A-Gate better than other dog 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.
- What measurements do I need to know before I install my Retract-A-Gate?
We offer two Retract-A-Gate models which fit openings UP TO a maximum of 52 or 72 inches. These maximums include the total distance (gate and brackets) that the dog gate can cover. The height of the mesh on the retractable safety gate is 34 inches and the total height to the top of the lock is just under 38 inches. The wall brackets mount at approximately 3 and 31 inches off the floor and require about 2.5 inches of flat surface to attach to. There is some leeway to the height for where the brackets are mounted, especially on the reel side that holds the dog gate. When completely retracted, Retract-A-Gate is less than 4 inches wide.
When Retract-A-Gate is mounted in a doorway, most doors will still be able to close with the mounting hardware and retractable safety gate in place. If you don’t have the 2.5 inches necessary to mount your dog gate in the doorway, the brackets can also mount around the corner of the doorway, either on the door molding or on the wall. When installed around the corner of the doorway, this may require the gate to open beyond its maximum. If so, the brackets must be mounted within the opening to allow for maximum coverage.
If there are baseboards in the area where you will be installing your Retract-A-Gate, you might need wall spacers. For more information on wall spacers, go to our "Prices/Buy" page. In the description of the Wall Spacer Set will be a link to help you determine if you need that item.
What accessories do I need for installing my dog gate?
For a normal doorway, hallway or walk-way installation (no stairs or baseboard interference), with the bracket screws drilled into a solid wall, no other accessories should be needed. For more information, please visit our “Prices/Buy” page which lists all the retractable safety gates and accessory items that we offer. In the description of each item is a link to help you determine if you need that safety gate accessory. To go to our “Prices/Buy” page, click here
- Can Retract-A-Gate be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs?
How many Banister Adapter Kits will I need?
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
While you can screw the wall brackets directly onto your baluster or newel post (stair post or spindle) if you want, using a Banister Adapter Kit saves you from drilling holes into your stair post or spindle. The brackets that come with each dog gate screw into the Banister Adapter, then that assembly ties to your stair post or spindle using the straps provided with the kit. The Banister Adapter straps can accommodate up to 7 inch square posts.
Our Banister 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 small (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 retractable safety 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 a problem for you, 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 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, if a child may be in the area, we recommend mounting the Retract-A-Gate on the floor
and not up on a step. If the safety gate was mounted up on a step a child would have farther to fall if they stepped up and then fell backwards.
How many do I need?
If you are going to attach both sides of your dog 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.
Which size do I need?
We offer two lengths of Banister Adapters: 36 inch or 48 inch. The 36 inch adapter will work for most installations and the 48 inch adapter is for taller posts or spindles. For example, some posts have flat or rounded areas at the top and bottom and then are narrow in the middle. The adapter is designed to span over this narrow area to provide a level surface for the brackets. If the distance from the floor to the upper round or flat area of the post that the adapter must reach is more than 36 inches you will need the 48 inch adapter. The adapter may be cut shorter (using any type of saw) to avoid standing taller than your stair post or spindle. The adapter cannot be cut any shorter than 32 inches.
More detailed information
For full installation instructions, click here
(opens a new window).
- Can the Retract-A-Gate dog gate be installed diagonally?
Absolutely! A nice advantage of Retract-A-Gate is that it can be installed on a diagonal and work at pretty much any angle, opening up numerous mounting options. This is just one of the many great retractable dog gate features which few if any other dog safety gates on the market have.
You can also diagonally attach Retract-A-Gate to a wall farther away from the top of the stairs in order to help keep it back the recommended 6 inches. For the best security with an angled installation the openings of the brackets should face away from the Retract-A-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
You can mount the brackets to a bookcase only if the bookcase is stable (wall-mounted). You may need to put a backer board on the inside wall of the bookcase (or cabinet) if the wall is thin so that the screws have a minimum of 1 inch of solid wood to bite into.
If you wish to mount the retractable dog gate to a cabinet where there is a small counter top overhang, the wall spacers can be used under both the top and bottom brackets. The spacers should move the dog gate out away from the counter's edge to provide enough clearance to mount the safety gate.
Brick, stone, concrete, or mortar
You will need appropriate masonry anchors which you can purchase at any hardware store. Simply take the screws that come with the Retract-A-Gate to the store and have them size an appropriate masonry anchor for you. The screws we provide are 2 inches long. If you need to use shorter screws be sure to use #6 flat head screws and use the included finishing washers. Another option would be to fasten a board to the brick/stone/concrete/mortar using similar anchors and then attach the brackets to the board.
We always recommend mounting the brackets to the support/stud behind the fiberglass as that will provide the best holding power. If there is no support then you need to use appropriate anchors that work with your fiberglass.
Vinyl siding on a house
You can attach the retractable dog gate wall brackets to the house siding as long as there is solid wood sheeting/boards underneath the siding (this is normally the case).
- Can the gate be used outdoors?
Absolutely! Retract-A-Gate has been extensively tested in wet rainy seasons and hot dry summers. We have also tested the retractable safety gate outside during a full northern winter with flawless results. With that said, we do recommend you bring the Retract-A-Gate inside during freezing temperatures (simply unsnap the safety gate from the brackets). Anything, including Retract-A-Gate, which is left outside will have a reduced life compared to only indoor use; but you can feel confident that the retractable safety gate will stand up well to outdoor use. One thing to be aware of is that some fading or degradation due to extended sun exposure is possible. Because of this, we recommend bringing the Retract-A-Gate indoors when not in use.
Installing on a Trex deck?
If installing outside to a Trex deck, the posts will normally have a 4x4 wooden post inside them. In this application we would recommend pre-drilling your holes and using stainless steel screws the same size as the ones we provide (#6 flat head). Stainless steel will hold up much better when in contact with the treated wood posts that are normally on the inside of the Trex.
You can also attach the wall brackets to your house siding if there is solid wood underneath.
- What is the mesh fabric of the dog gate made of and how durable is it?
Can I get a sample of the mesh?
The mesh fabric used for Retract-A-Gate is a tough, non-toxic, reinforced polymer composite. Our material does not contain Lead, Phthalate, Latex or BPA chemicals and is formaldehyde free. We're proud to say that we are far ahead of the curve when it comes to eliminating those chemicals. The mesh is very durable, yet still allows you to clearly see through it. The retractable safety gate mesh material is UV, mildew, and scratch and claw resistant and has been tested for pets with great results. In other applications this same mesh is used for truck tarps to hold down cargo.
As tough as the mesh is, it will not have a long life if used for dogs with behavioral problems or ones which scratch or chew at the pet gate. For dogs with these issues, we recommend you use a solid steel dog gate. As with any new dog, training is an important part of their care. Dogs should be trained to respect items within your home, including new things such as pet gates brought into their environment. Even well behaved dogs can sometimes act unexpectedly, but training should avoid most problems with the retractable dog gate.
If you suspect your dog may not respect the gate or cause damage to it, please contact us. We may have some simple solutions for you to make Retract-A-Gate a success in your home.
Would you like a sample?
If you would like a sample of the mesh, be sure to include your name and mailing address and we will be happy to send you a small fabric sample of both the White and the Café Retract-A-Gate mesh. Just e-mail our customer service at: .
- How do I clean the Retract-A-Gate dog 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: .