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Door Hardware Triage

The Medical Metaphor

medicalAs previously published in Doors and Hardware Magazine, Feb. 2016

As in the medical profession, correct diagnosis of door hardware problems is wholly dependent upon the knowledge, skill and powers of observation of the person whose job it is to correct the problem.  “The devil is in the details,” they say, and it is never truer than when said in reference to doors and hardware.

Another old saying, “ignorance is bliss,” can be liberally applied to who those innocent building occupants and visitors who think that the answer to a lock that is not latching is to slam it until it does – or until the hardware falls off, whichever comes first.  Yet by the same token, door hardware technicians who fail to look at door hardware problems holistically are equally blissful.  If you have ever seen the latch hole in an ANSI strike enlarged to include half the head of the bottom mounting screw in order to remedy what is clearly a hinge problem you will understand what I am talking about.

The above occurs because the technician sent to solve the problem is guilty of treating the symptoms while failing to diagnose the disease.  He or she observes that the latch is making contact with the strike too low to drop into the strike hole as it should, but does not question why this is happening.  This example is a simple one, but the principle applies to more complex problems as well.

Method

A great way to make sure you correctly identify a door hardware problem on the first visit is to have a consistent method of examining the total opening.   An example follows:

  1. If possible, speak with the person who has reported the problem, or better yet, meet with them at the opening so that they can show you what the problem is.
  2. As you approach the door, visually check the gap around the edges of the door on the top and both sides.  (The gap should be one-eighth inch.)  If the gap is greater in one place and less in another, the problem may be a bent hinge or misaligned frame.
    Open the door.  How does it feel?  Does the door itself stick?  If it has a latch, is there resistance when you turn the lever to retract it?  Do the hinges groan or squeak?
  3. Inspect the door for dents and abrasions.  For example, scratches at the top of the lock-side edge may indicate bent or loose hinges.   Dents may indicate attempted forced entry:  check for damage to internal lock parts.  A dent in the gap between the door and frame above the top hinge may mean an object was placed there.  The frame may be damaged and/or the top hinge may be bent.
  4. Inspect the hardware for damage, missing parts and/or wear.   If it is a hollow metal frame, are the silencers installed?  If there are no silencers the door will not align properly and the lock will not latch correctly.  Is the door closer leaking?  Does the door closer arm move smoothly?  Are the hinge screws all present and accounted for, and are they tight?  If there is a latch, there probably is a drag mark on the strike.  Does the drag mark reflect correct alignment?

In other words, look at the door, the frame and the hardware thoroughly and completely, and always do it the same way.  That way you won’t fix one problem just to return the following week to fix another problem that you missed.strike

Tools May Be Required

To identify a door hardware problem you may find it helpful to use instruments or tools.   For example, a carpenter’s level can help you determine whether a door or frame is level or plumb quickly and accurately, and a carpenter’s square can show immediately if the frame is true or sprung.   A tape measure may be helpful to check if hardware is correctly located, whether or not the gap between door and frame is consistently one-eighth inch, and if one leg of the door frame seems to be longer than the other.

One problem most swiftly identified using a carpenter’s level is positive pressure.   If you detach the closer arm and tape back the latch on a door that is level, and it swings open seemingly of its own accord, chances are it’s a positive pressure issue.  Positive pressure occurs when the air pressure inside the HVAC ducts is greater than the pressure outside, causing air to be constantly forced out of the structure.  Positive pressure can be powerful enough to prevent a door closer from closing the door, and sometimes the only cure is when the HVAC technician changes the settings on the air circulation system.

The positive pressure issue is one of those door hardware issues that may require someone besides a door hardware technician to fix.

Waiting For The Electrician

Problems with electro-mechanical and electronic locking systems, like positive pressure issues, may require a low voltage or electronics specialist to solve in addition to a door hardware technician.  For liability reasons it is important to use technicians who are appropriately licensed as required in your locality.

Often these problems are due to mechanical as well as – or even instead of – electrical or electronic issues.  Therefore the best situation for electronic or electrical door hardware triage is when the technician called upon to fix a problem is skilled in all three disciplines. Out in the world we are finding locksmiths that have their low voltage electrical technician license and a working knowledge of how to troubleshoot or program an access control system, systems integrators who can disassemble and repair a mortise lock, and even electricians who can adjust a door closer or repair an exit device.

This is a phenomenon driven by a market that desires to have one technician who can do everything, both for convenience and economics.  In any event, a technician equally skilled in these areas solves the problem of cross discipline communication.  If you’ve ever had to explain the difference between fail safe and continuous duty electrified door hardware to someone who just does not get these concepts you will understand what I’m talking about.

For this reason alone it behooves one in the door hardware repair and installation business to learn as much as they can and get all the credentials they need to be able to service all the door hardware out there in today’s electric and electronic world.

Closure

The age of door hardware in which we work today is the age of the renaissance woman or  man, student of many skills.  However, diagnosing the often complex ailments of doors and door hardware takes more than skill and knowledge:  it requires mindfulness, openness, resourcefulness and humility.  It is not only necessary to know what could go wrong (and doubtless will, according to Murphy’s Law); it is necessary to be aware enough to observe all the symptoms, to be open to all possibilities and to be imaginative in creating solutions.  One must also have the humility to realize that it is not possible for anyone to know absolutely everything.  Sometimes the most useful tool at your disposal is your mobile phone.  A call to factory tech support can often save hours of fruitless aggravation.

 





No man is an island – but some men belong on one. 

The Pressure’s On

balloonPositive Pressure Issues

Sometimes doors are required to perform conflicting functions simultaneously.  For example, in order to comply with the American Disabilities Act a particular door may be restricted to a door closer that requires as little as five pounds of opening force.  This same door may be required to lock automatically without fail.

One solution could be to use a non-hydraulic, motorized power operator (automatic door opener) instead of a standard hydraulic closer.  Since many non-hydraulic power operators do not depend on a spring for closing force it is possible for them to have an ADA compliant opening force and also exert a closing adequate to close and latch the door.  Most power operators that fit this description must be installed by AAADM certified installers.

Without the magic fix of the non-hydraulic power operator, all a door technician can do is fine tune the door so that it swings perfectly and is perfectly balanced; fine tune the locks, hinges and door closer to peak performance under the opening force restriction; and pray there isn’t a positive pressure or wind issue.

One caveat:  deprived of electricity, a non-hydraulic power operator will neither open nor close the door.

Positive pressure HVAC operation is a prime example of how the intended function of a door can be impeded or prevented by the normal operation of building infrastructure.   Positive pressure in a building is accomplished by using the HVAC system to add air from outside the building to the air that is already in the building.  As with a balloon, the added air pushes outwards in all directions.  When an exterior door is opened, air flows out through the open portal, acting as an invisible barrier that keeps outside air out.

Unfortunately positive pressure acts like a constant wind pushing on the inside of the exterior doors.   Since almost all exterior doors swing out, the net effect of positive pressure HVAC on exterior doors is that of blowing to doors open and/or preventing them from closing.

The non-hydraulic power operator idea discussed above can usually solve the problem, but I have had some success adjusting door closers to compensate for positive pressure situations.  I have found that a slow swinging speed followed by a fast latching speed will often accomplish the mission.  This solution, however, can create other problems such as creating a wider time window for unauthorized persons to enter while the door is still shutting, for example.

I have found no reliable fix for an opening subjected to positive pressure that must comply with ADA reduced opening force requirements; however, since positive pressure on out-swinging doors inherently reduces opening force, there is some hope.

In the best of all worlds, door hardware technicians and HVAC technicians work together to coordinate positive pressure ventilation needs with security and ADA compliance requirements.

Excerpt from Tom’s article “Butcher, Baker, Door Hardware Technician… ” published in the February 2015 issue of Doors and Hardware Magazine, magazine of the Door Hardware Institute.

