Damaged Doors: Repair, Upgrade or Replace?

June 4, 2018
Utilizing quality doors allows the owner the option to replace any piece of the door that may be damaged by abuse or accident

Since doors are essential means of egressing buildings, and entry points which are required to provide access but also prevent unauthorized intrusions, being a locksmith can be a challenging and creative occupation.

Often the customer calls because the door is not locking, but the problem may be with the door rather than the locking hardware. When you arrive at a job, the more skilled you are at evaluating the status of the door, and be able to map out a plan to resolve it, the better.

Choices are repair, upgrade or replace, always keeping code requirements in mind.

What is an illegal door? A door which is equipped with devices or equipment when are contrary to the Building Code, or a door which does not operate properly and impedes or prevent safe egress is dangerous, and might be deemed illegal.

All issues relating to doors and life safety are subject to the approval of the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Therefore the LAHJ is responsible for the proper operation of doors and the safety of occupants of buildings within his jurisdiction. Locksmiths performing such work are answerable to the AHJ.

In my own experiences, when the AHJ shows up to do an inspection and finds whet he considers violations, he either closes your facility, or gives you some time to remedy the problems at which time he returns and reinspects. Of course it depends on the severity of the violation.

The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. The building code becomes law of a particular jurisdiction when formally enacted by the appropriate governmental or private authority having jurisdiction.

You will need to perform a VISUAL & OPERATIONAL INSPECTION of the door or lock. Determine what is and what is not working. I often refer to the Fire Door Inspection punchlist as a good guide for these surveys. Check out www.selffdi.com

Steel Doors

In some situations you may have to decide whether the damage is repairable or warrants a new door.

There is a point of diminishing returns when you are trying to decide whether to repair or replace.

There is also the inconvenience and loss of service from a damaged door. You may not be doing your client a favor by trying to repair a door which has outlived its usefulness.

Following are some types of damage which might tip you off that replacement makes more sense:

Door Frame No Longer Square. When you have an older building and the frame is no longer plumb, level and square, you are better off replacing the door and frame. If you were to just replace the door and keep the existing frame, you could leave yourself open to issues such as undue stress on hinges (called “hinge bind”), improper clearances for fire rated openings, and improperly fitting and operating hardware.

Compromised Door Core. Once the core is compromised, it jeopardizes the integrity of the door and the door must be replaced.

Delamination. (perhaps due to water damage ) xauses a door to become flimsy and lose its rigidity. It should be replaced. Test the door by opening it partially, put your foot up against the bottom of the door and pull on the top of the door. If you are able to twist (flex) the door more than 1/4 - 3/8 of an inch, there is a good chance your core is delaminated.

Rust Damage. Rust generally starts inside and works its way outward. (rust never sleeps). If rust is visible on the exterior of the door, the core has been compromised and the door will need to be replaced.

Vandalism. Doors subjected to vandalism or forced entry frequently need to be replaced due to distortion which may occur in the area of the lockset and or hinges. Vandalism or forced entry very well may also affect the door frame as the consequence of attack. When repairing due to vandalism or forced entry, be careful to review all areas of the opening, not just the area of compromise. Physical damage to the door may nullify its Fire Rating by inhibiting the assembly’s ability to perform its design purpose.

Perhaps a heavier gauge steel door should be recommended if replacement is warranted.

Diagnosis: Repair

A major benefit of steel doors is their re-workability—they can be welded, ground and patched. This means that repairs can often be made relatively inexpensively and usually in the field. Here are a few instances in which you can save money by repairing the door instead of replacing it.

Hinge Damage. Be sure to check with local jurisdiction when repairing or reworking fire labeled openings that the repairs will not jeopardize the underwriting.

Patching Holes. Pay attention to any fire rated concerns and procedures in regards to patching or filling holes, and always defer to your local authority having jurisdiction or NFPA.

Dents. When the damage is just a dent and hasn’t penetrated through the outer layer of the door, you can apply bondo, sand and paint the door. More often than not, no one will be able to tell that it’s been repaired.

