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How To Replace A Storefront Door Hinge

Although not as popular as pivot hinges, there are still considerable amount of storefront doors outfitted with butt hinges. When butt hinges fail, the door is not usable. As a storefront door, it is the main entrance to the commercial building and needs to be operable. In this article we go over how to replace any butt hinge on a storefront aluminum door so that you can get your door back up and running.

Storefront Door Hinges Vs Storefront Door Pivots

A storefront door hinge is a butt hinge that is comprised of a frame mounted leaf, a door mounted leaf, and a pin that holds the two hinge leafs together. Unlike, an offset pivot which mounts to the face of the door and frame, the butt hinge is mortised into the door stile and frame. Storefront door hinges help distribute the weight of the door. Standard height storefront doors (3'-0" x 7'-0") will feature three butt hinges. Whereas a standard height door with offset pivots would typically only have a bottom floor mounted pivot set and a frame header mounted pivot set. The main difference from physics viewpoint is that butt hinges are mounted to the door frame, causing all weight distribution to fall on the door frame. Whereas, on an offset pivot storefront door the weight of the door is distributed and supported by the floor because of the floor mounted pivot.

Identify Hinge Type

The standard hinge size for aluminum storefront doors is 4-1/2" Tall x 4" Wide with 1/4 radius corners. In some rare building applications, the storefront door may use a wide throw hinge. Be sure to measure the door hinge to confirm the standard 4-1/2" Tall x 4" Wide foot print with 1/4" radius corners.



Ordering A Replacement Hinge Considerations

Hinge Finish

Most storefront doors are clear anodized (silver) or dark bronze. For clear anodized finish doors, US26D satin chrome finish hinges will match nicely. For dark bronze storefront doors, US10B Oil rubbed bronze finish will match. There are other finishes for storefront door hinges available that can be purchased, however it really comes down to the building owner's preference. Some storefront doors are powder coated a custom paint color. For specialty painted storefront doors, the hinges would need to be painted after installation and on site.

NRP Hinges

Storefront doors are security doors. They are mainly used as front entry doors for retail businesses, banks, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. Non removable pin hinges, also referred to as NRP hinges, should always be used. A non removable pin is a butt hinge with a hinge pin that cannot be removed. This is very important on storefront doors since the pin is exposed to the exterior of the building. If the pin can be removed, a burglar could simply remove the hinge pins from all three butt hinges and pull the door off of the frame completely.

Hinge Knuckles

A hinge knuckle is the the loop at the end of the hinge leaf that the hinge pin slides into. Each storefront door hinge leaf has offset knuckles that mesh with the other hinge leaf. The hinge pin slides into both hinge leaf knuckles allowing the storefront door to swing opened or closed. Storefront doors are main entrance doors to retail stores, as a result they get high traffic and are vulnerable to abuse. Most door hinges are three knuckle, however storefront door hinges should be 5 knuckle hinges due to the frequency the doors get. Three knuckle hinges will not last on commercial storefront door hinges.

Number Of Hinges

Most standard height storefront doors, 3'-0" x 6'-8" or 3'-0" x 7'-0", use 3 hinges. However, lower grade doors are notorious for only utilizing 2 hinges, causing premature door failure. The number of hinges is dependent on the door height. If the door storefront door is 8'-0", then 4 hinges should be used.

Ball Bearing Vs Plain Bearing

A ball bearing storefront door hinge is a butt hinge that has a ball bearing between each knuckle. This provides better stability, reduces noise, and will allow the door hinge to be durable in any abusive or high foot traffic environment. A plain bearing door hinge is a butt hinge that has no bearings between the hinge knuckles. The hinge pin simply rubs on the inside of the hinge knuckles as the door opens and closes. Plain bearing hinges often sag over time since the pin constantly rubs on the knuckles and are susceptible to noise and squeaking as the door opens and closes. For storefront door applications heavy duty ball bearing hinges should always be used. Plain bearing hinges are less expensive, however they are very underrated for a commercial retail store main entrance door.

Replacing Your Storefront Door Hinge

Step 1: Remove Old Hinges

Open the door to the full open position so that both hinge leafs (door side and frame side) are exposed with screw heads visible. Place a shim beneath the door, so that the weight of the door is supported and not on the door frame. When removing the door hinges, we do not want to put any weight on the frame as it can tweak it due to the redistribution of weight. Once the door weight is supported remove the screws in all of the door mounted hinge leafs and set the door aside. Next remove the screws from the frame side hinge leafs and remove the hinges from the door frame.

Step 2: Install Hinges On Door

In the storefront door hinge stile will be a reinforcing hinge plate inside of the door stile. Verify that it is in correct position so that the new hinges can be screwed in place. Attach the new hinges to the door.



Step 3: Install Hinges On Frame

Carefully set the door into the frame. Use shims below the door to line up the hinges with the frame screw holes. Screw in all hinges to the door frame. Check to see that the door swings opened and closed properly. The door should have the following clearances between the door and frame listed below.

Clearance Guide For Single Storefront Door

Hinge Stile Jamb: 3/32"
Lock Stile Jamb: 3/32"
Threshold: 3/16"
Fame Header: 1/8"

Clearance Guide For Storefront Door Pair

Hinge Stile Jamb: 3/32"
Meeting Stiles: 1/8"
Threshold: 3/16"
Fame Header: 1/8"

Conclusion

Storefront door hinges are unique hinges much different than standard hinges used on other commercial doors like hollow metal or wood doors. As a result, we recommend purchasing our Tahoma storefront door hinges. Tahoma manufactures high quality door hardware specifically for commercial storefront doors. With Tahoma storefront door hinges you can have the confidence that the door hinge installed in your storefront door will last and is designed for your door. And if you are in need of a whole new storefront door and frame we supply Comanche storefront door systems. Manufactured in the USA, Comanche storefront doors are trusted by businesses and commercial buildings all across America.






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