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Getting the Most Out of Doors and Hardware


Doors and hardware can be tricky to get right. Here's how to determine what you need and how to get the most out of your doors and hardware.

The road to properly functioning doors and hardware starts with selecting products, and product selection begins with the original specification process, says Rick Calhoun, president, Walters & Wolf Interiors, a specialty subcontractor that handles doors, frames, and hardware. Before the first door is hung, there should be a clear, detailed specification of what kind of door the opening needs, what hardware should go on that door, and what other elements — such as thresholds — need to be factored into the specs for the door.

"A lot of door openings can have 10 to 20 different manufacturers on that opening," Calhoun says, so general specifications are generally of little help. In fact, when he and his team receive specifications from a facility manager or an architect that are lacking in detail, they'll make recommendations based on planned use.

"All of that has to be done way up front before your carpenters show up on site, so that it's coordinated, everybody's on the same page; then the job runs much smoother," he says.

ANSI/BHMA standards for doors and hardware play a role, as well. Generally, commercial buildings won't have any hardware below Grade 1. But the key thing to remember about the standards is they are minimum standards that cover a very wide range of products. So a closer that's rated Grade 1, as an example, isn't going to automatically work in any application, says Mark Lineberger, vice president, Valley Doors and Hardware.

"Product A and Product B are rated similarly, but if Product B really isn't the right product, then it kind of doesn't matter," Lineberger says. "Yeah, it's durable, but it's not going to hold up because you've used it incorrectly."

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