Note: Excerpts of this section are from a technical article

"Damaged Steel Doors: Repair or Replace?" published by Jeff Wherry, Managing Director

Steel Door Institute, www.steeldoor.org.

Aluminum Doors

Wide Stile aluminum doors have rapidly become a popular entrance design where wide-open natural light is desired. Architectural firms specify Wide Stile when looking for a "heavy-duty" stile and rail door that can withstand high volume traffic flow and abuse.

The extrusion is a 5" wide tubular shape that will provide enough space inside the extrusion to apply mortise locksets and mortise panics.

The minimum wall thickness of the face of this extrusion is .187" (3/16"). (A standard stile and rail door fabricated in the aluminum door and storefront industry is .125" or less.)

Optional wide stile base and top horizontal rails can vary from 2" to any desired height.

Medium Stile aluminum doors are typically storefront entrance stile & rail glass doors with tubular extrusions that are 4 inches wide. This allows for usage of most commercial hardware.

A wide variety of glass configurations can be created, from full view glass to various horizontal and vertical mullion assemblies. These custom variables allow for the creation of many unique entrance designs.

Entrances that are required to meet the American Disabilities Act (ADA) are easily fabricated. The base and top horizontal rails of the doors can vary from 4-1/2" to any desired height. Other structural points of emphasis are:

Door sections are 1-3/4" x 4-1/2" tubular shapes of extruded aluminum alloy.

True Mortise and Tenon Joinery at every Stile and Rail Intersection.

Joinery is 3/8" diameter zinc plated steel tie rods bolted through the stiles.

Narrow Stile and Rail Glass Door Entrances include the following typical dimensions and features:

  • 6-1/2" Head Rail for Closer Mount without Using Drop Plates
  • 2-1/2" Stiles Width
  • .187" Edge Wall Thickness on Lock and Hinge Stiles
  • Nominal .125" Door Face Thickness
  • Tubular Aluminum Extrusion Construction
  • Fixed Exterior Glazing Stop
  • Rail Face Thickness is 3/16" to avoid through bolting closers
  • True Mortise and Tenon Construction at Every Stile and Rail Intersection (Standard)
  • Number, Size, and Location of Horizontal Rails are Adaptable to Meet ADA Regulations)
  • Screw Applied Interior Glazing Stops for Easy Glass Replacement
  • 1-3/4" Overall Door Thickness
  • 14. Available in a variety of finishes

Utilizing quality doors allows the owner the option to replace any piece of the door that may be damaged by abuse or accident. This can be done by disassembling the door and purchasing a replacement part, rather than having to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase a completely new door.

SDC Auto EntryControl

Security Door Controls (www.sdcsecurity.com) offers a wide assortment of products for the repair and upgrade of doors, and resources to assist locksmiths to take effective and profitable actions when servicing commercial doors.

Auto EntryControl is a low-energy automatic door operator that easily retrofits doors for convenience and to meet ADA compliance. The Low Energy Swing Door Operator provides hands-free, low-power point of entry door control to help meet all US and Canadian ADA requirements for door installations in retail storefronts, office buildings, campuses and healthcare facilities. The state-of-the-art microprocessor-based unit is self-tuning and self-learning while offering non-handed operation, full mechanical stops and a variety of interface options for sensors, push-plates, fire alarms and electrified locks.

SDC’s Door Checklist is a useful, interactive PDF for planning door control solutions on the job. It is available for free download from: http://www.sdcsecurity.com/docs/door-checklist.pdf

Door Prop Alarms are a cost-effective upgrade solution to support positive access control and eliminate door propping and tailgating. All SDC door prop alarms feature audible sirens with adjustable timer settings, two outputs, bypass status indicator light, and vandal-resistant aluminum construction. Available to install in single gang or double gang enclosures, SDC door prop alarms also offer optional Push-To-Exit buttons and Cylindrical and Mortise Reset/Bypass Switches.

