A Complete Guide To Selecting The Right Door Closer

Posted on: 08.06.2022
Categories: DCD News
Briton guide rail overhead door closer on a timber door

It is important to choose the right door closer for fire rated doors and non-fire doors but there is a myriad of choice out there, so actually pinpointing the right one for your requirements isn't always straightforward.

We have put together a short guide on the key considerations when selecting a door closer but building regulations should always be adhered to when installing door hardware, so check you’re fitting the right product for both user safety, compliance, and functionality.

Consider The Door

Is it an internal or an external door? External doors will often require a door closer to control the door for ease of use and ensure it closes fully for security and environmental reasons as they are often not fire rated. 

Is it inward or outward opening? For inward and outward opening doors, some closers can be model specific rather than universal fitting, and angle brackets can sometimes be required.

The height and width of a door leaf also need to be considered as taller or wider doors will need a larger power size closer, or an adjustable door closer with a top EN power of 5, 6, or 7, like the ARRONE AR6509B EN 2-5.

The weight of the door does not always depend on the overall dimensions of the door leaf. It can be dependent on the core material, any cladding, plus the weight of the ironmongery. Heavy doors, as with tall or wide doors, will also require a higher power size door closer to provide the strength required to fully close the door.

For aesthetics or operational reasons such as doors opening tight against walls, you may need to consider a concealed door closer rather than an overhead rack and pinion or slide arm door closer.

Fire rating is one other major consideration when selecting the right door closer for the right application. Always check that a door closer has been through the relevant fire tests and is CE marked for use on the correct fire rating of door – FD30, FD60, or FD120 for timber doors.

Where Is The Door?

Location, location, location. Once you’ve established the door detail, next examine where the door is located.

Doors opening close to a wall may need to have a transom closer, concealed closer or floor spring installed if there is not sufficient space for a scissor arm closer. An overhead door closer could also be installed on the push face of the door.

As we’ve mentioned, external doors will also have a different requirement of door closer than an internal door to ensure optimal performance.

Depending on the door’s location, the amount of use it gets can be dramatically different. In the next section we’ll look at door traffic.

Door Traffic

The volume, type, and frequency of traffic through a door needs to be given due consideration when selecting the right model of door closer.

Traffic type is split into three levels as per the chart below:

Usage Category Cycles Per Year
Low Up to 10,000 cycles per year
Medium 10,000 - 100,000 cycles per year
High 100,000 - 500,000 cycles per year

Facilities such as hospitals, schools, and shopping centres would all be considered to be high volume usage for a number of doors. Certain areas such as corridors would benefit from having hold open door closers fitted to allow traffic to flow freely during busy times. 

In addition to the volume of traffic you will need to consider the needs of the users; for example the elderly and less able people may need delayed action function to allow them time to pass through the door, or consider fitting automatic door operators

The frequency of use is a factor to look at as a door may be used infrequently for certain periods, then have spikes of high traffic use. In these instances, it is best to install a robust, durable door closer rather than a lower-powered unit so the closer will have sufficient power and functionality to cope with the most strenuous periods of use.

Door Closer Force

The larger and heavier the door the more force will be required to close it fully into the frame against any latch or lock fitted.

This chart shows the typical maximum adjusted door weight that a door closer power size is suitable for.

Power Size Max Door Weight Max Door Width
1 20kg 750mm
2 40kg 850mm
3 60kg 950mm
4 80kg 1100mm
5 100kg 1250mm
6 120kg 1400mm

Always check manufacturer and model specific technical information and test evidence as maximum door weights can vary across different brands.

Often the door closers have adjustable strengths to cater for the size and weight of various types of doors.

In a smaller room you may require additional force to overcome air pressure. You may also require a higher power size and a closer with latching action for an external door to help reduce slamming.

Fire Doors must have a minimum power size EN3 to conform to BS EN1154 standard.

How To Mount A Door Closer

Surface Mounted Overhead door closers are most commonly used and are available in a variety of types, including:

Concealed door closers are aesthetically pleasing as they are not visible when the door is closed. They are installed and hidden from view either in the door jamb, the door itself or the transom. (Perko Powermatic, Dorma RTS85, GEZE Boxer)

Concealed closers are typically installed on lighter, internal doors but models such as the Dormakaba ITS96EMF are suitable for leaf widths up to 1100mm, with a 130kg adjusted door weight.

Floor Springs are the most durable and long-lasting option for a self-closing device. They are ideal when aesthetics are a key factor on a project as they are much less visible than overhead closers.

Floor springs offer a variety of functions, similar to overhead door closers and they are the perfect choice for heavy doors or areas with high to extreme traffic. (Dorma BTS75V, Dorma BTS80EMB, GEZE TS550E)

Do Fire Doors Need Closers?

Door closers are an important link in the control of fire and smoke:

  • Door closers that are marked CE show that the product is fit for purpose and meets all of the legal fire safety requirements.
  • They must be fitted correctly and well maintained.
  • They should not include a mechanical hold-open device. If hold open function is required, then you will need to fit an electromagnetic door closer which is to be connected to the building’s fire alarm system.

Fire rated doors can have electromagnetic door closers installed so that the doors will automatically close when the fire alarm is triggered. Products like the wire-free Dorgard door retainer will also hold a fire door open and automatically release when the fire alarm sounds. This can be installed to work in conjunction with a standard overhead door closer.

Fire doors can be kept locked shut so these doors, such as store rooms or utility areas, would not need any type of controlled door closer fitted.

If you’d like to read more on this, head over to one of our other blogs – Why You Need A Door Closer.

Door Closer Functions

Delayed Action

This option allows the door to remain open for a specified period of time.

Delayed action function slows the speed of closing in the upper end of the closing cycle. Models like the Dormakaba TS83BCDC has delayed action between 180 and 70 degrees.

With delayed action, the door closes at an adjustable speed which allows safe passage for wheelchair users or the movement of bulky items.

What Is Backcheck On A Door Closer?

This feature prevents the door being suddenly thrown open either by people or the wind which can prevent damage to the door, the frame, door hardware and property. When excessive force is used to open a door, backcheck function dampens the opening action with equal resistance. 

Most overhead door closers come complete with backcheck, which can be fixed, or adjustable as with the Dormakaba TS72VBC.

Door Closer Speed Adjustment

Having an adjustable closing speed determines how quickly the door closes after being opened. This feature allows a longer closing time to enable slower-moving foot traffic to pass through safely.

Door closers with an adjustable latching speed allow adjustment of the closing speed over the final few degrees of closing.  This is separate to the main closing speed adjustment.  They can be set to either speed up or slow down for these final few degrees.

There are plenty of things to consider when you are choosing which type of door closer is appropriate for your particular and unique situation.  If in any doubt as to what you require, give us a call on 01305 263300 or drop us an email - [email protected]
Author: Door Controls Direct Posted by: Door Controls Direct

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