Securing Commercial Doors: Look Beyond The Lock

Oct. 2, 2019
Hinges, door closers, pivots, door stops and guard plates help protect an opening

For the locksmith, door work is divided between installations, repairs and upgrades. Most often, locksmiths are called out to  repair damage caused by forced entries or abuse of the door, or to upgrade items for electronic access, or fortify the door against attacks.

It’s best to arrive at a repair job with an assortment of solutions loaded in your vehicle. Also you must realize that the door may not properly lock after being attacked, and the customer doesn’t want to leave the premises unprotected overnight knowing it has been compromised. You can get a pretty good idea what you can expect to need when you find out some details prior to heading over the premises.

Sometimes the service call will be to address doors damaged from old age where the door or frame will no longer support the original hinges or pivots. The door and frame may be too damaged to re-use.

If it is a fire door, maintaining code compliance is an important consideration.

I’ve seen many metal doors which appear to be intact, but have actually rusted from the inside out, and were literally held together by the several layer of paint which had been applied over time, ostensibly for the purpose of maintenance, but probably to conceal the problems and avoid the cost of replacement and repair.

I have also seen doors which were salvageable by using offset pivots, continuous hinges, and wrap-a-rounds to reinforce and rebuild damage.

These measures provide a quick remedy to the immediate issues, and the owner may roll with them even if you explain that the Fire Marshal might still question the integrity of the opening during annual inspection and require more extensive repairs. It all has to do with the AHJ, the nature of the occupancy and the primary function of the particular opening.

When going to a site for the purpose of installing access control, sometimes the subject door is not healthy enough for a mere upgrade. Out of necessity, you’ll need to identify damaged doors and know the appropriate products to perform the repair.

If you are called to do a rekey or adjust a door or door closer, sell your customer on the benefits of increased security that the installation of items such as latch and cylinder guards can provide, making them a good very good investment.

Marray Hinges

Marray, Inc., has been a name brand door hardware modifier since 1995. Their patented products have allowed for users of access control locking hardware to realize significant savings, while at the same time, spending less time on a jobsite to accomplish their installations. 

Marray has been involved with fire door inspection and listed hardware and solutions. Their Perfect Raceway Tool is a unique product which enables the legal field modification of existing fire rated doors for the installation of EAC hardware.

Marray designs and sells factory direct electrified UL listed access control locks, electric hinges, (UL 10C Fire Listed Electrified Hinge) electronic panic exit devices, fire listed electrified storefront and offset pivots, power door loops (armored door cords), REX switches and related equipment.

Their trade names are Dor-Cor (to drill fire doors), Perfect Raceway and RediRex.

Marray has some new, exciting and economically satisfying products that will once again, cause creative disruption in this marketplace.  They also offer expert technical and sales support.

We asked Ray Zehrung, President and founder or Marray, Inc. for some comments on hinges.

How important are hinges to a door’s proper operation?

Many people don’t pay much attention to hinges on doors. They pull the door open, the hinges usually work as designed and they never give them a thought. When most problems in door openings occur, it’s usually the lock or other latching device (or handles etc. ) since those articles are the ones we directly interact with. When a handle or pull, or push bar is not operating correctly, we notice immediately. We have a tactile relationship with the hardware we use for entry or egress.

Hinges, although rarely noticed, are in fact, one of the most important design elements in a door opening. If your door is too heavy for the hinges, the hinges will begin to sag, the latch may not engage fully into the strike plate and the door may begin rubbing on the threshold.

How do you select the correct hinge for a door?

Many Standards are used by architects and contractors when specifying hinges for openings. Such Standards may include those of the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association), BHMA (Builder’s Hardware Manufacturers Association) and others.

What are some considerations for special applications?

Just as specifying or installing an incorrect standard hinge can bring about future problems, so can the incorrect installation of a Power Transfer Hinge (PTH).