The Scary Spec

hellspec

If you are a door hardware professional you’ve seen them: the stupid specification, the dumb door schedule and the hardware take-off from hell. If I had a penny for every dollar I’ve saved customers by debunking bad specs, I’d probably be a gazillionaire today.

Where do they come from? There are a couple of sources. One is software problems – i.e. bad software or architects who don’t know how to use their software. Another is ignorant or incompetent architects. A third is inept or misinformed hardware consultants. However, what really allows the bad hardware spec to go forward is lack of communication.

Dysfunctional Software, Architect or Industry?

I was working with a systems integration company on delayed egress systems for schools in St. Louis. The salesman from the integrator sent me the door schedule from the architect and right away I noticed that there were two electromagnetic locks on each door. “This spec won’t work,” I said to myself, but when I called the salesman, he replied in the typical attention-deficit manner of many salesmen, “Listen, I don’t care, just price it out and send me the quote. The bid goes up in an hour.”

Since Murphy’s Law was written by a locksmith named Murphy with the hardware industry in mind, this fool of a salesman won the bid and the project manager and I were left to figure out what the architect may have meant. I spent some time trying to devise a system of relays that would allow the redundant locks specified for every door to work together more or less in compliance with life safety and building codes, but the more I tried to make the cockamamie conglomeration of hardware fit the application, the more I realized I needed to speak to the architect and find out what he had in mind.

Perhaps because the project manager was afraid that my company – a hardware distribution company – would sell to his customer direct, he would not give me the architect’s contact info. Luckily, as I had him fax me more and more documents to try to figure the spec out, he finally sent me one with the contact info on it by accident.

When I called the architect it turned out that the new software he was using did not delete the old hardware when he added the new hardware. Half the hardware was on the spec by accident. After the architect removed the redundant hardware (with a little help from me) the spec was rewritten and the job went forward with few problems, all because of a little communication.

Electrifying

A project manager called me to get a quote on about twenty fail safe electric strikes. He said that he needed fail safe because the doors needed to be unlocked in the event of a fire to comply with life safety code. So, naturally, I asked the obvious question: “Are these fire doors?”

“Yes, they are,” he replied.

“Then the strikes must be fail secure, not fail safe,” I said.

“But they can’t,” he countered. “The Fire Marshall said they had to be unlocked if the fire alarm went off.”

“Ah,” I said. “Are these stairwell doors?”

“Yes!” he said. “They are all stairwell doors.”

Of course, stairwell doors are fire rated because a stairwell tends to become a chimney in a fire. So they must remain positively latched. Yet, because they are stairwell doors, life safety code dictates that at least some of them (it varies by locality) must be also unlocked.

There are two ways to lock a fire door so that it is both positively latched and unlocked in the event of a fire emergency. It can be done with an electric lock or with an electromagnetic lock; it cannot be done with an electric strike because an electric strike works by releasing the latch bolt of the lock. If the latch bolt is released, the door is not positively latched.

In this small conversation I may have saved the project manager’s company several thousand dollars or maybe more. If, for example, I had asked no questions, but simply quoted and subsequently sold him the electric strikes he asked for, and then his technicians installed them, and then the Fire Marshall demanded they all be removed, at the very least the strikes would have been non-returnable. At worst, the Fire Marshall might have demanded that they replace every door frame they cut to install an electric strike, because the letter of the building code says that a fire rated door frame can only be altered in a fire rated door shop. In short, I saved that project manager from a potential hardware fiasco.

In conclusion, the hardware you choose as an architect, project manager or security professional is no joke. So take your time, and take it seriously. A moment of careful consideration can avoid major problems. Remember, when it comes to hardware, “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”

Hardware Preparedness

Preparedness for the Commercial Door Hardware Installer

One of the most time consuming aspects of hardware installation is travel to and from the job.  In a perfect world, the installer knows in advance everything they will need, but as we all know, the World of Hardware is not a perfect one.   Often there is no opportunity to survey the job beforehand and the information given by the client is often either sketchy or nonexistent.   As a result, travel time to and from is often doubled or tripled by the necessity to ‘go back to the shop’ to pick up the parts needed to complete a given job.  A certain amount of travel time is billable, nevertheless your customer is not happy paying for it, trust me.

