How Do You Install A Door Closer On A Wood Door?
This how to guide covers everything you need to know about installing a door closer on a solid core wood door or hollow core wood door.
Wood Door Types
Wood doors come in two main types, solid core or hollow core.
Solid Core Wood Doors
Solid core wood doors are the industry standard for wood doors used in commercial buildings. A standard solid core door is made up of a 3 or 5 ply wood veneer that covers a particleboard core. Unlike, hollow core doors, solid core doors can be fire rated. Common fire ratings for solid core doors include 20 minute, 45 minute, 60 minute, or 90 minute.
Hollow Core Wood Doors
A hollow core doors are typically found in residential homes. It gets it's name because the door itself is made up of a thin wood sheet which acts as a shell. The inside of the door is hollow with no core. Hollow core doors are not fire rated.
Knowing The Difference
One of the easiest ways to tell if a wood door is solid core vs. hollow core is the weight of the door. When the door is swung open, if the door has some weight to it, you can bet it is a solid core door. Whereas, if the door feels light, similar to your home's bedroom door, then it is hollow core. Another easy check is by simply knocking on the door. Hollow core doors tend to have a louder "echo" sound when you knock because there is no core to absorb the sound, so it transmits easier through the door. Whereas solid core doors have a particle core, make sound transmission more difficult.
Check Fire Rating
If the solid core door is fire rated, then a fire label will be located on the hinge side of the door. Knowing if the door is fire rated is extremely important. As per NFPA 80 all fire rated doors must use fire rated door hardware, this includes the door closer. Any door closer used on a fire door should be UL10c listed which signifies it can be used on fire door assemblies up to 3 hours.
Installation On Solid Core Doors
Step 1: Drill Mounting Holes
Decide the door closer installation type: standard mount, top jamb, or parallel arm mount. Lay the door closer body and arm shoe in the proper locations and use a pencil to mark the mounting hole locations.
Although most door closers include self drilling screws, it is not recommended. In abusive environments self drilling screws do not hold up, and the door closer can be torn completely off of the door. For wood door installation thru bolts and grommet nuts should be used to insure the strongest and safest mount.
To do this use a 9/32" drill to bore holes all the way through the door from the door closer side. Then using a 3/8" drill, drill each mounting hole on the non-closer side, being sure not to go all the way through this time.
Step 2: Mount The Door Closer Body and Arm
Mount the door closer body to the door using the thru bolt and grommets. Be sure to preload the door closer spring according to the manufacturer's specifications. Connect the door closer arm to the door closer body.
Step 3: Adjust The Door Closer Properly
Carefully adjust the door closer speed. Remember, according to ADA Standards section 404.2.8 it should take atleast 5 seconds for the door to close from 90 degrees to 12 degrees.
Installation On Hollow Core Doors
Door closers can be installed on hollow core doors, however since door closer spring sizes vary depending on door weight, any hollow core wood door should use a residential grade door closer with an appropriate spring size of 1. Refer to manufacturer's door closer sizing chart, as spring power varies between door closer manufacturer. Thru bolts and grommets should be used for installation to insure the hollow core door from not cracking when the door closer is mounted to the door. The same installation process for door closer installation on solid core wood doors can be used on hollow core wood doors as well.
Thru bolts and grommets should be used on all door closer installations with wood doors. However local building codes, fire codes, and other jurisdictions should always be checked as different fasteners may be required depending on your location. If you are in need of high quality door closer that can be installed on solid core wood doors, then we recommend Liberty Door Closer. All Liberty door closers ship FAST and FREE. If you are replacing an existing door closer and need to match the existing mounting holes, please see our guide "How To Replace A Door Closer"
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