PTH connectors are used to bring power from an access control system to an electrified lock, panic device or other remotely activated piece of door hardware. Not all PTH connectors perform in exactly the same manner. Some are made for low power solenoids or motors and therefore only have small conductors. Usually between 26 and 30 gauge. Some are specifically made for larger solenoids that require a larger amperage draw.

At Marray, a leader in PTH technology for almost 25 years, we make and distribute a multitude of PTH connectors for every need. Our patented technology allows for us to offer a PTH for almost any situation. From our best selling 2+4 model (2 each 20 awg and 4 each 28 awg for large draw solenoids), to our 2+10 model, we strive to provide the exact PTH needed for any job. Using a PTH is a desirable method of providing power due to several factors: The wires are hidden and therefore, are less likely to be known as connectors and less likely to be tampered with. The Marray PTH is listed for 3 hour openings and thereby maintains the fire listing of the rated assembly. They are extremely durable, as they are required to be tested for openings of over 100,000 cycles, while being powered on and off for 5 seconds.

It’s always important to make sure the hinge you specify or purchase is durable for your application and is rated for the hardware you need to operate. An underrated hinge can short, burn out, or not last as intended.

There are many providers of PTH connectors. Just be sure you find one that works for your application, so you can leave the job, secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to return for any repairs or replacement.

More Info:

Ives Hinges

The Ives 5BB1 is a five-knuckle, ball-bearing, full mortise hinge that’s recommended for medium weight doors that experience average daily traffic.


  • Large selection of finishes allows for consistent door hardware style and design
  • Made with two ball bearing assemblies
  • Packed with fasteners for hollow metal and wood doors:
  • Certified to ANSI/BHMA A156.1 for performance standards
  • Meets ANSI/BHMA 156.7 for template hinge dimensions
  • UL Classified for windstorm rated assemblies - R37965
  • UL Listed, 3 hour fire doors

International Door Closers

International Door Closers offers the 44CI Series Heavy Duty Cast Iron Adjustable Spring Power Surface Applied Grade 1 Closer, designed for high traffic doors.

This durable closer is constructed with a Cast Iron Body, Forged Steel Arm, Double Heat Treated Steel Pinion and All Weather Fluid.

  • Non-Sized Adjustable 1 Through 6; Standard with Back Check
  • Universal Application for Regular Arm, Top Jamb, or Parallel Arm Mounting
  • Standard Plastic Cover - Non Handed
  • Hold-open arms are adjustable for holding from 85° to 180°.
  • Available options include Metal Cover, Heavy Duty Arm,  Hold-Open arm, Stop Only Arm and Friction Hold Open Arm

International Door Controls’ D200 Series Overhead Concealed Closer provides LEAK-FREE guaranteed performance under the most demanding conditions.

1. Steel spring cap is now on top of closer body utilizing a new high performance O-Ring and epoxy sealed threads for double protection.

2. New automotive type heavy duty spindle seal replacing old standard O-ring technology.

3. All three adjustment valves now with two high performance O-rings for double protection.

4. Steel end caps incorporating new high performance O-rings and also epoxy sealed threads for double protection.

5. Adjustable back check after 80° to prevent the door from slamming open.

More Info:

LCN 4040XP Series

The 4040XP Series is LCN’s most durable and flexible heavy-duty surface-mounted closer, designed for the most demanding high-use-and-abuse openings.

LCN peel-n-stick templates assure quick and accurate installation, and the patented LCN Green Dial takes the guesswork out of spring force adjustments.

Features include:

  • Cast iron cylinder with full-complement bearing
  • Forged steel arm
  • Double-heat treated steel pinion journal
  • Adjustable spring sizes 1-6
  •  All-weather fluid
  • Non-handed
  • UL and cUL Listed
  • Tested and certified under ANSI standard A156.4, Grade 1
  • Meets ADA reduced-opening force requirements

Glynn Johnson Holders and Stops

Extend the life of your customers’ high traffic and abuse openings with an overhead door stop and holder. Typically, overhead models come in different sizes and functions, making it complicated for customers to stock, specify, install or order exactly what you need. The new heavy duty, adjustable

Glynn-Johnson 510 Concealed Series and 550 Surface Series make your investment not only smart, but simple. Just stock one 510 or one 550 and it is versatile enough to replace dozens of SKUs in inventory, making this the most comprehensive overhead available in the market today.

