This morning a customer asked about using continuous hinges to change the hand of a pair of rated doors (inswing to outswing), in an equal rabbet frame. I couldn’t think of any objections – the existing hinge preps would be filled with steel fillers in compliance with NFPA 80. The continuous hinges wouldn’t require a hole greater than the maximum 1″ diameter allowed by NFPA 80. I checked with Steelcraft to see if our frames need to be reinforced for continuous hinges when used in a rated application, and the answer was no. So…although the AHJ always has the final say in the matter, I can’t think of one reason you can’t do this as long as it is an equal rabbet frame.
Here’s the text from NFPA 80 – 2007 and 2010 regarding job-site preparation:
220.127.116.11 For job site preparation of surface-applied hardware, function holes for mortise locks, and holes for labeled viewers, a maximum 3⁄4 in. (19 mm) wood and composite door undercutting, and protection plates (see 6.4.5) shall be permitted.
18.104.22.168 Surface-applied hardware shall be applied to the door or frame without removing material other than drilling round holes to accommodate cylinders, spindles, similar operational elements, and through-bolts in doors.
22.214.171.124 The holes described in 126.96.36.199 shall not be permitted to exceed a diameter of 1 in. (25.4 mm) with the exception of cylinders.