Most standard surface-mounted door closers are non-handed, meaning they can be installed onto left or right hand door openings with either in swing or out swing doors.
The following four methods are used for installing a surface-mounted door closer:
Parallel Arm Mounting - The closer is mounted onto the door face with the shoe mounted onto the jamb using a soffit plate instead of a shoe. The arm is parallel to the opening. This application is for out swing doors with the closer on the interior. Because the arm is parallel to the door face, there is less opportunity for damage that can result from a perpendicular arm.
Regular Arm (Standard) Mounting – The closer is mounted onto the door face with the shoe mounted onto the jamb. The arm is perpendicular to the opening. This application is for in swing doors with the closer on the interior.
Top Jamb Mounting - The shoe is mounted onto the door face with the closer mounted onto the jamb. The arm is perpendicular to the opening. This application is for out swing doors with the closer on the interior.
Parallel Arm, Regular Arm and Top Jamb configured door closers can be provide between approximately 80- and 180-degree opening depending upon the trim and the installation.
Track Arm Mounting – The closer is mounted onto the face of the door with the track arm mounted onto the jamb. Track arm mounting can be used for in swing doors and out swing doors, having the closer mounted on the interior side of the door. However, the maximum opening for a track arm installation is approximately 110 degree swing. The advantage of a track arm mounting is the arm is not exposed when the door is closed.
Note: The door closer arm function and provided components determine the mounting. Some arms are mount specific, for example a parallel rigid arm. If the door closer is being installed onto a narrow stile aluminum glass door, some mounting configurations will require a mounting plate in order to secure the top and bottom mounting screws.
Surface-mounted door closers are relatively easy to install and can be used to retrofit concealed door closer applications. On the other hand, a surface-mounted door closer is on the face of the door. Acts of vandalism or readjusting the valves can occur because the door closer is “out there.”
Concealed closers have several advantages over surface-mounted closers because the closers operate as part of the attaching and swing mechanisms at either the top or bottom of the door. On the opposing end of the door, a point of rotation either carries the doors’ weight or pivots the door at the header.
A surface-mounted door closer is an add-on component that controls the opening and closing of the door only, as the hinges carry the weight of the door itself.
According to the Laws of Physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Unfortunately friction takes away energy as a door is opened and as it is closed. For a door closer, more energy is required to open a door than to close the same door. Friction is also part of the closer’s operation and the method of attaching the door to the jamb.
A concealed door closer operation requires more energy than a surface-mounted door closer because of the leverage difference as a concealed closer is mounted at or within inches of the hinge end of the door. Whereas a surface mounted door closer is mounted farther from the hinge end of the door and does not require as much energy expended to open or close the door.
Concealed overhead and floor closers are installed when the opening is installed. A concealed closer is fully hidden, which helps to maintain the aesthetic design of the opening. Concealed closers are used with Herculite (frameless glass) doors. Center hung doors can be operated as single or double acting (door swings both ways). A major difference between surface-mounted and concealed closers is access for adjusting, servicing or replacing.
Concealed overhead closers are installed into the header using mounting hardware specifically designed for the composition of the header (wood, metal, aluminum). There are fixed power overhead concealed closers and adjustable power models.