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How To Replace A Storefront Door Pivot Hinge

How To Replace A Storefront Door Pivot Hinge

One of the most common repairs on a storefront door is a broken pivot hinge. This most likely occurs when the storefront door is caught by the wind and swung open extremely fast, causing the door to hit the wall and shear off the pivot hinge. In this guide we go over the tips and tricks of replacing a storefront door pivot hinge.

What Is A Storefront Door Pivot

An offset pivot is the hinge mechanism used on most commercial storefront doors. It is essentially comprised of a top and bottom pivot set. Each pivot set is comprised of a pivot pin and a pivot bearing. For example, the top pivot set is made up of a header mounted component which houses a ball bearing, we call this the top pivot bearing. The top door mounted component houses a spring loaded pin, and we call this the top pivot pin. The pin is designed to go into the header mounted top pivot bearing. The bottom pivot set is made up of jamb mounted component which has an adjustable pin, known at the bottom pivot pin. This mates with the door mounted component with a sealed ball bearing, called the bottom pivot bearing. The pivot assembly is designed to swing the door away from the frame freely. Pivots vary from traditional butt hinges based on the engineering design. With a storefront door pivot, the weight of the door is distributed from the top header mounted pivot and bottom jamb mounted pivot. Assuming the bearings in the pivots are good, the door will not sag and the distribution of the door weight takes a lot of strain off of the door frame. Whereas with a butt hinge door, the weight of the door is strictly distributed on the one side of the door frame, causing a lot of strain on the frame, eventually leading to door sag over time.

When To Replace A Storefront Door Pivot

Sometimes a storefront door pivot replacement is obvious. For instance, if the wind catches the door and the bottom pivot breaks off. However, other times replacing the storefront door pivot may not be so apparent. For example, another very common problem with offset pivots is a worn out bearing. A worn out bearing will cause the door to sag because the pin has too much play within the bearing. The illustration shows a worn out bearing.

How To Identify Which Storefront Door Pivot I Need

Identify the door manufacturer

Understand that there are many offset pivots. Some storefront door manufacturers use the same pivots, while others use their own type. The first line of defense in replacing a storefront door pivot is to determine the manufacturer of your storefront door. Most major door manufacturers will place a sticker on the bottom door rail in the center. The illustration below shows this. Common storefront door manufacturers include YKK, US Aluminum, Kawneer, Vistawall, and many more. If you can determine your storefront door's manufacturer, then that will almost instantly help you find the right pivot type.

I Cannot Find The Door Manufacturer

Many storefront doors are older, especially if you are doing repairs on them. It is probable, that there is no manufacturer label on the door, or it has been removed long ago. In this case, the next best solution to finding the right door pivot, is to swing the door open and look at the top and bottom pivot set. Then scroll through our selection of storefront door pivots on our website, here. Use the product photos to determine the storefront door pivot type you have.

Contact Our Technical Experts

If you don't see your storefront door pivot on our website, contact our sales department ([email protected]) and one of our technical experts can assist in getting you the correct offset pivot for your door.

How To Replace A Storefront Door Pivot

Step 1: Remove Existing Storefront Door Top and Bottom Pivot

Before beginning be sure that the door closer is removed. This will allow you to remove the door in later steps. The top pivot bearing mounted to the frame header is held in by screws. If the door is swung open, and you look up at the frame header, you will see the screws holding the top pivot component in place. Remove those screws and carefully remove the top pivot. Once the top pivot is removed the door will be able to be lifted off of the bottom pivot. Once the door is removed, the bottom pivot component on the door frame jamb, the bottom pivot component on the door, and the top pivot component on the door can all be removed. All components are screwed into either the aluminum door or frame. Simply removing all of the mounting screws will remove the component. In some scenarios, the door threshold may need to be removed in order to remove the bottom pivot. In some instances, the bottom pivot may be screwed into the the door threshold and the threshold might need to be removed.

Step 2: Install The Spring Loaded Pin Top Pivot On The Door

Identify the top pivot pin. On the back side of the top pivot pin is a small retaining pin that tensions the spring of the larger pivot pin. Place the retaining pin in the stile of the door and screw in the top pivot pin assembly. The large pin should be facing up towards the sky.

Step 3: Install The Bottom Pivot Bearing On The Door

Identify the bottom pivot bearing. Install the bottom pivot bearing on the bottom door stile. The bearing should be facing down towards the ground.

