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By Thomas A. Westerkamp
Doors & Hardware Article Use Policy
Few components in institutional and commercial facilities have to measure up to expectations that are as high as those for door hardware. First, many of these components have to withstand nearly constant use — and abuse, in some cases. Second, they must contribute to a facility's efforts to provide safety and security for occupants and visitors.
To ensure that door-hardware components — including locks, hinges, closers, and exit devices — meet these expectations, maintenance and engineering managers need to understand the performance characteristics of traditional and new-generation door hardware. They also need to provide training for technicians responsible for inspecting and maintaining them.
Mortise locks feature a rectangular housing with a latchbolt and deadbolt. For installation, they require a rectangular opening mortised into the door's edge. Technicians must install these locks from the edge of the door, and for repair or replacement, they can remove them only from that direction. These locks are secure and require little maintenance, so managers tend to specify them in exterior or entry doors.
Technicians can install bored locks through a hole in the door's face. A smaller hole in the door's edge accommodates the latchbolt. To simplify the process of locating a hole, technicians can use a template that comes with the assembly instructions.
Managers can specify the electromechanical versions of mortise and bored locks when they need to close or open all locks from a central point. A user can open this type of lock with a key or operate it electronically from a remote location, such as a security guard's station.
Door closers automatically return a door to a latched position after a user opens it manually. Closers are either two-speed hydraulic or pneumatic devices that use a rapid-closing action to slow the door about 6 inches from the closed position.
If technicians check a closer's action periodically, the component generally requires little maintenance. To ensure the door closes completely but does not strike the stop too hard, a technician should check the closing action at least twice a year and more often for high-traffic areas. The technician can adjust the action by turning a screw on the body of the closer to make the action slower or faster.
Exit devices are bar-type attachments that connect to the interior of the door and the latch that opens the door when a user applies pressure to the latch. This action allows for hands-free operation.
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