  • Heavy duty for high traffic
  • Concealed mount (510 Series) or surface mount (550 Series)
  • Field adjustable to door width
  • Easily adjust stop and hold open function
  • Adjust to friction hold open with conversion kit
  • Degree of opening is field adjustable from 85° - 110°
  •  Shock absorbing spring allows for less abrupt dead stop
  • Compliments LCN aluminum closer to protect your door frame

Ives, Glynn Johnson and LCN are Allegion brands. More Info:

Capitol Industries Door Protectors

The Defender Cylinder and Latch Protector (CI-30) protects the cylinder from wrenching, and fits over electric strikes. Built from anodized aluminum, it does not corrode, and will not stick to the door through galvanic corrosion. It comes in clear aluminum, bronze (duro), or black finishes.

The most important feature, however, is how locksmiths can increase their sale value on a visit to a commercial site. They can install one of these in about 5-6 minutes if they already have the cylinder off the door (7-8 minutes if not). In addition, they can get their name and number engraved on the protector, potentially giving them new or repeat business.

 More Info:

Don-Jo Door Accessories

Don-Jo has an extensive catalog  and online listings of latchguards, wrap arounds and other goodies for repairing doors and frames and installing locks and access control on damaged doors which are still viable to stay in service.

Number 14 2 CW Wrap Around: For converting Simplex 1000 and Alarm Lock Trilogy to grade 1 & grade 2 lever locks

Number 15 CW Wrap Around: Works with Simplex 1000 series

Number 27 CW Wrap Around: Works with Alarm Lock 2700/T2 and DL4100 Series

Number BLP 110 Latch  Protector: Features Concealed welded studs with fasteners

Number ILP 212 In-swinging Latch Protector: For use with mortise locks and electronic locks

Number MELP 210 Latch Protector: Designed to fit most electric strikes, this latch protector completely encases the keeper for maximum protection. It is furnished with carriage bolts, washers and acorn cap nuts.

More Info:

Hager Geared Continuous Hinges

Hager’s Product Marketing Specialist Ginny Powell says continuous hinges rank way up there with the wheel and sliced bread as one of mankind’s greatest inventions. Here are excerpts from one of her recently published articles she has offered to me to include in this article.

There are two types of continuous hinges -the pin-and-barrel and the geared. The pin-and-barrel continuous hinge (sometimes known as the piano hinge) has two leaves joined together by a pin. The geared continuous hinge features gear teeth that mesh together under a cap that runs the length of the door.

The geared continuous hinge was patented in 1963 by Austin Baer, and in 1968 he earned a second patent for adding thrust bearing to his original design, known as the Roton® Continuous Geared Hinge. The patent expired in 1985, and Hager Companies purchased Baer's company in 1989.

Today every major U.S. commercial hardware manufacturer offers a line of continuous hinges.

These characteristics mean that continuous hinges are often installed for openings that are subject to high traffic and abuse, such as gymnasiums, health care facilities and sports complexes.

"As the population continues to grow, the demand on door openings increases with security and safety at the forefront," explains Dan White, Manager of Product Development for Hager Companies. "For these high-demand openings, the continuous geared hinge remains the smartest choice for the life of an opening."

Here are a few examples of where you can install a continuous hinges:

HOSPITALS, STADIUMS, ARENAS AND SCHOOL GYMNASIUMS: Over time, the doors that get a lot of use also tend to "come off their hinges" and sag or warp. Because a continuous hinge runs the length of the door, it keeps the door in constant alignment and eliminates this issue.