While it is virtually impossible for a hardware or access control installer to be always prepared for every need, here are some items that go a long way toward helping to reduce travel time that results from a lack of parts.

Generally Speaking

The first rule of hardware preparedness is to pay attention.  What kind of hardware does your customer have, and what do they have that tends to break?  If your customer has a building full of mortise locks will swivel spindles, best keep a few of those spindles on the truck because you know they are going to break in the middle.  If your customer has entrances with Doromatic 1690 or 1990 concealed vertical rod devices, you’d better stock a few pinion cams because you know the teeth are going to break off of them.  Whenever you repair anything that looks like it’s poorly made and notice there is a quantity of it on the property, best carry what you need to fix it.

If you are doing a lot of work for a client and they have a particular kind of lock, be sure to stock a few.  The property manager will be impressed when you triumphantly produce one from your service vehicle in the nick of time.

Fasteners

You know what fasteners you often find missing in action.  Undercut flat Philips head 12-24 1/2-inch self tapping hinge screws, for example.  In an emergency they can double as ANSI strike screws.  Collect those 6-32 3/4-inch combination machine/wood screws from tubular and cylindrical lock latch and bolt fronts.  They can double as screws for a mortise lock armor front if you cut them short.   For aluminum doors it can be very handy to carry some 10-32 x 2-inch flat head Philips machine screws, and its always good to have a few universal mounting tabs around just in case.

Other Stuff

On the electrical side it’s always good to have a SPDT relay, one each of a 12vdc and 24vdc 1-Amp plug-in power supply and a 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 4-wire electric power transfer hinge in satin chrome are all things that one tends to find oneself wishing for on the job; the Securitron TM-9 timer module sure does come in handy sometimes; on the lock frontier it’s always good to have a few cheap replacement cylinders for emergencies; and a full surface reinforcing pivot hinge can be a life saver sometimes, though because they are handed you do have to carry both hands for the full prophylactic effect.

In addition to these common sense items there are a couple of products that can save a parts run, too.

LCN 4040XP

The 4040XP in the RW/PA configuration (by the LCN Door Closer division of Ingersoll Rand) is a non-handed door closer like many others that can be installed in either regular, top jamb or parallel arm mount.  Its adjustable spring tension makes it a perfect choice for doors that require a lot of force to close due to wind or other conditions, or for an ADA compliant opening that must open with minimal resistance.  If the installer carries the closer and the 4040-18, 4040-18PA and 4040-18TJ drop plates, they will be able to install the 4040XP on almost any door.  The most popular finish of the 4040XP is 689 aluminum.

HES Electric Strikes with Faceplate Options

Hanchett Entry Systems (HES) has greatly advanced the concept of the modular electric strike since the company was founded.

  • The HES 1006 is field selectable for 12 or 24 volts DC power input, and with an optional Smart Pac line conditioner you can use anything from 12 to 32 volts AC or DC.   A variety of available faceplates for the 1006 enable the strike to accommodate virtually any lock.   Carrying a 1006 body with one each J option, K option, KD option and KM option faceplates and one Smart Pac will allow the installer to fill the need for an electric strike for 95% of all storeroom function cylindrical and mortise locks where the installation involves a hollow metal frame.
  • The HES 5200 is field selectable for 12 or 24 volts DC power input and any power input from 12 to 32 volts AC or DC with a Smart Pac.  Unlike the 1006, the 5200 is field selectable for fail safe or fail secure.  Since the 5200 has a three quarter inch keeper depth it will accommodate a mortise lock in a pinch, but really the 5200 is for use with cylindrical locks in hollow metal, wood or aluminum frame applications or for aluminum storefront door applications that include the Adams Rite deadlatch.  I recommend installers carry one each of the 501, 502 and 503 faceplate options to be prepared for the majority of these installations.

There are many things I’m sure I’ve missed:  electrical tape, fifty feet of 18/2 non-shielded wire, really sharp wood chisels, batteries – all kinds of stuff.  But don’t worry.  You’ll know what it is the next time you have to drive back to the shop to get it.

 

How to Choose a Door Closer

To intelligently choose a door closer for your application you have to know certain facts:

  • Does the closer need to comply with ADA opening force guidelines?
  • Is the door an interior or exterior door?
  • What is the door width?
  • Will the closer be mounted on the push or pull side of the door?
  • Where on the door will the door closer be installed?  How much room is there?
  • Are there any special circumstances like wind, positive or negative pressure, etc.?
  • You may also need to know the door handing.

ADA Reduced Opening Force Guidelines

American Disabilities Act (ADA) reduced opening force restrictions are enforced by the Authority Having Jurisdiction in your locality.  In some localities or applications ADA requires a maximum opening force of 5 lbs. and in others a maximum opening force of 8.5 lbs.  Most closers on the market today can be field adjusted to comply with these restrictions, but to do so you need to have a door pressure gauge.

I am mildly acquainted with two door pressure gauges.  One is the model DPG by HMC and the other is the ADA/FG by LCN.  Apparently there are a lot of initials involved in door pressure.

Door closers are also available with reduced opening force meant specifically to comply to ADA standards.

Manufacturers usually print a disclaimer that says that a door closer adjusted to ADA maximum opening force may not have enough power to shut the door.  This is often true because perhaps recommended spring strengths for different applications are the result of perhaps a century of innovation.  Manufacturers know that a force greater than 8.5 pounds may be necessary to close a door.

Interior versus Exterior

When speaking about door closer closing force, we say that a door closer is of a certain size.  Door closer size does not refer to actual dimensions, but to spring strength.  Historically, door closers are available in sizes 1 through 6 – 1 being the wimpiest and 6 capable of exerting the strongest closing force.

A size 4 closer is usually recommended for an exterior, 3-foot wide door, whereas a size 3 closer is deemed appropriate for an interior door of the same dimensions.  The assumption here is that the exterior door is more likely to be expected to close a door against a wind or negative or positive air pressure.

Door Width

If you look at a door hung on butt hinges and equipped with a door closer from above, it looks something like this:

View from the Ceiling

 

You see from the illustration that the door closer closes the door by exerting force on a point about eight or ten inches from the hinge side of the door.  To see what this means, go to a door with no door closer.  Open it.  Now put your hand a foot from the hinge side of the door and push it closed.  Pretty difficult, isn’t it?   If your door was wider, it would be even harder to close from that point.  This is why door closer size – that is, spring strength – is determined by the width of the door rather than the height.

For a three foot wide exterior door, you would normally adjust your door closer to be a size four.  For a four foot wide exterior door you would adjust your door closer to be a size five.  Therefore, if you have a four foot wide exterior door, you had better buy a closer that can be adjusted to a size five.

Push or Pull?

Different arms are required for different applications.  On doors that swing out, where the closer is mounted on the push side, the closer is mounted in a top jamb or parallel arm configuration.  If it is mounted on the pull side it is mounted in what is called a ‘standard’ installation.  (There are other ways to mount a closer on the push side, but parallel arm and top jamb are the most common.)

See manufacturer’s literature for more information, or check out my article on Door Closer Basics.

Room

If you have a glass and aluminum storefront kind of door, you may have a space issue as regards your choice of door closer.  If you have a hollow metal door with no window hung in a steel frame, chances are you will have no space issue.

You need to figure out what door closer will fit.  To do that, measure the space where you would like to install it and download installation templates or instructions from manufacturer’s web sites.  Check the dimensions to see if the closer you have selected will work or not.

Or you can measure your door and frame and consult a door hardware professional.

