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ADA Storefront Door Requirements

ADA Storefront Door Requirements

In this article we explain the requirements of ADA standards in relation to commercial storefront aluminum doors. ADA, or Americans With Disabilities Act, was created to provide equal accessibility for all. The scope of the ADA is huge. Storefront aluminum door requirements falls into chapter 4 of the ADA Standards, "Entrances, Doors, and Gates". Let's explore the requirements of the ADA standards as they pertain to aluminum storefront doors.

60% Of Public Entrances Must Be ADA Accessible

Storefront aluminum doors are the #1 type of commercial door used for retail stores and office buildings which are open to the public. ADA states that in new construction atleast 60% of public entrances must be accessible. A public entrance is considered any entrance, except those that are restricted or used only as a service entrance. Examples of public entrances include entrances to pedestrian walkways and tunnels, parking garages, and other tenant services. Essentially, a storefront aluminum door is the front entrance to a commercial retail store, therefore it would need to be ADA compliant. As a rule of thumb, there should be atleast one accessible doorway for each accessible room or space in a commercial building.

ADA Door Designation

ADA standards section 216.6 requires that the ADA compliant storefront aluminum entrance door is clearly labeled with the International symbol of accessibility label. This identifies the door way as accessible to all pedestrians. If all public entrances are ADA compliant, then this label is not required. However, if there are entrances in the building which are not accessible, under section 216.6, directional signs are required at each inaccessible entrance. The sign must have the international symbol of accessibility and the direction to the nearest accessible entrance.

Communication Systems

If the storefront aluminum door is the main entrance for a multifamily building such as an apartment complex or elderly living facility and there are communication systems at the door, then under ADA standards section 230, these two way communication systems must be equipped with visual and audible signals and compliant as operable parts. These systems must include visual and audible signals for pedestrians with hearing, speech, or visual impairments.

Accessible Route

Under section 206.3 there must be an accessible route to the storefront aluminum door entrance from site arrival points. The accessible route must be located in the same area as general circulation paths. As an example, if a library's main entrance door is a storefront aluminum door, there must be a clear accessible route to this door from the parking lot.

Security Barriers

At some main entrance storefront aluminum type doors, such as in medical facilities like hospitals, there may be security barriers at patient drop off points. Under ADA standards section 206.8, bollards and other security barriers cannot obstruct accessible routes. For example, there should be a clear path from the parking lot to the main entrance, and it should not be impeded by a bollard or obstruction blocking the path.

Storefront Aluminum Door Width Requirements

By section 404.2.3 of the ADA Standards, the clear width is the measurement from the inside of the door frame to the hinge or pivot side of the door. It is essentially, the true door opening width. The clear width must be no less than 32" minimum. In relation to storefront aluminum doors, this calculates out to be that the storefront door must be no less than a 3'-0" or 36" door.

Storefront Aluminum Door Height Requirements

Per section 404.2.3 of the ADA Standards, the minimum door height for a storefront aluminum door is 80". Indicating standard aluminum door heights of 6'-8", 7'-0", and 8'-0" are in compliance.

Storefront Aluminum Door Maneuvering Clearance

Under section 404.2.4 of the ADA Standards, there must be sufficient maneuvering clearance for opening the entrance door and passing through. This is particularly important for pedestrians with aids such as wheelchairs. There must be enough space for the wheelchair to pivot and open the door, then pass through the doorway.

The door clearance around a storefront aluminum entrance door should provide open space without any obstructions, so pedestrians can maneuver.

There should be no obstructions or protrusions for the full height of the door. There should also be no changes in levels ie; the floor should be level. For example, there should not be a light fixture or a sign that projects out past the building that is within the height of the door (yellow area in illustration above). These protrusions should be located else where on the building out of the "yellow area".

In some scenarios such as auto car dealerships, storefront aluminum doors are used as office interior doors. In situations, where the doors are in close proximity to each other, maneuvering clearances may overlap. For one direction door ways, maneuvering clearances are required on both sides of the doors.

It is not uncommon for storefront doors to be recessed into the building. In these situations, maneuvering clearance may be measured from the wall, as long as the wall does not project past a maximum of 8 inches from the face of the door.