SDC DoorSnap is a function in SDC's free app that allows dealers and installers to send pictures of door openings to receive a cost-effective solution with product information links to retrofit the opening for access & egress control locking hardware.

The SDC QuietDUOTM LR100 Electric Latch Retraction Kit retrofits most major brands of mechanical exit devices and enables electric access control and dogging.

When energized, the motor retracts the exit device latch and pulls the pushpad on most devices into the dogged (depressed) position enabling momentary or sustained push and pull operation of the door. Retrofits most major brands of mechanical exit devices: Adams Rite, Arrow, Best, Cal-Royal, Corbin Russwin, Design Hardware, Detex, Dorma, Dor-O-Matic, Falcon, Hager, IDC, K2, Jackson, Marks, Marshall Best, PDQ, PHI, Precision, Sargent, Schlage, SDC, Tell, Town Steel, Von Duprin and Yale. Retrofit exit devices with our proven concealed solution.

QuietDUOTM features include:

  • Motorized Electric Latch Retraction & Dogging for Fire Rated & Non-Fire Rated Devices
  • Retrofits select exit device brands without removing device from door
  • Only Latch head cover and end cover plate removable required for most other brands
  • Low 700mA Inrush, 200 mA Continuous @ 24VDC
  • Quiet Mechanical and Electric Operation
  • Eliminates need for costly replacement of existing exit device
  • Significantly less labor and costs compared to competitive retrofit kits
  • Eliminates need for costly power supplies with high inrush circuitry
  • Compatible with UL Listed Access Control Power Supply
  • Only 1 Amp SDC brand power supply required for up to 2 exit devices
  • Low current enables longer wire runs with smaller gauge wire
  • No door sequencers required for pairs of manual doors

Visit: http://sdcsecurity.com/LR100-QUIET-DUO-ELR-Kit.htm

The Wire Gauge Chart is a useful reference tool for determining wire gauge and distances for 12V and 24V AC/DC Access Control System applications. Free online at http://www.sdcsecurity.com/wire-chart-request.htm

MLR Z7600 Series Motorized Latch Retraction Mortise Locksets replace most major brand mechanical locks in new or retrofit applications and ensure the door stays latched even when unlocked.

SDC’s MLR Mortise Locksets are designed for the access control of openings in commercial, industrial and institutional facilities where code compliance, dependable operation and resistance to physical abuse is required. Ideal for automatic door operator applications, they replace most major brand mechanical locks in new or retrofit applications. MLR Mortise Locksets ensure the door stays latched even when unlocked, perfect for use on fire rated doors to maintain code compliance. Visit www.sdcsecurity.com/Z7600.

Dormakaba Entrance Systems

Replacing an entire entrance is a pretty big project, but it also means a pretty big payday. Many locksmiths can take on a large job, but even if they might want to do the work themselves once the sale has been made, many might wish to assume the role of contractor, which many include the following long list of services: provide financing and clerical services required to obtain permits, procurement of the materials, scheduling and providing the detailed customer support and site supervision required when removing and disposing of old architectural materials, installation of a new system, and performing the interfacing and finishing are required, all in a very tight time frame. You’ve got a business to run, and you have other customers to attend to.

Dormakaba consultants advise, review, and respond to every phase of your project — from initial planning and budget preparation to on-site approvals. You can rely on their customer service team to provide exceptional technical product support. In many locations across the U.S. their network of service professionals can execute the final phases of installation and provide ongoing proper maintenance, if you require.

Consulting services include:

  • Developing code-compliant access solution specifications and schedules.
  • Developing detailed specifications.
  • Meeting with the design professional and/or owner to discuss project requirements and security coordination.
  • Assisting with development of a professional key system.
  • Preparing budgets.
  • Reviewing substitution requests.
  • Reviewing submittals.
  • Responding to RFIs, owner’s comments, and comments from other entities.
  • Assisting with punch list development and administration.