Special Circumstances

I have installed door closers in some fairly challenging environments.  One, for example, was on a four foot wide, eight foot high, two and a quarter inch thick mahogany and glass door.  In addition to the size of the door, the location was also challenging – right across Beacon Street from the Boston Common where the wind could race across the open ground and dash itself against the door to its heart’s content.  Also, the front of the building had settled over the century or so of its existence, and leaned decidedly inward.  The door opened inward, and, left on its own, would swing sedately inward to 90 degrees if not latched.

In other words I had to install a door closer that would close an extra heavy door, uphill, in a wind.  I actually got one that would do it about 95% of the time.  For this application I chose the most durable, powerful, adjustable door closer I knew at the time:  the LCN 4041.  If I did the same job today I would probably choose an LCN 4011 or a Norton 7500.

A big, beefy, versatile door closer is not a cure-all.  For example, sometimes the 4041 is just too big, or templated too close to the hinge.  The point is that you must look at all the details of your door before you buy a door closer – not only how it is made and its size, but its environment as well.

 

Hinge Basics ‐ Architectural and Residential Hinges

There is a huge variety of door hinges available in today’s commercial hardware market. Which hinge is right for your application? This article discusses hinge types, hinge characteristics, and basic guidelines
on how to choose a hinge for your application.

Parts of a Hinge
At right is an illustration that details the components of a full mortise hinge. Pictured is the most common hinge used in the United States, a five knuckle, full mortise ball bearing architectural grade template hinge, four-and-a-half by four-and-a-half inches.

  • The leaves are fastened to the door and door frame.
  • The bearings keep the hinge alligned help the hinge last longer by reducing wear
  • The pin (shown slightly withdrawn from the knuckles as if being removed) holds the leaves together and provides the axis on which the door will turn
  • The knuckle is a loop of metal through which the pin passes
  • The top tip rests on the top knuckle of the hinge, stabilizing the pin; the bottom tip is attached to the bottom knuckle and helps keep the interior of the knuckles clean.

Some Variations

The leaves could be equal widths, or unequal; the leaves could be “swaged”, meaning bent to compensate for a door with a beveled edge; the bearings could be ball bearings, concealed bearings, lube bearings, or “plain bearings”, indicating no bearings at all; the pin could be non-removeable or fixed; there could be five knuckles, three knuckles, or in some cases, no knuckles; and hinge tips could be decorative or could serve a purpose, such as hospital tips, which are beveled to prevent things from getting caught on them.

Commercial architectural grade hinges could be standard weight or heavy weight; they could have square corners or round; and they could be “template” or “non-template” hinges, indicating whether its screw pattern matches architectural conventions so as to fit in standard hollow metal door preps or not.

Electrical options are also available, such as electric though wire, concealed magnetic contact, exposed electrical conctact, and others.

Hinge Sizing

To measure a full mortise hinge, also called a butt hinge, lay it on a flat surface.  Measure the height, then the width.  When you specify full mortise hinge sizes, always refer to the height first, then the width.

Heavy Weight vs. Standard Weight Hinges

Heavy weight hinges are used for very heavy doors or doors that are subjected to very high traffic. Hinge “weight” actually refers to hinge leaf thickness. Heavy weight hinges leaves run closer to .200 gauge thickness, while standard weight hinges are more in the range .150 gauge thickness.

Hinge thickness is also dependent on hinge size. For example, a standard weight hinge 6 inches by 5 inches will be thicker than a standard weight hinge that is 4-1/2 by 4-1/2 inches.

Wide Throw Hinges

At right is shown a wide throw full mortise hinge. Wide throw hinges enable a door to open 180 degrees when a decorative door molding might otherwise prevent it from doing so.

Types of Hinges

All the hinges lifted below are available in standard weightand heavy weight versions for different commercialapplications. Illustrations at right show various kinds ofhinges.

Full Mortise Hinges

As I said earlier, full mortise hinges are by far the mostcommon type of hinge. They come in a wide variety toaccommodate diverse applications.

Half Mortise Hinges

Half mortise hinges are hinges that have one leaf mountedto the visible front of the frame and the other leaf mountedin a hinge prep, or mortise, on the edge of the door.

