Are You a Hingesmith? Door Hardware Beyond The Lock

A locksmith is more than just a key cutter.


Most people outside of our industry think of locksmiths as key cutters. "Is that all you do all day is cut keys?" You've probably been asked this question dozens of times. Of course, we know that locksmiths do far more than cut keys. We educate customers as to the best products for their property...


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Potential Opportunities – In addition to the wear on the pivots themselves, concealed door closers require adjustment in the closing and latching speeds, have door closer arms that wear out or require adjustment and may start leaking. Always look for evidence of oil leaking at the top or bottom of the door or frame, indicating a closer that needs replacement. Depending on the door and frame style, another alternative for pivot problems may be to replace the pivots with continuous hinges.

The Frame
Wood Frames – Wood doorframes are affected by use, abuse, weather, and by the door itself. If the door is rubbing or hitting the frame, it may cause excessive wear or damage. If the strike side of the frame becomes loose, the door may not lock properly. If the frame has been damaged by a kick-in attempt, the wood may be cracked or damaged beyond repair.

Potential Opportunities – Not all locksmiths do door frame repair. If the frame has minimal damage, a heavy duty, an oversized or security strike plate may be installed. If the damage is severe, replacement of part of the wood may be needed. If you don't do that, develop a working relationship with a reputable carpenter.

Steel Frames – Steel frames are usually hollow unless they are used on an exterior door. These frames are normally concrete filled. Heavier gauge steel is used on commercial and exterior doorframes, while lighter gauge steel is used for interior doors. Not much that can go wrong with a steel frame other than rust or damage from being struck by a forklift or other vehicle.

Potential Opportunities – If a steel doorframe is heavily rusted, it should be replaced. In most cases if the frame is rusted, the door is also rusted. A complete door and frame replacement is needed. Likewise, if a steel frame is bent out of shape, it may require replacement. Some frames are welded together at the factory and arrive for installation in one piece. Other frames are fit together on the job, meaning it may be possible to replace a single component to solve the problem.

Aluminum Frames – Aluminum frames are generally found on storefronts. The framework may be part of a glass window arrangement or attached to brick or mortar. Like other metal frames, little can go wrong with an aluminum frame other than intentional damage.

Potential Opportunities – If an aluminum frame is damaged in a burglary attack, steel flat or wrap-around plates can be pop riveted or screwed into place. Covering the aluminum strike area with steel substantially strengthens the opening.

The Door
Upper Portion – Non-lock hardware related to the upper portion of the door includes door closers, top flush bolts, magnetic sensors, door cords, annunciators and door chimes, door signs, door knockers, door coordinators and door viewers.

Potential Opportunities – Door closers need occasional adjustment. When working on any door, check the closer operation. The door should close smoothly and latch completely. If it closes too fast, slams or doesn't pull the door fully closed, inform the owner and charge for the service provided. Top flush bolts should align and fully project on the secondary leaf of a pair of doors. Some flush bolt tips are made of nylon; some are metal. It is usually more cost-effective to suggest replacing the entire assembly.

Magnetic sensors and door cords are used on alarms and access control systems. If a magnet is misaligned, it won't perform its intended function. Door cords can become damaged, requiring replacement. If a coiled cord was used originally, replace it with an armored loop.

Door annunciators and chimes might be an easy upsell. Battery-operated units require only a simple mounting bracket to install. Door viewers have always been a quick add-on and there are dozens to choose from. Door knockers fall into the same category. On a pair of doors, door coordinators can solve the problem of the secondary leaf closing before the primary leaf. Most locksmith distributors carry a large variety of signage. Simply offering or suggesting a restroom, exit or ADA sign to your customer can result in a sale.

Middle Portion – Non-lock hardware related to the middle portion of the door includes cylinder collars, push plates, pull handles, trim plates, scar plates, wrap-around plates, filler plates, door bumpers, lock guards, strike guards, door status indicators, exit alarms, and even electric strikes.

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