Since it’s invention in the late 1880s the humble door closer has come on leaps and bounds with plenty the introduction of concealed in door, in frame and in-floor options. And while door closers have evolved over the years their purpose remains the same which is, in essence, to close a door for security, fire protection and access control reasons. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how to choose the right door closer for your building based on common considerations.
As a building manager or specifier, one of the first considerations is the amount of traffic that will be using the door. In the UK in order for door closers to be compliant with BS EN 1154 they must be certified for 500,000 test cycles. This means overhead door closers are suitable for medium to heavy traffic locations and thanks to their durability they are an excellent choice for both interior and exterior doors.
In the UK there are two types of door closers, those that are suitable for use on fire/smoke door assemblies and those that are not. For building regulation compliance door closers need to be fitted to all fire doors in order to help ensure that buildings are correctly zoned and that fire escape routes are safe. Fire doors help to ensure that if a fire breaks out in one part of a building that it is stopped from passing to other zones and that occupants of the building are able to safely escape.
At its most basic level, a door closer can help to keep a building more secure by ensuring that doors are properly closed and not left open. Their applications are wide-ranging from schools and offices to banks and commercial properties. In fact, a door closer is an effective way to improve security for all types of buildings.
Internal or exterior door
Another consideration is the location of the door. Internal doors will not need any corrosion resistance while door closers that will be used on external doors which are subjected to the weather will need moderate to very high resistance to corrosion. As well as the location of the door the type of door will have a big impact on your choice of door closer as for a glass door you will want to use a floor-spring closer which is concealed.
Types of door closers
Once you’ve worked out your needs based on traffic, fire protection, security, location and type of door you can now choose the best door closer for your needs. There are a few main types of door closers which break down as follows:
Overhead door closers
These are the most common type of door closers and are widely used in commercial properties, schools, offices, hotels and all types of public building. Within this category, there are three main types of overhead door closers which include:
Regular arm – Also known as a standard arm closer, the regular arm overhead closer is located on the pull side of the door (normally the exterior side). When closed the arm projects out perpendicularly from the door and this is the most power-efficient option.
Top jamb – Like the regular arm top jamb door closers arms project perpendicularly but the spring-loaded box is mounted on the face of the doorframe rather than the door. These are normally chosen for aluminium or glass storefront doors which have narrow top rails with no room for a regular arm door closer.
Parallel arm – This is the most aesthetically pleasing option as the parallel arms sit on top of the door when it is closed. Unlike the previous options, the parallel arm’s spring-loaded box sits at the top of the push side of the door which makes it popular for exterior applications where improved security is key.
As well as overhead door closers there are also a number of other types of door closers which may be specified depending on the type of door and aesthetic reasons. These are roughly broken down as below:
Concealed – This is a great option for hiding the door closer and keeping the aesthetic beauty of your doors. Concealed door closers are best suited to internal doors that are lightweight, and these closers are available in spring-loaded or hydraulic versions.
Surface-mounted – Surface-mounted door closers offer a cost-effective option with a bar fitted to the backside of the door which can be colour matched to the door. These are not totally concealed but there are no protruding arms to detract from the style of the door.
Floor-spring – When working with glass doors then floor-spring door closers are the option of choice. They are mounted in the floor and are completely concealed from view with the closing bar located on the underside of the door.