The company’s design and development services include consultation for our complete range of entrance solutions:

  • Automatic door systems (sliding, swinging, and revolving doors)
  • Physical access systems
  • Glass systems and hardware
  • Architectural hardware
  • Operable walls

dormakaba’s ESA automatic sliding doors are commercial grade, high traffic volume automatic sliding doors designed with the strongest drive system in the industry. Offering a wide range of configurations and options, the ESA Series ensures sturdy, reliable access in travel centers, retail outlets, office buildings, healthcare facilities, and countless other building types. The ESA controller is designed for heavy-duty use to easily accommodate door panels weighing as much as 220 lbd. The ESA controller's energy-efficient design requires less power to operate and the presence sensors allow doors to safely close in a timely manner to maintain temperate interior climates.

The 2017 ANSI 156.10 standard requires a "handshake" connection between the presence sensor and the automatic door controller. This closed loop monitoring system ensures that in the event of a presence sensor failure, the door will stop automatic function. The controller and presence sensors are tested and approved by dormakaba engineering to ensure they comply with the new standard.

dormakaba also offers the first truly integrated swing door operator, the ED Series. The drive system, control unit, power supply, and user interface are all designed to work as one system, not as separate operating parts. This unique design approach allows the operator total control of all door movement. Industry standard operators control door movement only when opening and rely on a passive closing system driven by a spring or hydraulic closer. This integrated operator actively controls the door at all times when opening, closing, and stationary.

Whether your swing door application requires a true manual door feel with a low energy operator (ED50), a medium-duty power operated pedestrian operator (ED100), or a heavy-duty power operated pedestrian (ED250), the dormakaba ED Series has a solution. Every operator features a narrow or fine header to seamlessly blend with the door frame and accommodate minimal header space.

The ED50 low energy operator an ideal solution for barrier-free access applications. Simple and easy to install, the ED50 provides many features and functions to make existing doors easily accessible. Every ED50 unit is custom-ordered to match the application. All common applications for outswing and inswing doors—either with push arm or slide track arm for tight side clearance —can be adapted for barrier-free access.

If opening conditions change, the single-sled design operators allow simple adjustments depending on usage and performance requirements. Selectable low energy, power assist, weight, wind load, sweep speed, and latch speed can be programmed to accommodate all power open functions and options.

Code Compliance

Four ANSI standards apply to the automatic door industry. ANSI 156.10 covers full powered automatic pedestrian doors. ANSI 156.19 covers low-energy automatic pedestrian doors. ANSI 156.27 covers automatic and manual revolving doors, and ANSI 156.38 which covers low-energy sliding and folding doors.

Because of the complexity of the install and the certifications required, doors covered under ANSI 156 10 and 156.27 are only sold and installed through authorized distributors or branches that have AAADM certified installers in-house. Low energy operators are available to locksmiths in some instances. dormakaba has offerings designed for this purpose which can be purchased through the hardware channel which often includes locksmiths, This product is the ED 900 low-energy swing door operator.

dormakaba has branch locations throughout the world that service installs automatic doors each of these locations has a number of service vehicles that are staffed by technicians trained to install and maintain automatic doors at customer locations. These vehicles can be seen in the United States, Canada, Germany, South America, Mexico and many other locations.

ANSI, the American National Standard Institute, developed series of standards that cover automatic doors as mentioned above these cover swinging sliding folding and revolving automatic doors. While the ANSI standards are voluntary and it may seem that compliance is not compulsory, this is not necessarily the case. The standard is developed for the sake of safety and uniformity within the industry providing a common language with which we can communicate. While an association cannot make compliance compulsory, many regulatory and governmental bodies or other entities have adopted certain aspects of the industry standards. Once a portion of the standard is adopted by the code body or authority having jurisdiction, that section then becomes a code requirement. Specific sections of ANSI A156.10 and ANSI A156.19 are mentioned in the IBC, the NFPA and the ADA. These standards are created by industry associations to establish minimum requirements that should be met to achieve the industry's best practices.

AAADM, the American Association of automatic door manufacturers, was established to provide a certification process for automatic door professionals to inspect doors installed in the field. The purpose of this inspection is to verify that the automatic doors are compliant with the ANSI standards at the time of the inspection, as far as the field walk test can establish.

