The Correct Way to Install a Door Closer

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A door closer is a hardware device used to close a door automatically each time it is opened. The closer contains a hydraulic mechanism that uses fluid to close the door without the need for electrical assistance. When the closer is installed incorrectly, the door may close too quickly, or may not close all the way. A closer that is mounted in the wrong position may not work at all, and will require replacement fairly quickly. To ensure your closer operates as intended, take the time to install it correctly and adjust the settings as needed for your application.

Preparation

  • Before you can install your closer, you must first choose the right unit for the job. Closers are designed for use on doors of a specific size range. If you have an unusually heavy or large door, you'll need a heavy-duty closer that is rated for doors of that size.

    It is also important to consider different mounting options when choosing a closer. In general, closers should be installed on the least visible side of the door. If it will be installed on the pull side of the door (the side where you pull the door towards you to open it), you'll need a regular arm closer. If you plan to install the closer on the push side, you'll need a parallel arm closer.

    Finally, you must determine the handing of the door before you begin installation. Stand on the secure side of the door (the side where you need a key to open the door). If the hinges are to your right, the door is right-handed. If they are to the left, the door is left-handed.

Mounting the Closer

  • Each closer comes with a paper template that shows where the unit will be installed on the door. The template must be placed on the door according to the handling and mounting options presented in the previous section of this article. Use tape to secure the template to the door.

    Pre-drill holes in the door at all locations shown on the template. If the door is not equipped with interior blocking, you will need to use a combination of thru-bolts and screws to fasten the closer to the door. If the door has blocking, screws will be sufficient.

    Before placing the closer on the door, set the spring power. The adjustment knob is located at one end of the closer body, and generally ranges from 1 to 6. By default, the majority of closers are set to Level 3, which will be adequate for standard door sizes. Use the chart included with your closer to help you adjust the spring power. You may need a screwdriver or Allen wrench for this task depending on the unit you've chosen. After the spring power is set, fasten the closer to the door as shown on the template.

    Use the template to help you fasten the other end of the closer arm to the door frame. Use the screws provided to secure the arm. If you have chosen a parallel arm mount, you will need to use a bracket or shoe (provided with parallel arm closers) to drop the arm down and mount it on the frame.

Adjustment

  • One of the most important parts of installing a closer is adjusting the closing and latch speeds. This step is often overlooked, particularly by novice installers. Each closer contains two valves, which are adjusted using Allen wrenches or screwdrivers. The closing speed controls how quickly the door will close from when it is fully open until just before it closes. The latch speed controls the door as it closes and latches. Together, closing and latching should range from 3 to 7 seconds.

    Many closers have a third adjustment option known as backcheck. Backcheck keeps the door from opening past a certain point, which can protect walls and furnishings from damage. Increase backcheck to shorten the range of opening, or decrease it to widen the range. Backcheck is adjusted using a wrench or screwdriver.

References

  • Doromatic
  • Joseph M. Yatsinko; The Mystery of the Door Closer; Doors and Hardware; March 1, 1996
  • LCN
  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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