Step 4: Install The Top Pivot Bearing

Identify the top pivot bearing. This is typically the smallest of the four components. Slide it into the door frame header and screw it in. The bearing should be pointed down towards the ground.

Step 5: Install The Bottom Pivot Pin

Identify the bottom pivot pin. The bottom pivot pin is not spring loaded. Compare the new bottom pivot pin height to the original bottom pivot pin height. At the base of the bottom pivot pin is a hex style nut which can be adjusted with a crescent wrench. This nut will raise or lower the bottom pivot pin height. Typically there is a set screw on the side of the bottom pivot pin. Be sure to loosen the set screw before adjusting the height. Once the height is adjusted, tighten the set screw. This will ensure that the bottom pivot pin will not come loose and alter the door height. Be sure the new bottom pivot pin is set to the same height as the original bottom pivot pin. This will save you work from having to adjust later.

Next, Install the bottom pivot pin into the door frame jamb. If your door's bottom pivot pin attaches to the threshold, then install it on the threshold.

Step 6: Install The Door Into The Frame

Lift the door up and first set it the bottom pivot bearing onto the bottom pivot pin. Next, depress the top pivot pin and push the door in alignment with the header mounted top pivot bearing. Once aligned release the top pivot pin sot that it locks into the top pivot bearing. Swing the door carefully checking that the door operates properly. Reinstall the door closer.

How To Prevent A Storefront Door Pivot From Breaking In The Future

Install A Door Stop

When the wind catches a door and swings it open, the damage occurs when the door hits the wall or building. Installing a proper door stop with rubber padding at the door's correct full open position, will save the door from slamming open and hitting the wall or building. This could be the difference in a door with broken pivots, versus a door undamaged.

Install A Thompson Wind Door Closer By Liberty Door Closers

Most storefront door pivots break because the door is swung open violently by the wind. We understand that most building owners and contractors want the cheapest priced product. We get it, the building owner wants to save money and the contractor wants to make the best margin. The fact of the matter is, most storefront doors you see use a generic low grade door closer. In fact many door closers on storefront doors are under sized, or not even certified by the appropriate testing agencies, resulting in prematurely failed door closers with blown o-ring seals causing hydraulic fluid to leak from them. Storefront doors get a lot of foot traffic, after all they are the main entrance to a retail store. We recommend upgrading your door closer to a Thompson wind door closer. This door closer is heavy duty with an oversized closing spring and smooth hydraulic closing so it will hold up no matter how much foot traffic your store gets. But the main reason is that it is designed to keep your door closed when there is heavy winds outside. Some door closers are so weak that the wind will open the door, even when the door is fully closed. With the Thompson door closer you don't have to worry about that. And if the door is opened by a pedestrian and the wind catches it, the Thompson door closer is designed to open with a controlled speed, so that the door will not slam into the building and break the storefront door pivots. Remember, nickel and diming for the cheapest door closer is not only dangerous and unsafe, but can cost you in the long run. For example, when the wind catches a door and swings it open at an extremely fast speed, yes the storefront door pivots will most likely break off, but when the door slams against the wall or building, most likely it will hit so hard it will shatter the glass. All of this can be prevented in the future with the Thompson wind door closer by Liberty Door Closers.

Install Tried & Proven Storefront Door Pivots by Door Closers USA

At Door Closers USA we do not just sell storefront door hardware or components. We are a manufacturer of entire storefront doors. What this mean is, we have to use reliable and proven pivots in our doors, otherwise they don't last. So our storefront door pivots are proven and do last. In fact, we use sealed bearings in all of our pivots because they simply last longer. This is not the industry standard among 3rd party wholesalers who typically only offer the cheapest products possible which means unsealed bearings that will fail prematurely. Remember, cheaper is not always better and your storefront door is ultimately an investment which you want to protect. Defective pivots can affect your door in many other ways such as putting unnecessary strain on your hydraulic door closer.


Now you know everything there is to know about how to identify and replace a storefront door pivot. You also now understand the preventative measures you can take to make sure your new storefront door pivot does not break. If you are in need of new or replacements storefront doors and frames, we recommend Comanche storefront doors. Comanche storefront doors are manufactured in the USA and are high quality and secure. Trusted by thousands of businesses across America, Comanche storefront door products are the best choice.


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