In many buildings the wall or other building elements like structural columns may be near the door. If these or any other obstruction are within 18 inches of the latch side of the door and project past 8" from the face of the door then a forward approach clearance would be required.

Storefront Aluminum Door Thresholds

Many storefront doors use thresholds. In fact, as a manufacturer of storefront doors, we recommend them, as they help keep debris out of the building. Under section 404.2.5 of the ADA standards, the height of the threshold in new construction cannot exceed 1/2". Also, the edge of the door threshold must be beveled 1:2 maximum above the height of 1/4". This is it insure that the threshold is not an obstruction to pedestrians passing through the door way, especially if they use an aid such as a cane, wheelchair, or walker.

The 1:2 ratio and the beveled edge of the threshold provides a smooth transition through the door way for all pedestrians.

Storefront Aluminum Door Vestibules

A storefront door vestibule is when two storefront doors are in series. There is an outside storefront entrance door followed immediately by an interior storefront door. The space between the two storefront doors is known as the vestibule. Storefront door vestibules are very popular because they are a great way to maintain the building's heat in the winter and coolness in the summer. As a pedestrian opens the outside door and enters into the vestibule the outside air rushes into the vestibule, but does not enter the main foyer of the building since it is blocked by interior entrance vestibule door. By the time the pedestrian opens the interior vestibule door leading to the main foyer, the outside vestibule is completely closed, so there is not a continuous flow of outside air into the main building.

Under section 404.2.6 of the ADA standards, the vestibule space, or space between the two doors, must be atleast 48 inches plus the width of the door swinging into the space. This allows pedestrians the ability to pass through one door before opening the next.

Storefront Aluminum Door Offset Pull Handle and Push Bar

The industry standard for a commercial aluminum storefront door is an offset pull handle on the outside and a push bar on the inside. Under section 404.2.7 of the ADA standards, it states that the hardware on the storefront door must be on hand operation, require no twisting of the wrist, operate within 5lb of force max, and be located at 34" to 48" above the floor. The offset pull handle and push bar should be able to be used with a closed fist or loose grip. There should be atleast 1-1/2" of minimum clearance so that the knuckles of the hand will clear when gripping the handle.

Storefront Aluminum Door Opening Force

Section 404.2.9 of the ADA Standards requires that interior accessible aluminum doors require a 5lb maximum opening force. This refers to the continuous application of force needed to fully open the door. It should not be confused with the initial force needed to overcome the door's seal from unequal air pressure. Door pressure gauges can be used to test and measure the opening force. An example of an interior aluminum storefront door would be an office door.

The ADA standards does not list a maximum opening force for exterior storefront doors, however it is an industry standard that ADA exterior doors do not exceed 8.5lb of opening force. Please consult local building codes or qualifying jurisdictions in your area for exterior door opening force requirements.

For these reasons it is imperative that only ADA compliant door closers or ADA powered door operators are used on storefront aluminum doors. Non-compliant door closers and operators will not allow for the proper opening force requirements set forth by ADA. The opening force is a requirement because pedestrians with aids such as wheelchairs need to be able to open the door. If a non ADA compliant door closer is installed on the storefront door, the opening force is too great, and the pedestrian would not be able to open the door by hand.

Storefront Aluminum Door Bottom Rail

Section 404.2.10 states that the bottom surface of the push side of the door must be smooth to the height of atleast 10" from the floor. In relation to storefront aluminum doors, this means that from the top of the aluminum door bottom rail to the finished floor, must measure atleast 10 inches. The reason this is a requirement is for pedestrians who use aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, or mobility scooters. If the bottom door rail of the storefront door is too short such as 3", then the glass is exposed at the lower height of the door and vulnerable to getting bumped or broken from walking aids such as wheelchairs. Wheelchairs with footrests are often used to push against the bottom of the door to help open the door.


ADA compliance is mandatory. If you are in need of making your current storefront doors ADA compliant, contact Door Closers USA ([email protected]) and we can help you convert your door system to ADA compliance. If you are a building owner or contractor and are in need of new storefront doors for a current remodel or new construction project, we recommend Comanche storefront doors. Comanche storefront doors are manufactured in the USA and are secure, heavy duty, and high quality.


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