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Jun 09 2016

WWYD? Concealed Closer for Heavy Door

Category: Door Closers,Fire Doors,WWYD?Lori @ 1:31 am Comments (26)
Tall Doors

Before you say anything…no – these are not the doors I’m asking about. These are just some tall wood doors, and yes – I realize that they have 5 pairs of hinges (not 4) and that’s probably not a mortise lock. I just like to include a photo to liven up the blog post. If you have a photo of a pair of doors that more closely resembles the pair in this post, send it along.

This is a real-life problem on a current project and I know someone out there has a good answer.  Here is a description of the doors:

  • new wood doors
  • 90-minute rated
  • each leaf 3′-0″ wide x 8′-9″ high
  • 2 7/8 inches thick
  • weight of each leaf approximately 350 pounds
  • STC – 35 (sound door)
  • hung on ball bearing hinges (4/leaf)
  • equipped with a mortise lock and automatic flush bolts

The architect would like concealed closers.  The doors are not required to meet the 5-pound force requirement of the accessibility standards because they are fire doors, but they must meet the requirements of the IBC:  15 pounds to release the latch, 30 pounds to set the door in motion, and 15 pounds to open the door to the fully-open position.

Which closer would you use, considering the criteria above?  WWYD?

26 Responses to “WWYD? Concealed Closer for Heavy Door”

  1. bruce young says:

    first I would give all of the reasons why you should not use the concealed closer. But then, if the frame can accommodate it, I would use and have used LCN 5010 (4010 body with exposed arm concealed in head)

  2. bruce young says:

    forgot – you must use the exposed rocker arm coordinator Ives 469 (?)

  3. Roger Piane says:

    Door is to heavy for concealed closer in head my opinion. Needs to be a Rixon HD floor closer and pivots. 16 gage HMF in a stud wall doors will sag. Need to get the load off the jamb legs.

    • Lori says:

      I would prefer a floor closer too but it conflicts with the door bottom.

      – Lori

      • Leo says:


        Since you have a 2-7/8 inch thick door, if you use an offset hung floor concealed closer like the Rixson 27 you should be able to install the door bottom on the inner part of the door and the arm of the closer would be on the outer part of the door.

  4. Mojo says:

    Floor closers, intermediate pivots, and top pivots are the best solution.

  5. Eric says:

    I’m a little surprised at hinges being specified. IMO, pivots would definitely be a better choice considering the size and weight of the doors.

    • MartinB (aka lauxmyth) says:

      If the frame is up to it, I see no problem with hinges correctly specified. In this case 4 of the thick Grade 1 hinges 5 inches high seems good. In all this, nothing has been said about duty cycles. If this door is opened every 5 minutes 24/7 — which I doubt — even pivots will wear fast. If it has one to 10 openings per day 5 days per week, then hinges will do fine. Once needing replacement, hinges win in that a single person can replace them safely.

      I have no insight on the closer issue as asked.

  6. Wolfe says:

    An overhead concealed bottom loaded automatic operator with power assist function. Custom arm mortised into top of door. Can also accommodate ADA if required.

  7. curtis meskus says:

    big bungy cord and some screw eyes

  8. Lori says:

    That wasn’t mentioned but it would definitely factor into the closer selection.

    – Lori

  9. Pete Schifferli says:

    Concealed closers for this application should not have been an afterthought. Any retrofit attempts will be costly and unsatisfactory IMHO. Parallel arm or top jamb mounted closers would not be visible from the pull side if appearance is the major concern.

  10. Khozema Kazi, AHC, FDAI says:

    5010 closer and ZERO # Z950 Cam Lift Hinges. This will give better site STC performance and no interference with other hardware/gasketing.

    • Mark says:

      There’s no way any concealed overhead closer will function with cam lift hinges, especially with a track style arm.

      • Lori says:

        Hi Mark –

        Since the 5010 uses a regular arm, there is enough play in the arm to accommodate vertical lift up to 3/4″. The track closers will not work but the 5010 will.

        – Lori

  11. T.J. Gottwalt says:

    Floor closer with pivots is best method for doors of this size and weight.

  12. Kyle Learch says:

    Why not change the hinges to pivots, put concealed closers in the top and floor closer in the bottom. Use the hydrolics from one set of closers and have double the spring power to power the door closed. I’m not a spec writer so feel free to tell me I’m crazy

  13. Raymond Holman, AHC says:

    So many questions. Why are the doors 2 7/8″ thick? Under normal circumstances you don’t need that thickness to get the STC rating but they are 90 minute so….. It’s a fairly low rating and you sure don’t need that thickness to get to STC-35 if you’re putting laminated wood veneer over a hollow metal sound door. If it’s decorative material applied to the door it might void the fire rating. At 350 pounds I’d sure use continuous hinges, not butt hinges. The added advantage is that there is no conflict with door bottoms like pivots would have. As far as opening force is concerned, does anyone know of a simple table showing opening force based on size and weight assuming equal air pressure on both sides on the door? I would love to use a floor closer but even face mounted ones mount low enough to interfere with an auto door bottom, though you don’t say what type of bottom seal is being used. I’m thinking overhead concealed like the 5010. Where the 5010 sits in the frame will make it easier to sound insulate around it.

  14. Khozema Kazi, AHC, FDAI says:

    Mark: Z950 cam lift hinges was tested with 4041 and it does not bind. If the door opens 100deg, the lift is abt 5/32inch. 5010 is not a track arm. Thus it should work, unless you think of something else that may interfere and which I have missed.

    • Lori says:

      Khozema – you are right. I checked with LCN Tech Support, and cam lift hinges up to 3/4″ can be used on a door with the 5010 series closer. The regular arm has some play in it, which will accommodate the vertical movement of the door.

      – Lori

    • Mark says:

      Ok, so IF you have 3-5/8″ clear space in the head, you can do the 5010. As concealed closers go, that’s going to be your best bet. However, with a coordinator, automatic door bottoms, a huge amount of mass and area, I’m not convinced that this closer will be enough. There are independently hung floor closers that can be set up to miss a concealed automatic door bottom, and have the power needed to be sure the opening functions. This is one of those situations you only get one shot at, so I would most definitely bring out the heavy artillery on the first run rather than hope a closer that I intuitively don’t think will work. (Intuition based on personal experience, btw).

      • Lori says:

        I agree – an overhead concealed closer definitely wouldn’t be my first choice. Thanks for sharing your insight.

        – Lori

  15. LZW says:

    Hi Lori,
    Would the 5010 that is rated for 250 lbs be warrantied by LCN for a 350 lb door?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Laura –

      I’m not sure what would happen with the warranty, but I could not guarantee that the closer would successfully control/close the door.

      – Lori

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