Exit devices are usually required by building and/or fire code to meet safety and security requirements of commercial or government facilities. Frequently referred to as “crash bars”, exit devices have a push pad or cross bar on the inside with a latch at the edge of the door, or latch at the top and bottom of the door, there may or may not be trim (levers, pull handle, key cylinder) on the outside of the door. When the door closes, the exit device latches the door (unless dogged down for free passage) and pushing the inside pad or bar always unlatches the door.
Exit devices generally come in 2 basic ratings, "Life Safety” or “Fire Rated.” Fire rated devices are listed by UL and designed so the door will latch every time the door closes (there is no dogging option for them) so that fire cannot pass through the door. Doors that do not require fire rated devices, but still require an exit device, are required to have “Life Safety” devices listed by UL to ensure free exit through the door. Life safety rated devices can have a “dogging” option (by Allen wrench or key) that locks the pad or bar down allowing free entry of the door.
Exit devices, besides being listed for different uses, come in a variety of configurations, Rim (surface mount), Mortise (exit device and mortise lock cassette), Surface Vertical Rod (rods on the surface of the door locking top and bottom), Concealed Vertical Rod (rods inside the door locking top and bottom).
We offer sales, installation, and service/repair of exit devices.
Choose from exit devices, door closers and more
Mortise locks are probably the best design for a door lock. They have a cassette body that inserts into the edge of the door with about a 8” tall face on the edge of the door. The key cylinder would be above the handle. Both latch and deadbolt functions can be in the same unit. They come in all sorts of functions (Storeroom, Classroom, Entry, Office, Privacy, Passage, Communicating, etc.) and are very versatile.
Mortise locks require special preparation of the door and work well with wood or hollow metal (commercial grade) doors, but not with residential thin metal doors. It’s always best to have the door manufacture prepare the door for the lock, then the door will have to be prepared on site for the specific trim (levers, plates, key cylinder, etc.).
We offer sales, installation, and service/repair of mortise locks.
Leversets are a product of the American with Disabilities Act (known as the ADA). Lock manufactures were offering leversets for those areas where they might be needed by the occupants or users of a building who might be handicapped. Then the ADA was passed and lever handles were required on nearly all doors of a building. The industry rushed to fill the need and early on there were products that didn’t last.
The biggest weakness in a leverset is the long handle that amplifies the force used on the handle. So with everyday use, locks were breaking inside, or the handles breaking off, etc. The design has since improved and there are a number of reliable models available, however, you should be cautious of in-expensive “import” ones.
There are 2 innovations that have really improved leversets. First is the “spring cage”, in addition to the normal springs in the lock (designed for knobsets) is an additional heavy spring on each side of the door. The spring cages are designed to take the heavier forces applied by a lever. Second is “clutching”, when the leverset is locked, the locked lever will still rotate, but is disconnected (or clutch) from the lock mechanism, preventing it from withdrawing the latch. Clutching also protects against forced entry, locks without clutching can fail with enough force and possibly withdraw the latch.
While leversets are a help to those who are handicapped, they also weaken the security of a facility. The security can be maintained with special weatherstripping, or only using leversets on interior doors or in conjunction with an alarm system.
There is a wide range of product available today for a variety of situations. Weatherstrip isn’t just to keep the heat in, it also keeps out –heat, smoke, fire, noise, water, rattlesnakes, bio-hazards, and hurricanes.
Each exterior door could be specified to have: threshold, automatic door bottom, perimeter gasketing, drip strips, and other items.
For perimeter gasketing, we recommend the brush type, it’s much more durable and efficient than the traditional vinyl “bulb” type that can have large sections pulled out if it gets caught on something.
Thresholds can include a special thermal break for cold environments, cold storage facility, or lab. Thresholds can also be coated with non-slip surface. Thresholds can have special shapes to prevent water penetration, or for carpet/flooring dividers.
Flat goods covers a variety of items such as:
Kick plates- protects the door bottoms from damage.
Push plates- a plate to protect the door from people using their hands to push through the door.
Pull plates- push plate with a pull handle for pulling the door open.
Push bars- a bar across the door or on the edge of the door to use to push through the door.
Pull handles- a pull handle for pulling the door open.
Door stops- mounted on the floor or wall to provide a positive stop point for the door and protects door closers from excessive force.
Flush or surface bolts- flush bolts are on the edge of the door and usually mounted top and bottom to secure the “inactive” door of a pair of doors. Surface bolt is mounted on the surface of the door for similar purpose.
Latch guards- protects the locks from direct attacks on the latch holding the door closed.
And much more!
Door operators used to be the big heavy powerful units that opened doors at grocery stores. Since the Americans with Disability Act (known as the ADA) went into effect, they are in many more facilities than before. The old grocery store units were “high energy” (they opened fast, with lots of power, and were dangerous) and required safety rails, floor mat sensors etc.
Today’s “low energy” units have come a long way. The Dorma line that we sell, has many innovations. They are required to open slower (no faster than 5 seconds), can be used un-powered like a standard door closer, and are computer controlled. The computer senses where the door is in the cycle, and if an obstruction (or person) is encountered, will either stop opening, or stop closing and neutralize the spring in the closer to prevent trapping a person. Additionally, these units can be used with access control systems, telephone intercoms, or remote release to allow use of the operator after a valid entry is triggered.
Today there are many choices for decorative hardware. Baldwin is one of the premier brands with lots of choices and priced on the higher end. For a good product at a moderate price we use Emtek. Decorative hardware that is done on the cheap isn’t worth it, and your money would be better spent on better quality basic hardware.
A door closer is the mechanical device that closes a door after it’s been opened. They may be required by fire code to keep fire doors closed. Any door with an exit device should have one, to keep the door flying opened uncontrolled. Exterior doors should also have door closers to control the door from slamming or opening uncontrolled due to wind and/or HVAC.
As with most hardware, door closers come in a variety of “duty” sizes, light, medium and heavy duty. The heavier the traffic or wind/weather conditions, the heavier the closer should be. We have found that here in the NW, there should be no compromise in exterior door closers, they should be the heaviest.
Unless the door closer is controlling the door, there is little point to having one. We have frequently found that door closers aren’t properly adjusted. There are some basic adjustments (the heavier the closer, the more adjustments it has).
a) Spring size. This adjustment determines how much “power” the closer has. Due to the ADA (American with Disabilities Act), the power a closer can have is limited and low. The more power the closer has, the more strength it has to close against the wind, HVAC, etc. Frequently we can size a close to latch the door without slamming.
b) Sweep speed. This is the speed which the door closes from fully open to just about 10-15o from the fully closed position. We like to adjust this speed slower for applications where the elderly, many people, or people with full arms carrying loads, will be using this door.
c) Latch speed. This is the last 10-15o of closing. Usually this adjustment is set at a faster speed to assist with latching the door or overcoming weatherstrip. This speed should never slam the door though. Slamming a door can cause damage to the door, locks (frequent cause of failures), door frame, and even the wall or adjacent windows. Not to mention that slamming doors are annoying.
d) Back check. To protect the wall, hinges, door frames, etc. some closers have a back check adjustment. During the opening of a door, after a certain point the door closer provides resistance. The amount of resistance is adjustable, and sometimes the location where it starts.
Our locksmiths try to always inform the customer of any door closer problem (or door problem for that matter) observed while on the job site, even if that was not the reason for the service call. We can adjust any door closer for you or let you know if it’s not possible due to a limitation or failure of the door closer. Some important signs to look for are, slamming, non-closing, making grinding sounds, or leaking fluid.
We offer sales, installation, and service/repair of door closers.