Replacing an Narrow Stile Aluminum Door Lock with an Exit Device

Aug. 4, 2014
Provide your customer options for adding traffic control and security

Adams Rite-style pivoting deadlock, hook bolt and deadlatch locks have been the standard for narrow stile aluminum-glass door security. The pivoting deadbolt uses a 5/8” x 1-3/8” x 2-7/8” bolt that provides a 1-3/8" throw, providing a high degree of security during non-business hours (no occupancy).

These deadlatch locks are operated by a lever or paddle handle. Two lock cylinders on the exterior lock side stile make it easy to identify an aluminum glass door having both the pivoting deadlock and the deadlatch.

This narrow stile deadlatch provides flexible traffic control during business hours. They offer a higher level of occupancy security and the ability to keep the door closed, which lowers HVAC costs. During the heyday, in order to compete with the paddle-operated deadlatch locks, some cross bar exit device manufacturers offered a paddle that was attached to the active housing, eliminating the cross bar.

In recent years, building codes have limited the usability of the paddle handle and deadlatch locks during business hours. Around the year 2000, building codes throughout the United States began requiring specific occupancy load rooms with more than 50 person capacity must have two egress doors equipped with hardware release mechanisms being more than 50 percent of the door width. When implemented, these codes eliminated the future use of the deadlatch lock with lever or paddle handle. Occupancies included restaurant, taverns/bars, theatres and small tenant spaces.

Remember: Building Codes affect building construction and remodel sonly after they have been implemented. Some local jurisdictions have incorporated codes requiring modification of older buildings to current standards. For example, a new occupancy permit must be signed off by the Fire Marshal for an existing space. The Fire Marshal can require lock hardware to be brought up to today's code standards.

Although panic and fire hardware (exit devices) were not directly specified, they were required by default since no other device has an operating mechanism longer than at least one-half the width of a door.

The code eventually expanded to include all high hazard occupancies, which includes kitchens and flammable storage rooms. Multi-story buildings are affected where there is more than a 100-person occupancy load per floor; each occupancy load room on each floor must have hardware release mechanisms being more than 50 percent of the door width.

Note: Adams Rite style hook and pivoting deadlocks with proper signage are still a viable locking method during non-business hours.

Not every state implements the same building code at the same time. Information included with this article is from the 2012 International Building Code® (IBC), Chapter three, "Use and Occupancy Classification."

For this article, I will discuss some options for adding traffic control and security onto lever or paddle handle equipped deadlatch locks installed into a narrow stile aluminum glass doors. The Adams Rite style deadlatch requires a 1" wide by 6-7/8" (6.885") tall cutout. The top of the cutout is 1.594" above the centerline of the mortise cylinder. The same dimensions are used by the Adams Rite style pivoting deadlock.

With the implementations of recent codes, paddle or lever handle equipped deadlatch locks can no longer be used for a significant number of applications. By default, the only choices are exit devices. There are two options: the Adams Rite 8400 or a rim-mounted exit device.

The 8400 Series is a narrow stile mortise exit device equipped with a narrow stile mortise deadlatch mechanism. This exit device's mortise deadlatch fits the standard cutout used for the Adams Rite Deadlatch having a "clean" installation.

Before starting installation, consider the placement of the exit device. Building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act require door hardware to be mounted 34" to 48" above the finished floor (AFF). If the pivoting deadbolt was mounted within this range following standard mounting procedures, the Adams Rite 8400 can be installed into the door edge cutout and should cover most if not all of the mounting holes and cutouts on the interior side and edge of the door.

Where the pivoting deadlock has been mounted at a different height or the decision has been made to eliminate the deadlock and install a rim exit device, most exit device manufacturers offer narrow stile versions of their devices.

I was invited to photograph a few tenant space narrow stile aluminum glass doors within a large strip mall built in the late 1980s. The mall has anchor stores and several dozen small tenant spaces ranging from medical offices to travel agencies, consulting firms, restaurants, etc. Some of the tenant spaces had been expanded, incorporating two or more units.

A number of the units are equipped with an Adams Rite Pivoting Deadlock and the standard push/pull hardware. The lock hardware was probably installed during construction. A few of the tenant spaces are equipped with electronic locks. Several of the units had been updated to the Adams Rite 8400 Exit Devices and a number had been upgraded to rim exit devices.

Installing a rim exit device can leave the option of keeping the pivoting deadlock, if the device can be installed either above or below it. Most rim exit device manufacturers recommend the centerline of the push pad devices should be approximately 40" AFF and the crossbar centerline height of approximately 36" AFF.

During the visit, we found several installed rim exit devices including CRL Jackson 1295 Rim Exit Devices and a Von Duprin 88 Crossbar Exit Device. Several of the small tenant spaces had installed electric strikes.

CRL Jackson’s 1295 rim exit device is designed for use with 1-3/4" narrow, medium and wide stile aluminum glass doors. This pushpad extruded aluminum rim device’s standard lengths are 36" and 48". The mechanical components are stainless steel and hardened plated steel. The end caps are metal and the latch and strike is sintered steel.

The Von Duprin 88 Series Rim Device is equipped with a ¾" throw latch bolt. The lock stile case is 8-1/4" by 2-3/4" by 15/16". For this application, the 88 Series lock stile case is wider than the stile, resulting in a portion of the case extending over the glass. More important, the exit device can only be used as exit only because the stile is not wide enough to accept a lock cylinder. Instead, the Von Duprin 55 Series Crossbar Rim Exit Device should have been installed. The 55 Series lock stile case is 7-1/4" by 1-3/16" by 2-1/4", having a small enough footprint to mount onto the stile.

When installing a rim exit device in place of the pivot deadlock, there are a number of choices to cover the original door prep. Adams Rite blank faceplate kits fill the edge preparation left behind when removing a deadlatch or a pivoting deadlock. Each of the four kits includes a blank faceplate, mounting tabs and the mounting screws. The variations of the kits are a flat or radius faceplate and aluminum or bronze finish.

GKL offers the Bridge Modification Kit B1A. The kit contains two blank faceplates, three Bridges, screws, shims (to adjust faceplate height), one ADD2 Disc Kit and brackets to convert the ADD2 Discs to ADD1 Discs. The Bridge Modification Kits are available in Duro 313 finish and
Aluminum 628 finish.

The mortise cylinder and the handle openings are 1.25" diameter. Filler plates/cylinders covers are available from a number of manufacturers including Don-Jo, GKL and Progressive Hardware Co.

Small holes can be filled with aluminum boat patch or body filler. Touch up paint or spray is available to finish the modification.

Upgrading an aluminum glass narrow stile entry can provide the customer with different choices. Discuss the options in order to determine the best choice for their application.

Manufacturers discussed in this article include:

  • Adams Rite:
  • Don-Jo Mfg., Inc.:
  • GKL Products:
  • Jackson Door Control Hardware:
  • Progressive Hardware Co.:
  • Von Duprin: