You're called to repair a lock on a storefront door. Once there, you could simply replace the lock and be on your way. Instead, you take a closer look and discover worn spots on the latch, strike and jamb. And the door needs a push to close completely. Further inspection reveals the real cause of the failed lock — a worn-out pivot hinge that caused the door to sag and the locking mechanism to become misaligned.
Here's your chance to do more than just fix a lock. Delivering total door service — in this case addressing hinge failure — allows you to make more money on the repair and create a long-term, satisfied customer by solving their problem for good.
When pivot or butt hinges fail, install a full surface geared continuous hinge and you'll ensure longer, more dependable performance. Geared continuous hinges stand up to heavy and high-traffic doors, giving years of trouble-free service because they don't tend to sag, bend or bind. As a result, door hardware is less likely to develop problems caused by misalignment. They distribute kick-back force along the entire door length when the door is opened too far — such as when doors are caught by the wind — preventing screws from loosening and bending hinge leaves. They also offer increased security since objects can't be inserted between the door and frame, allow easier alignment of electrical transfers and monitoring switches and prevent air infiltration by providing a seal from top to bottom of the door.
In addition, geared continuous hinges are available in custom anodizing and paint colors to match door and frame colors. So you can save the customer the cost of replacing expensive doors by matching the hinge to the door and frame appearance.
The next time you're called to fix a lock, take a look at the hinge. If you're unfamiliar with installing geared continuous hinges, you're missing a profitable opportunity. Here's a quick guide on how to install a full surface hinge for a typical retrofit application.
Use a few helpful tools
First, make sure to have a couple of items handy to make installation easier. Try wooden paint stirring sticks for shims, since they won't scratch the door or the frame, they're the right thickness needed and readily available.
Tip: Use double-stick tape to hold the shims in place while you mount the door in the frame. That way, they won't fall out as you adjust the door.
When removing pivot hinges, you'll end up with a hole in the threshold where the pivot was mounted. Fill in the holes with caulk to keep out water. Use gray, silver or clear caulk on aluminum thresholds for a nicer appearance.
Remove the old hinges
Most of your time will be spent removing the old hinges. Butt hinges often have stripped screws that need to be drilled out and removed with channel locks. With pivot hinges, the bottom hinge is often hard to remove because of corrosion. The easiest way to remove it is to use a grinder to cut it off flush with the threshold. You can also use a hammer and strike the pin with a cold chisel. It should break off inside the threshold where it can remain to help fill in the hole it sits in. Fill the hole with caulk.
Cut the new hinge to fit
If the entrance you're repairing is shorter than 7 feet, you may need to cut the hinge to fit. A metal-cutting saw with carbide blade works best. Place the outside (visible part) of the hinge facing up in the “door closed” position. Trim the bottom end of the hinge and cut through the gear cap first so you don't scratch the finish. Cut above or below bearings, not through them. Reinstall any set-screw bearing that may have been cut off.
Install the hinge
Use shims to position the door with 1/8” clearance all around (remember to use the double-stick tape). Surface-mount the frame leaf to the door frame and then attach the door leaf to the door itself with the supplied fasteners. You can use either self-threading (if you prefer to drill holes) or self-drilling/self-threading fasteners. SELECT Products lets you order just what you need so you don't have to sort screws on-site.
Check for proper alignment and swing. Next, install barrel nuts (through-bolts) to prevent malicious screw removal or break-in by removing the surface screws. Drill holes and insert the barrel nut body on the outside and tighten the screw head from the inside.
Tip: When replacing a pivot hinge on a standard 7-foot opening, use an 85” hinge instead of 83” so it will cover the pivot hinge hole left in the top of the frame.
Finally, attach the leaf covers to conceal the screw heads and barrel nuts. If necessary, back out the set-screws from the door leaf cover. Align the cover with the top of the hinge. Starting at the top, snap the cover into place. Tighten set-screws.
Tip: Use construction adhesive on the inside of the leaf covers for extra security.
Gain an extra source of profit
How much can you make on a job like this? In the example above, approximate costs are $97 for the hinge, $100 for the lock, $5 in screws and about two man-hours in labor. Add your mark-up on material and labor costs, your service call fee and any incidentals, and this kind of job can be very profitable. You'd have to open about a dozen car doors in the same amount of time to earn that much. So carry around two full-surface hinges, such as the SL57, in your truck and you'll be ready to earn extra profit.
Once you install a couple of geared continuous hinges, you'll see what techniques work best for you (See www.select-hinges.com/applications.htm for a step-by-step guide). Just pay strict attention to the included instructions so you don't void the warranty. In the case of SELECT, our Continuous Warranty™ means your customer will have a well-functioning door hinge for life. You'll have a customer for life, and likely many future job referrals.
Bob Cronk is vice president, sales & marketing, SELECT Products Limited. For information on SELECT products, call 800-423-1174 or visit www.select-hinges.com.