AAADM recommends to the end-user and/or owner that they have the door inspected at least annually by an AAADM certified inspector. The annual inspection provides an additional level of safety to the owners and users of the automatic doors verifying that the doors movement and performance along with the sensor patterns, placement and functions are within compliance of the standards and as designed and intended by the manufacturer of the automatic.

Detex EasyKits

DETEX offers the installer a series of integrated door security systems including:

  • Delayed Egress
  • Delayed Egress with Access Control
  • Weatherized Delayed Egress
  • Access Control Door
  • Electric Dogging with Central Control
  • Automatically Operated Door Systems
  • Component Parts

Each kit is designed and created per the customers’ requirements, so as a result there are a large number of pre-existing DETEX EasyKits. Many are very common combinations, variations of those, + or – items. Some EasyKits are listed in specifications and repetitive, while others are ordered only once.

EasyKits consist of Detex products, coupled with other non-Detex products. For instance, electrified hinges, access control or possibly activation, might be included to provide a whole solution (less the door)

Kits are made up of Detex products but, if required, Detex will add other select products to complete the package.

Once the kit is finalized, it is given a part number that is all inclusive, aiding the customer in reordering. The customer then can order, receive, get support, and communicate in person with one supplier.

Automatically Operated Door Systems (AOD): This kit includes a number of DETEX products, plus a few products that Detex sources from otherer manufacturers.

One of the unique features is the Electric Latch-Retraction power supply & control mounted in the AO19 operator housing. This eliminates mounting the PS & Control box above the ceiling.

Utilizing the unique AO19 hanger plate, one man does the work of two in less than half the time.

This eliminates running low voltage wires up to the box and then down to the operator, ER device(s), activation devices, and the electrician only has to bring power to the outlet in the operator housing. Everything is powered at that point and can be initially setup with an extension cord.

More Information: www.detex.com

Adams Rite EX Series

ASSA ABLOY Group brand Adams Rite demonstrates its innovation and forward-thinking design with its new EX Series Exit Devices combining fexibility, aesthetics, and reliability.

The initial release includes four of seven models that will be available to the market.

The four-model EX Series is designed with impact bumpers to reduce sound and horizontal and vertical guide with return control for smoother operation; a universal hardware kit for aluminum, hollow metal and wood installations; modern, contoured design with matching metal end caps and cut-to- length in field installation options.

The flexible, robust design paired with simple and adjustable installation provides an appealing solution for customers.

Each model comes standard with a universal hardware kit for installation on aluminum, hollow metal and wood doors. While all models are available in 3 standard lengths, each can be cut-to- length providing installers the flexibility to accommodate unforeseen changes in the field and allow for versatile, flexible inventory.

Adhesive templates and step-by- step 3D instructions are provided to assist with device mounting and reduce installation time.”

The Adams Rite EX series includes four models:

The EX88 Interlocking Rim Exit Device, with a robust and unique bolt design, interlocks the door to frame for enhanced strength and durability.

The EX89 Pullman Rim Exit Device features a ¾-inch Pullman latch bolt that is compatible with the Adams Rite preload capable 74R1 Electric Strike and provides an easy solution to electrify an opening.

Both Rim Exit Devices are preload capable and designed for use on single doors or with mullion on pairs of doors.

EX76 Concealed Vertical Rod Exit Device (CVR) features easily adjustable concealed rods and latching assembly designed for easy installation, maintenance and adjustment. The EX76 is designed for single or pairs of doors. 

The EX80 Dummy Push Bar is designed for applications that do not require a latching/locking life-safety device. The flexible design comes standard with two monitoring switches and is field selectable for active or inactive configuration.

With compatible Adams Rite entry trim and the ability to secure both single and pairs of doors, the EX Series can provide a total building solution satisfying the need for door hardware with a unified look and standardized installation and operation on a facility.

More Info: www.adamsrite.com

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.