Half Surface Hinges

Half surface hinges are hinges that have one leaf mountedto the surface of the door and the other leaf mounted intoa hinge prep on the jamb part of the door frame.

Full Surface Hinges

Full surface hinges have both leaves visible when the dooris closed. One leaf is fastened to the surface of the frameand the other to the surface of the door.

Swing Clear Hinges

Swing clear hinges are designed so that when the door isopened to 90 degrees, the door itself is completely out ofthe opening.  For example, if you needed to move a cartthrough a door that was 35-1/2 inches wide through a 36inch wide door, unless the door was hung on swing clearhinges, you would have to be able to open the door 180degrees in order to get the cart through the opening.

All of the hinges above are available in swing clear versions.

Template and Non-Template Hinges

“Template” hinges are full hinges that have a standard screw pattern and sizing to fit into an ANSI  standard hinge prep, usually on a hollow metal door andframe. Most architectural (commercial) grade hinges aretemplate hinges. Most residential hinges are nontemplatehinges.

Radius Corners

Radius corner hinges are hinges with roundedcorners. “Radius” refers to the radius of the circle thatwould exist if the curve of the rounded corner werecontinued to form a circle.Architectural hinges are available with 1/4-inch radius corners whereas residential hinges are available in 1/4-inch radius and 5/8 inch radius corners.

Residential Hinges

Residential hinges are very simliar to architectural hinges, but there are differences. As stated above,more often residential hinges are non-template hinges, but they are sized the same as architecturalhinges. Residential hinges also more often have radius corners than architectural hinges and areusually made of thinner gauge metal. Often one will see an architectural grade hinge used on exteriordoors and residential grade hinges used on doors within the dwelling.

Spring Hinges

Spring hinges are architectural hinges that are springloaded so as to shut the door. They are available in fullmortise, with or without radius corner, in most sizes inwhich other full mortise hinges are made, and areavailable in template and nontemplateversions. A full mortise spring hinge is shown at right.  Beneath the full mortise spring hinge is a picture of adouble acting spring hinge for a door that swings bothways. Bommer Industries is an excellent source for a wide variety of spring hinges, as well as other architectural and residential grade hinges.  It is important to note that spring hinges are not a substitute for a door closer, since spring hinges slam the door.

Continuous Hinges

Continuous hinges are hinges that extend the full height of the door. They are widely used on aluminumstorefront and hollow metal applications. They are a good alternative for high frequency of useapplications where added durability is necessary. Continuous hinges are available in aluminum, steel,or stainless steel, and, like architectural hinges, are available in different types to accomodate differentconditions. Many of these configurations match those discussed in this article.

Pivot Hinges

Pivot hinges are used on very heavy doors in high traffic applications and on many aluminum storefront doors.  Since the weight of the door rests on the bottom pivot, thedoor does not “hang” as it does with other types of hinges, therefore there is less risk that the door will sag over time.  At right is a drawing from Rixson Hardware’s pivot catalog.

Electrified Hinges

Full mortise, pivot, continuous hinges and others are available with electrical options such as:

  • Electric Through Wire:  a number of conductors arethreaded through the hinge in order to conduct electricity from the door frame into the door (or vice versa) to power electric locks or transmit contact closure from monitor switches in the door or in the locking hardware. Available with anywhere from 2 to12 conductors, typically 24 gauge wire. 2conductor,18 gauge wire is also available.
  • Concealed Magnetic Contact: a magnetic contact reed switch is concealed in the leaves of a full mortise hinge. When the door is opened, the leaves are spread apart, breaking or making the contact. HInges with concealed magnetic contact are handed.It is possible to have both the above options in the same hinge.

Non-Removable Pins

In situations where you have an out-swinging secured door, you can use hinges with non-removable hinge pins. Non-removable hinge pins are pins which have a groove milled in them in the middle. A set screw is threaded through the middle knuckle to mate with the groove (see picture at right) to inhibit burglars from pulling the pin and the door to gain entry.  (In the picture, the center knuckle is not shown so that theset screw can be seen.)

 


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