One problem with wood wedges used to prop open doors is that they tend to disappear.  Here’s a DIY solution:

The bigger problem is that wood wedges used to prop open fire doors prevent the door from doing its job during a fire.  If a fire occurs while this door is held open with the wedge, it will allow the fire and smoke to spread freely.  Fire door assemblies are intended to act as opening protectives – to protect openings in fire partitions, fire barriers, and fire walls – but they are of no value if they are open during a fire.

So what are some other possibilities?  Clearly, there is a need to hold this door open at times, hence the wedge and the means of keeping it nearby.  The door leads from an auditorium stage to a backstage workshop/staging area, so it needs to be held open when props and sets are moved through.  Granted, the other possible solutions are more expensive than a wood wedge, but consider the cost of fire/smoke damage, or fines from the fire marshal.

Here are a few options:

  • Delayed Action Door Closer – If it’s just a matter of holding the door open for a minute, changing the existing closer body to a delayed action closer would be a pretty easy fix.
  • Battery-Operated Holder – The 280 series SensaGuard is a hold-open which can be added to an existing door that already has a closer.  It uses a 9v battery and has an integral smoke detector.  If smoke is detected, or if the battery dies, the holder will release so the door closer can close the door.
  • Magnetic Holder – This would require wiring and a fire alarm connection, which releases the magnetic holder and allows the door to close during a fire.  Because there is a 90-degree wall to mount the holder to, this would be a very l0w-maintenance solution and would not be prone to vandalism or abuse.
  • Closer/Holder Unit – There are closer/holder units available that offer either a single-point hold-open or a multi-point hold-open.  I probably would not use one for this door since it already has a door closer and it has a convenient wall for a magnetic holder, but there are applications where these units are the best option (for back-to-back doors, check out the 4040SEH holder with a Cush closer).

If you see a good application for Fixed-it Friday, send me some photos!

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