PRISONS AND BACK DOORS TO CONVENIENCE STORES AND STRIP MALLS: A geared continuous hinge can keep a building even more secure than a standard hinge because there isn't a pin that can be removed. In fact, prying off a continuous hinge would be time-consuming - which acts as a deterrent.

STOREFRONTS: Doors allow air to escape, which can be a great source of energy loss when trying to warm or cool the air (depending on the time of year). A continuous hinge helps close the gap between the door and the frame - creating a tighter seal.

Continuous hinges are generally available in five standard lengths: 79, 83, 85, 95, and 119 inches, and can be cut to the exact length needed during the installation process (varies by manufacturer). With the frequent use of electronic locks today, continuous hinges can also be modified for concealed electric through-wires, exposed electric switches, and electric power transfers.

Though continuous hinges are not as commonly used as their standard counterpart, they are a financially smart hardware solution. They are durable, long-lasting and solid, which allows for an extended life for the total door opening.

Following are some of Hager’s continuous hinge products:

500 Series - Light Duty

750 Series - Concealed Leaf

780 Series - Concealed Leaf

780 Series - Full Surface

780 Series - Half Surface

1200 Series - Extra Heavy Duty

More Info:

Frontline Defense

The construction of the door and frame is an important factor when determining an opening’s vulnerability to attack. Most doors are very vulnerable to forced entry, even when they are equipped with auxiliary locks like deadbolts.

Historically felons have found easy access to property by merely using a pry bar or similar device to pop open doors to gain access. To create the greatest possible deterrent against this type of entry, Frontline created the full door latch protector.

Designed for both out-swing and in-swing doors, the system is offered in both aluminum and steel material and available in several standard colors, and can be custom ordered to fit any size and color required.

Installation hardware is included with all orders and custom latch protectors are also available.

More Info:

Trimco Lock Guards

Trimco's 1082 Series Lock Guards protect all 2-3/4" backset cylindrical locks from vandalism and forced entry. They can also be custom fit to many alarm or security locksets. The 1082 Series are made of 1/8" thick stainless steel, are non-handed for cylindrical locks, and require no extra drilling for through bolts, ideal for retrofit or new construction. Higher security is available with 1082-6 SP utilizing two additional 1/4-20 studs near door edge.

Trimco 1074 Series Barn & Pocket Door Latchsets deliver a unique solution for sliding door applications. With 10 modern lever styles available, the 1074 Series is ideal for offices and multi-family projects where high design is important. These latchsets are offered with either tubular or mortise locks for medium to high use situations. The 1074 Series is ADA compliant for use in public facilities.

Trimco's FG Series of frame guards allows protection from wheeled equipment hitting and damaging door frames. Equipment such as wheelchairs, gurneys, heavy food carts and hospital beds will be deflected from hitting the door frame by the built-in roller.

This product is manufactured in the USA from stainless steel and available in 3 standard sizes: 24", 36" and 42".

• Roller feature deflects wheeled equipment from damaging door frames.

• Manufactured in USA from stainless steel for maximum durability in abusive situations.

• Standard sizes: 24", 36" & 42". Custom sizes available.

• Mounts to either wood or metal frames.

Unlike conventional doorstops today, the Fantom Premium Doorstop does not pose a trip hazard due to its innovative flush finish and non-protruding pin. The Fantom Premium Doorstop also has a concealed finish, with the strike fitted underneath the door, there is no unsightly hardware on display. The Fantom Premium Doorstop is innovative, cost effective, and suitable for many commercial and residential applications. It is suitable for single and double leaf doors.

The Fire Fantom Doorstop provides a concealed, trip hazard free doorstop solution for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The flush mounted pin alleviates trip hazards. When used on a door with a closer to meet fire rating specifications, the Fantom Fire Door Stop has a specially designed face-mounted magnet housing which stops the door without holding it open.

More Info:

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.