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Locksmiths service door locks. If the door is equipped with a closer, be it surface mount or concealed, locksmiths service door closers. Locksmiths adjust door hinges so the door can close. Why not install doors? They can be a very profitable option without having to stock any product. If you are called out on a job and the door needs replacing, why not do the total opening? Grow your business. Don’t give the job away to another tradesman who may also install the door hardware.
The following is the first in a series of articles on doors. The series will cover how to measure and order the replacement door, door content, what is a stock door, installations, adjustments for closing, etc.
For this first article we will use a common door scenario. The door is located on the rear of a strip mall store. The flush (flat) door opens out. The door is hollow metal and is not fire rated. The bottom of the door has rusted.
The reason the door is in this condition is two-fold. First, the door is exposed to the elements, as there is no protection. Second, the top of the door has probably never been sealed. Water can run down the wall and the frame and enter the door through the top, causing the door to rust from the inside out.
Important: Be sure the top of the replacement door is sealed. This will extend the life of the door.
The out-swinging back door is hollow metal. It is equipped with three butt hinges. Locking is accomplished with a cylindrical lock and cylindrical deadbolt. The cylindrical deadbolt is used when the business is closed. There is a surface mount door closer with no evidence of through bolting. No evidence of through bolting indicates that the door is either manufactured of 12 or 14 gauge metal or the door will be probably be 16-18 gauge with a 14 gauge closer reinforcement plate welded into the door. More often than not if the door is 16 or 18 gauge, there is a closer reinforcement plate.
Note: Check the condition of the door closer. All door closers have a warranty. Many door closer have the production date stamped into the body. If the closer is not functioning properly or leaking, and the closer is still within the warranty period, you can contact the manufacturer for a replacement.
First, look at the door and the surrounding frame. Make sure the frame is in good condition and securely attached to the building. This could affect the operation of the door. Does the door swing smoothly, close and latch?
Never measure for a replacement door until the existing door operates smoothly. If the frame has settled or racked, dimensions of the replacement door must reflect the change.
Is there an even gap (clearance) around the door? The gap between the door and frame should be approximately 1/8”-3/16”. The door gap can change depending if the door has a bevel or square lock edge. Too large a gap on the lock edge of the door can result in the locks not being able to properly secure the opening. For exterior out swinging doors, a latch protector provides protection for the latch and bolt.
Is the door equipped with butt hinges or a continuous hinge? If the door is equipped with a continuous hinge, this information must be provided to the door manufacturer as it will affect the construction of the replacement door. If the door is equipped with butt hinges, continue with the next paragraph.
Open the door and check the hinges to make sure all of the screws are in place and are able to be tightened. Oversize Repair Screws having the same head size with one thread size larger are available from Major Manufacturing. This way these screws will thread into the hinge flush while having a larger diameter.
Check the condition of the butt hinges. If they are rusted, do not swing smoothly or stop at a specific place, they may need to be replaced. If the hinges are to be replaced, purchase ball bearing equipped hinges, which provide a smooth opening and closing operation.