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Door Closers Designed To Mount To The Surface Of The Door Or Frame

Surface mounted door closers are installed in top jamb, regular, or parallel arm configurations. At Automatic Door and Hardware we the Nation's #1 supplier of surface mounted door closers. Each surface door closer we sell is tri-packed, meaning it comes with all of the hardware to mount the door closer in any of the three mounting configurations. Surface mount door closers are the most popular door closing product type. Whatever your door closing requirements may be, Automatic Door and Hardware's door closer brand, Commando will exceed your safety and performance expectations. Order today and receive FREE shipping!
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What Is A Surface Mounted Door Closer

A surface mounted door closer is a type of door closer that is either mounted to the top face of the door or the top of the door frame. There are 3 mounting methods for surface mounted door closers.

Surface Mounting Types

Top Jamb Mounting: This is when the door closer body is mounted at the top of the door on the push side and the door closer arm is mounted to the top of the door frame. Top jamb mounting is often used on storefront glass entrance doors.

Regular Mounting: This is when the door closer body is mounted at the top of the door on the pull side and the door closer arm is mounted to the top of the door frame. Regular mounted surface door closers are the most popular surface door closer installations and are primarily used on interior doors.

Parallel Mounting: This is when the door closer body is mounted at the top of the door on the push side and the door closer arm utilizes a special bracket known as a parallel arm bracket, or PA bracket, so that the arm can attach to the bottom of the door frame head. Parallel arm mounted surface door closers are often found on entrance doors.

How To Determine What Surface Mounting Configuration You Need

1. Determine If The Door Is An Exterior Or Interior Door

Is your door an exterior type of door such as entrance door or a rear warehouse door? Commercial exterior doors always swing out. If you have an exterior door, then the surface door closer will need to be mounted on the interior side of the door or push side. This means the door closer can either be installed Top Jamb or Parallel configurations.

If the door is an interior door such as an office door, then the door closer can be installed regular, top jamb, or parallel configurations.

2. Reveal

When we say door reveal, we are referring to the distance from the face of the door to the face of the door frame. Most commercial steel doors or wood doors use standard 5-3/4" hollow metal frames while standard storefront glass doors use 4.5" wide extruded aluminum tube frames, this means standard door reveals are 2 to 3 inches. Door reveal, only needs to be considered if you plan to install in a Top Jamb or Parallel configuration. If you are installing in a Regular configuration, then door reveal is negligible. If the door frame is custom made and is wider than normal such as an 8-1/4" wide jamb depth, then the reveal may be too deep for a Top Jamb or Parallel configuration.

3. Look For Obstructions Preventing Installation

Look for potential obstructions such as exit signs, trim work, thermostats, outlets, or any other object which could prevent you from mounting the surface mounted door closer. If an obstruction cannot be moved, then one of the other mounting configurations will need to be considered.

Surface Mounted Door Closer Strength (Spring Power)

Depending on the mounting configuration used, will effect the strength of the door closer's closing power. A typical surface mounted door closer houses an internal spring that is compressed when a person opens the door. When the person passes through the door way, the spring decompresses, allowing the door to close. Higher quality door closers feature an adjustable plate which can alter the tension in the spring for a specific door size. Spring power typically ranges from 1 to 6. For example, a spring power size of 1 would typically be used on an interior door size of 32". While spring power size of 5 would be used on an interior door size of 54". Regular and Top Jamb configurations offer the most spring power. While a Parallel configuration is approximately 25% less spring power. For example, a Regular or Top Jamb surface door closer with a spring power size of 5 can be used on a 48" wide exterior door, while the Parallel surface door closer with the same spring power could only be used on a 42" wide exterior door.

Surface Mounted Door Closer Adjustments

There are 2 standard closing speed adjustments on most surface mounted door closers, and they are the main closing speed and latch speed.

Main Closing Speed

The main closing speed is sometimes referred to as the sweep speed. It is often stamped as "S" or "1" on the door closer directly above the adjustment valve. The main closing speed adjusts the speed when the door closer is closing from full open to about 15 degrees. Turning the valve clockwise, will close the valve, allowing less hydraulic fluid to flow between the chambers inside of the door closer, causing the main closing speed to slow. While turning the valve counter-clockwise will open the valve, allowing more hydraulic fluid to flow between the chambers inside of the door closer, causing the main closing speed to increase. It should be noted that the valve adjustments should only be turned 1/8 of a turn at a time, and then the door closer should be tested. Unscrewing the valve to much could result in the valve coming out of the door closer and all hydraulic fluid pressure lost within the door closer body.

Latch Speed

The latch speed is the closing speed from the 15 degree open position to the full closed position. It is often stamped "L" or "2" on the door closer directly above the adjustment valve. Turning the latch speed valve clockwise will decrease the latch speed, while turning the valve counter-clockwise will increase the latch speed. Same as the main closing speed, the latch speed valve should only be adjusted 1/8 of a turn at a time and should never be completely removed.

Surface Mounted Door Closers Vs Concealed Closers

Surface mounted door closers are the most popular door closer type and used on the majority of commercial doors. They are so well received, because they are so versatile. With a surface door closer, the installer has 3 ways at which he can mount the door closer. Also, surface door closers are available in many models, depending on the level of door traffic or abuse. Slimmer surface door closers are ideal for the majority of door types, while a larger door closer body with protective cover is perfect for institutions and school door applications. Another benefit with surface mounted door closers is that they can be added to any door with little prep work. For example, if a door was installed but did not have a door closer, one could easily be added to that door. Similarly, if a door had a defective surface door closer that no longer worked, the defective door closer could easily be removed and a new surface door closer could be installed.

Concealed door closers or sometimes referred to as overhead concealed closers (OHC) are typically only used in aluminum storefront glass doors. These door closers are often specified in new construction projects by the architect when aesthetics is a priority. The notion of not seeing the door closer is the appeal here. However, concealed door closers require alot of prep work from the door manufacturer in order to be installed. Concealed door closers are designed to be installed within the top of the door frame. This requires a special door frame and door. It is unrealistic to prep a door for a concealed door closer in the field. The door and frame must be ordered from the manufacturer ahead of time for concealed closer prep. For this reason, concealed door closers are never retrofitted to replace a surface door closer.