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The door is equipped with a surface mount closer, a cylindrical lock and a deadbolt. This metal door is probably equipped with reinforcement (an additional metal plate welded to the inside of the door face onto which the closer will be mounted). The replacement door can be equipped with reinforcement or the closer can be mounted using through bolting. On an exterior door, we would not recommend through bolting.
We now have the dimensions for the replacement hollow metal door. The next steps are to determine the door itself. This includes the gauge of the door skin. The average exterior hollow metal door skin is 16 to 18 gauge. We recommend using a 16 gauge skin to do the right thing. Doors can be ordered with 22 gauge to 12 gauge (smaller number is thicker).
Steel doors have an inner framework that may be made of wood, cardboard or steel. The door cavities are filled with a different materials depending upon the end-user’s application. There are steel doors whose cavities are filled for sound deadening, security, temperature, etc.
Door manufacturers will provide the preparation for locks, closers, exit devices, etc. Manufacturer and model information must be provided as well as height from the finished floor to ensure proper positioning.
Depending upon what is installed into or onto the door, reinforcement may need to be installed. This includes the locks, closer and any specialized hardware.
Look at the door. Are the seams visible? If they are visible, they appear as a narrow recess running along the top, bottom and edges of the door.
The more unique the door composition is, the longer the time may be required to construct and the more expensive the door.
Most door manufacturers offer stock doors in several categories. Vanilla doors are always in stock. They are built for standard framed openings. The doors themselves are slightly smaller (nominal) in order to fit the opening. They are 16-18 gauge with the manufacturer’s standard hinge placement. They can be beveled or have a squared lock edge. Slightly modified stock doors are available usually within a couple of days.
In addition, door manufacturers or their representatives can make small modification to the door. This includes adding in a deadbolt cutout or a cylinder turn, mortise cylinder opening or lever handle openings.
IMPORTANT: A door is standard depending upon the manufacturer’s determination of what is a standard door.
Custom doors can require additional time. Each door manufacturer has its own definition of what is a stock door and the time frame required for a custom door. In a future article, we will discuss stock and custom doors by manufacturers as well as outlets and shipping.
For more information contact the knowledgeable person at a locksmith distributor who sells doors or a door manufacturer who will refer you to a local supplier.
Rich Franken is sales and technical support rep for the Dugmore & Duncan Group in Corona, California. Rich has spent 25 years in the Door and Hardware industry primarily in the Southern California market.
Glossary of Terms
Closer Reinforcement Bracket: Reinforcement brackets used to provide additional strength for the attachment of a door closer.
Door Clearance (Gap): The space between the top of the door and header rabbet, the lock edge of the door and frame or bottom of the door and finished floor.
Door Handing: The term that designates the direction the door swings.
Double Acting: A door that can swing both ways. This requires the use of Double Acting Hinges.
Face: The exposed parts of the door when closed.
Floor Clearance: The clearance between bottom of the door and the finished floor. The opening is the under cut.
Flush Door: The faces of the door are a flat surface.
Gauge: The thickness of a hollow metal door face skin.
Gap: See Door Clearance.
Header: The horizontal member, forming the top of the door frame.
Hinge Edge of Door: The vertical edge of the door onto which the hinges are installed.
Hinge Jamb: Vertical member of frame prepared for installation of hinges.
Hinge Reinforcement: The reinforcement bracket mounted behind hinge preparation on jamb or door.