Retrofit Surface-Mount Door Closers: Where, When and Why?

Surface-mounted door closers come in many sizes and the covers usually have different shapes, finishes and molded designs. Door closers are normally installed onto the secured side of door for at least two reasons. First, a door with a box and an arm...

The reason to through bolt a surface-mount door closer onto a wood door is to ensure the closer remains in place. When mounting the door closer using wood screws, over time the holes enlarge because pressure is exerted against the screws each time the door is opened and closed.

If you are installing a surface-mount door closer on a hollow core door, make sure that at least the two upper mounting holes are within the top rail of the door. If not, it can be difficult to secure the closer onto the door without damaging the veneer.

A suggestion when mounting a door closer onto a hollow core wood door is to use non-hardening thread adhesive. The thread adhesive will keep the screws secured in the sex nut, but will permit the screws to be removed relatively easily.

Note: For some direct replacement retrofit plates, new holes may have to be drilled for mounting the arm bracket.

If a replacement door closer is not available, several manufacturers offer a specific application retrofit plates for door closer without modifying the existing hole pattern in the door. For example, the Norton RP75-M2020 Retrofit Plate has countersunk screw holes for installing the plate onto the door using the existing Rixson M2020 Door Closer mounting holes. There are threaded holes for mounting the Norton 7500 Series Door Closers onto the plate.


Design Hardware Retrofit Door Closer

In addition to specific manufacturer and model retrofit plates, Design Hardware produces the 316R Series Replacement Door Closer. This surface-mount door closer has the patented Mounting Plate that can retrofit 32 different makes and models of surface mount door closers without drilling new mounting holes. To accommodate these door closers, the Mounting Plate has 24 holes and can be installed using the front or the backside. The holes are counter-sunk on both sides to accommodate Right Hand/ Left Hand Reverse and Left Hand/Right Hand Reverse installations.

The Mounting Plate from the 316R door closer is designed to retrofit the following door closer models*:

  • Corbin Russwin 3200, 3600, 6200, 6400
  • Design Hardware 116, 316, 416
  • Dorma 7200, 7300, 8600
  • Dor-O-Matic SC60, SC70, SC80
  • LCN 4041, 4110, 1460
  • Norton 1600, 7500, 7700, 8100, 8300, 8500
  • Ryobi 1650, 3500, 4500
  • Sargent 1430
  • Yale 50, 150, 400, 3100, 3300, 3500, 4400

*Using Regular Arm, Top Jam and Parallel Arm installation.

The Design Hardware 316R Series Replacement Door Closer meets ANSI A156.4 – Grade 1 Standards. This rack and pinion style door closer door closer has a UL Listing “A” label for installation onto a 3 hour fire door, and has the UL10C Positive Pressure rating. This non-handed closer has a cast aluminum body and heat treated steel piston, spring and spindle. The size one to six adjustable spring power door closer is able to meet the five pound opening restrictions.

An advantage of stocking the Design Hardware 316R Series Replacement Door Closer is if the door closer that needs to be replaced is one of the above listed models, the job can be completed immediately. There’s no need to go and pickup a replacement door closer or find a retrofit plate.



To complete this article, I was invited to observe the installation of the Design Hardware 316R Series Replacement Door Closer onto narrow stile aluminum glass door. This outswing double door entry is the front entrance for an engineering facility.

Important: Whenever you are installing a device onto a rated door, and are required to make modification, discuss the installation with an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) prior to the purchase and installation.

The two door closers were installing using the Top Jamb configuration, having the door closer body mounted onto the interior side of the aluminum surround frame with the door closer shoe installed onto the door.

This was not the first door closer body to be mounted onto the aluminum surround frame. More than 12 holes had been drilled into the frame. The shoe was secured to the door using sex nuts and screws. There were three holes; two had been enlarged, probably in order to align with the sex nuts. A third hole between the two had been drilled for some reason.

The 316R shoe has three holes to adjust the operating angle. The original shoe has two holes. This would not affect the overall operation as the horizontal mounting instructions between the two door closers varied by about one inch.

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