Aluminum-framed storefront doors are everywhere. From single businesses to strip malls to large office buildings, aluminum-framed storefront doors present excellent opportunities for the security professional to provide higher levels of protection.
There are single and double aluminum-framed storefront doors. These doors can be equipped with hinges or pivots, or are designed to slide open and closed. Aluminum-framed doors can be equipped with a closer concealed above or below, or closed using a surface-mounted unit. These doors can be equipped with power-operators; high speed or low. These doors can be equipped with just about any type of door locking hardware; mechanical or electro-mechanical. Single and dual point locking mechanisms, concealed and surface mounted vertical rods, combined with rim devices and electromagnetic locks, secure this multiple option selection of openings. The door can come from their factory with integrated push bar components and more.
Given the wide variety of door potential setups, this article will concentrate on the basic mechanically operated, single storefront aluminum door and its potential. In a single-door setup, you are dealing with a door and frame with four specific quadrants of components and adjustments. The top rail, bottom rail, hinge stile and lock stile are each unique in the function and need for security-related devices. The stiles normally run the full height of the door. The rails top and bottom are positioned within the hinge stile and the lock stile. The frame itself is separate but is in direct relationship with various lock functions.
By looking at each area individually, we can identify a specific pattern that can be used to evaluate every storefront door you touch. When you are called for a simple rekey, do a quick survey to examine other potential service needs. If you do a quick rekey and present the bill, you may be shortchanging your customer as well as yourself.
The top rail gives us a first look at the door condition. In many installations the frame (jamb) above the top rail will contain a concealed overhead door closer. This serves not only as a door closer but also as a top pivot point for the door.
If the concealed door closer is leaking, there may be visible oil on the top rail, hinge or door stile. Leaking oil usually gathers dirt as well. This can be a safety liability and should be brought to the attention of the customer.
The door closer may also require alignment or adjustment. Although similar, they are two completely different steps. Adjustment is assuring that the door closer closes the door smoothly, fully and completely. Simple adjustment of the back check, closing and latching speeds should accomplish this quickly and easily. If the door slams or doesn’t close correctly, the closer may require replacement if adjustment is not successful.
Alignment is the relationship between the door and frame. In the case of a single-acting door (out-swinging or in-swinging only), this may simply be aligning the door to fully close within the frame. A single acting door usually is offset in the frame with the door and frame coming even when the door is fully closed. On an out-swinging door the even edge is outside, just the reverse on an in-swinging door. Either door may have some type of stop trim that the door rests against.
A double-acting door (swings in and out) at rest should be centered within the frame. The overhead or floor mounted door closer arm usually has adjustable components in order to align the door within the frame. An example is two hex-headed bolts that are mounted onto opposite sides of the arm used to align the door position at rest. If the door sets too far into the frame at rest, adjust the arm toward the inside, setting the door outward. Work in small increments until you get the door adjusted at approximately the center of the frame.
If the lock stile is rubbing against the frame, loosen both hex bolts and draw the door rearward with the small adjustment screw on the back side of the pivot point on the closer arm bracket.
The final point of interest in the top rail is the lock stile adjustment screw. There is often a large Phillips screw in the front corner of the top stile. This screw adjusts the lock stile up or down. If the top corner of the door is scraping on the top frame, loosen the adjustment screw slightly and push down on the lock stile or use a rubber hammer to reset the lock stile downward.