Commercial Door Rehab

Oct. 2, 2020
Rugged options can upgrade commercial openings for enhanced performance, safety and security.

Door hardware helps prevent break-ins and burglaries. According to FBI statistics, most commercial burglaries occur when a business is closed, and 58 percent of break-ins are by forced entry. Back doors are a favorite attack point, because they typically aren’t visible to normal foot or vehicle traffic.

Back doors might be used as an employee entrance, designated as emergency-only exits or used for shipping, receiving and entry points for service personnel. Whichever is the case, these doors also are almost always candidates for rehabs to improve safety and security.

Multipoint locking systems provide effective security for back doors. These systems might include relatching, key-resettable deadbolts, electronic access control (EAC), delayed egress, exit devices, video surveillance, security communications systems and other auxiliary specialty security hardware.

Hinges, particularly on out-swinging doors, are areas of vulnerability. Doors that have hinges on the outside can be compromised easily to gain access to the building. One power tool can remove the hinges to allow the door to be pulled open from the hinge side. One way to combat this is to add hinge-side bolts, which can be as simple to install as drilling three holes and installing two screws.

The main goal is to delay potential intruders from entering a building for as long as possible. The ideal combination of products for achieving that goal includes a three-point locking panic device with a deadbolt and alarm, and additional hinge-side bolts. This combination provides up to 16,000 pounds of static pull force, which in most cases is more robust than a door frame installed into a brick wall.

Full-surface reinforcing pivots enable you to rehabilitate a doomed door, saving time and money. I recall a pair of wide doors in a health-care facility that no longer were serviceable after years of getting slammed with carts and wheelchairs. The top hinges had worn out in the frame and the edge of the door, although the doors and frame were otherwise viable. We used full-surface reinforcing pivots to repair the opening.

Markar’s B1921 and B1923 full-surface reinforcing pivots add years of life to openings where the hinges or hinge reinforcements have failed. An economical way to solve door-sag problems, reinforcing pivots take the load off the top hinge and transfer it to screws that won’t pull out.

When the portions of the door and frame where the hinge attaches no longer support the hinges, installing continuous hinges is a good solution. I’ve used continuous hinges on interior and exterior aluminum, wood and steel doors. On EAC upgrades, using continuous hinges with power/data transfer for the locking device solves two problems with one solution.

Depending on the application, you might choose full-surface, half-mortise or full-mortise hinges. It’s imperative that the hinge is aligned properly and fastened correctly to the door and frame for reliable long-term operation. Get the hardware kit that’s designed for your installation for a fast and permanent installation.

Special-Lite Replacement Doors

Frequently, a door requires replacement during a rehab. Special-Lite makes doors constructed of FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic and fiberglass polymer), which has unique characteristics that make the doors useful for a large number of applications. These are custom-manufactured doors and frames intended to be used as replacements for doors constructed of traditional materials. We asked Special-Lite’s Andrew Paschall all about them:

Locksmith Ledger: What products do you offer?

Andrew Paschall: FRP/aluminum hybrid doors, all-fiberglass doors and framing, composite fiberglass and aluminum doors and framing, fire- and smoke-rated doors and framing and hurricane-rated doors

LL: Are your products appropriate for rehabbing old openings?

AP: Yes. Our retrofit framing pairs with most of our doors, including our fire-rated line. Our AF Framing can be retrofit to an existing structure as well. Our Omega interior aluminum framing also can be retrofit. In essence, we provide framing options for wrap situations and frame replacement on old openings.

LL: What differentiates your products from the competition?

AP: Tie-rod construction and proprietary foamed in-place cores. We also provide FRP face sheets and aluminum edging for flexural strength, with resistance to harsh environments. Our products have an extremely long product life and require far less maintenance than conventional wood or hollow metal doors. They are extremely durable and resilient to harsh chemicals, weather and high-use environments.

LL: How can locksmiths buy your products?

AP: Locksmiths can buy our products through our sales representative network and distribution partners.

LL: How does pricing compare between your doors and conventional wood and metal doors?

AP: We are a good bit more expensive. However, we make up for it in product durability. The average life of our product is 20 years, and there are many other cost-saving benefits to our product in terms of ongoing maintenance. It’s not uncommon for our products to actually cost less than hollow metal doors and frames over a five-year depreciation once labor of maintenance, repainting and replacement are factored into the overall cost of the product.

LL: Can your doors be prepped for hinges, cylindrical locks and mortise locks in the field?

AP: Doors are factory-prepped. SL and AF Series can have hinges prepped in the field. Our quick-ship doors are ordered with little prep. You get a certain vision lite kit. If you want a mortise lock, in the field, the locksmith would do the cylinder prep. Surface closers and concealed overhead stops can also be field-prepped.

LL: Do your doors provide the same physical security as conventional doors?

AP: More. In addition, we have specific models that can be configured for added security, including hurricane-rated, fire-rated and ballistic door options.

LL: Can your doors be used on storefronts?

AP: Yes, our Monumental doors are most commonly used on storefronts, and our other lines feature models suited for those as well.

LL: Do the constraints on cross-drilling for electric hinges and electrified locksets apply to your doors?

AP: If you are referencing conduits, then, yes, there are constraints. The conduit must be less than 40 inches from the floor, and you must be trained to install the conduit in the field.

The SL-17 FRP Door, installed in an aluminum or fiberglass door frame, is Special-Lite’s most popular product. It’s ideal for schools, public buildings, sports complexes and water- and wastewater treatment facilities. The SL-17 FRP Door has passed a host of industry-standard tests, including impact tests, air-leakage and thermal-transmittance tests, hurricane testing (Florida and Texas) and sound-transmission tests.

