With all other ironmongery, selecting fit-or-purpose door controls is important to ensure the intended application, safety, and usability of doors. Among many different types of door closing devices, selecting the appropriate solution at times is a challenge but a basic understanding of different applications and their limitations can make the selection process less daunting.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF DOOR CONTROLS
Door controls are broadly classified into four types as below,
- Overhead Door Closers
- Floor Springs
- Transom Closers
- Concealed or Integrated Door Closers
- Automatic Swing Drives
OVERHEAD DOOR CLOSERS
Overhead door closers are surface mounted closers, mounted either on the frame or the door surface depending on the application. Ideal for single action, single or double doors, these include door closers with Standard or Link arm and surface mounted closers with the guide rail. While standard arms or link arms are great at effectively transferring force onto the door with wider and heavier doors, guide rails provide less obtrusive means for more aesthetic applications. There are door closers bodies that can be used with both standard arms and guide rails however, it is important to keep in mind that when a guide rail is used, the power of the door closer in application is reduced. Surface-mounted closers, especially those with guide rails can also be used on hinges, toughened glass door. For this application, a special accessory called a saddle plate is used.
FLOOR SPRINGS or FLOOR HINGES
Usually a more commercial application, floor springs can be used with glass, metal or timber doors and are floor-mounted, embedded into the floor. These can be used on double action doors as well as single action doors with offset mounting. The mounting process requires floor preparation hence its always better to plan for floor springs in advance. Retrofitting or modifications of existing doors to accommodate floor springs is possible however requires specialised work to prepare the floor to enable the body of the unit to be installed flush with the surface. Door mounting accessories required for use with floor springs depends on the material of the door where Glass patch fittings are used with toughened glass doors and Top Centres and Bottom straps are used on timber and metal doors.
Transom closers are mainly used in double-action doors in commercial environments where the use of a floor spring may not be appropriate, for example, passageways in hospitals that are frequently washed and mopped or in areas where floor preparation is not possible. The closer body is concealed into the top frame of the door hence ideal frames for use with transom closers are commercial aluminium frames and metal frames. While they may be used with timber frames, the extent of preparation and complications in installation may not be worth the trouble. Usable with glass, timber and metal doors, transom closers can be easily understood as inverted floor spring with similar fixing accessories, operating similarly.
Concealed or Integrated Door closers
Due to their concealed installation, Integrated or Concealed door closers are a great ally of architects and designers who prefer clean lines. The body of the closer is mortised into the door leaf and the guide rail is concealed within the top frame of the door, disappearing completely, making them one of the most sort-after door control solutions for hotel guest room doors, apartment main entry doors and any other application where it is important to have undisturbed continuation of detailing all around the door. One of our favourite applications of concealed door closers is to use them on timber or metal doors, hung with TECTUS® Fully concealed Hinges where all hardware of the door completely disappears to provide seamless integration of the door to its surroundings.
Automatic Swing Drives
Surface-mounted Automatic Swing Door drives work pretty much in the same way as overhead door closers and depending on the drive and the application, have similar types of installation, either on the frame or the door. Automatic swing drives are a great component to enhance barrier-free access and can be installed either with the standard arm or the guide rail to suit the design intent. Most swing door drives are Electro-mechanical, meaning the door is opened by the motor within and closed due to the tensioned spring mechanism. Three basic types of Swing door operators include Full Energy where the operator works with its configured force during the opening and closing cycle of the door, Low energy, where the door opens and closes with reduced speed and energy to avoid any harm or injuries to people and property and Power Assist where instead of opening the door, the operator assists a user to open the door by reducing the force required. The closing function of Power Assist operators is configured to have reduced speed and force.
Another application that is seen in commercial hardware schedules is the powered floor operator, which can be explained as a floor spring with a motor, with similar door accessories. Under-floor, operators are used in applications where the use of surface mounted or integrated closers are not possible due to reasons such as aesthetics and door design.