The SL-17 FRP Door and the factory-installed hardware come with a 10-year warranty.

More info:

Detex DX Bolts

Detex DX Bolts are hinge-side bolts that are attached easily to the door and frame. Even if the exterior door hinges were compromised, DX Bolts would keep the door locked and secure. DX Bolts can be added to most applications, providing code-compliant, economical multipoint locking security.

DX Bolts are available for use with all Detex panic hardware and  come in single-, double- and triple-hinge bolts.

The attack-resistant design keeps the door locked and secure to deter against burglaries, even if the hinges were cut off.

Detex also offers the ECL-230X-TDB, a code-compliant, battery-alarmed, rugged three-point deadbolt panic device that has a photo-luminescent sign, providing maximum security and a 100-decibel alarm for secondary exits. Independent laboratory testing shows that the ECL-230X-TDB can withstand up to 16,000 pounds of pull force. A weatherized version is available.

More info:

Precision Hardware Apex 2110VI

The Precision Hardware Apex 2110VI exit device features a code-compliant safe egress and includes visual and directional indicators for faster security lockdown in high-occupancy areas, including classrooms and auditoriums. It also features an embossed directional indicator that has quarter-turn (90 degree) activation and is available in a variety of finishes, including an antimicrobial coating.

The 2110VI is aimed at fire-rated and other exit doors and enables users to lock the lever quickly on the exterior side of the opening from the interior without having to open the door. Because of its directional and lock/unlock indicator, the user knows right away what direction to rotate the key or thumbturn and the lock / unlock status of the lever.

The 2110VI is available as a complete exit device and lever trim. It also is available in a field-conversion kit, so customers that have the previous version may upgrade without having to remove the exit device and lever trim. 

More info:

RCI Electric Strikes and Maglocks

The complete line of RCI electric strikes covers exit device, mortise and  cylindrical lock applications.

RCI’s 0163 half-inch solenoid rim strike is a surface-mounted electric strike that’s designed to work with Pullman-style rim exit device latches and fit in tight situations where the exit device is mounted  close to the door frame, such as aluminum storefront applications.

More info:

The 83 series of magnetic locks covers 1,200-pound holding force, 600-pound holding force and delayed-egress applications.

The IQ IntelliMag series of maglocks recognize only their individually registered and encoded armature plate. This enhanced security feature prevents “tricking” the magnet. The RCI 8310-IQ is used for single out-swing doors, and the RCI 8320-IQ is used for double out-swing doors.

The IQ Series’ built-in time delay for instant release fits the access procedures of a high-security interior or perimeter entrance. Two independent relay outputs allow for local or remote indication of lock status and alarm status.

For maglocks, it’s important to note that the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) is involved with the decision process to ensure local codes are met. 

More info:

Capitol Industries Cylinder and Latch Protection

An attack on a storefront mortise cylinder can cause significant damage and inconvenience to the business owner. Jimmying or prying a door also will result in expensive damage. Openings equipped with auxiliary hardware to protect against cylinder and frame damage often deter an attack.

Capitol Industries’ CI-Series Cylinder and Latch Protectors protect against cylinder wrenching and tampering with latches and strikes.

The CI-Series, made of anodized aluminum, is corrosion-resistant and won’t cause galvanic corrosion between the door leaf and plate. The cylinder and latch protectors install in under 10 minutes.

The CI-30 has clearance for electric strikes, the CIA-30 provides additional clearance and both are available handed for use on out-swing doors only. The CI-10 can be used for in-swing doors. The XT versions (e.g. CI-10XT) are designed for use with seven-pin interchangeable-core cylinders. All mounting hardware is included.

All CI-Series products include free engraving on orders of 20 units or more for locksmiths to promote themselves.

More info:

Don-Jo Manufacturing Hardware

Forced entries are common occurrences. Besides the abuse of a forced entry, we frequently have to repair a door where a lock was installed improperly or where the poor quality door became damaged from “normal” use.

Also, when upgrading a door from a knob to EAC, there are holes to cover and possibly damage to repair.

We kept an inventory of Don-Jo products in the storeroom, and every vehicle carried a selection of the most popular models to avoid having to drive back to the shop.

Don-Jo product lines include bolts and latches, door controls, filler plates and signs, hinges, knob plates, door edges, latch protectors, pivots, push plates, stops, strike plates, wraparounds and templates.

More info:

Schlage B Series Deadbolts

Designed for strength and durability, the Schlage B500 Series deadbolt accepts every Schlage cylinder in the market, fits virtually every door application and enhances lock strength on the jamb side of the door.

Schlage B600, B700 and B800 Series Grade 1 Deadbolts long have been the industry standard for tubular deadbolts. A wide variety of functions and choice of cylinders, including geographically exclusive Primus XP options, makes these deadbolts suitable for nearly any deadlock application.

Alarm Lock Trilogy T2 DL2700

The Trilogy T2 DL2700 satisfies the majority of requirements for stand-alone EAC.

Customers want a Grade 1 lock and want to be relieved of the issues associated with keys. They want to be able to lock an opening or provide free passage at certain times. They want a lock that they can manage without buying programming appliances or using technologies that make them vulnerable to hacking. And they don’t want to replace the door to have it installed.

The Trilogy typically can be serviced in the field in one trip, which holds down the cost of ownership.

More info:

Tim O’Leary is an experienced security consultant and a regular contributor to Locksmith Ledger.

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.