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Commercial Door Closer

A door closer is a mechanical devise that closes a door, in general after someone opens it, or after it was automatically opened. Choosing a door closer can involve the consideration of a variety of criteria. In addition to the closer’s performance in fire situations, other criteria may include resistance to opening forces (for use by disabled or infirm) as well as health, safety, durability, risk of vandalism/ligature and aesthetics.

Types of Door Closer

A Surface Closer is a mechanical device that is mounted to the surface of the door or frame. It closes the door after someone manually opens it, or after it was automatically opened by an electrified opener. Door closers have internal springs and hydraulic oil with cylinders. On the left is an older style ‘pot belly’ closer while the right illustration is of a ‘streamlined’ closer. Either of these can leak fluid on the floor if a seal goes bad causing hydraulic fluid to leak on the floor in the path of pedestrians. 

Surface closers can be used on any door, glass and aluminum, wood and metal doors.  


These door closers that are hidden by a cover plate in the frame portion above the door. The opening range of these closers are 90º degree 105º degree Hold Open or Non-Hold Open models and can be offset or center hung in the application. These are out-of-sight but cause problems when they fail. A rubber seal can leak fluid on the floor area around the door causing injury. 

Overhead Concealed closers can be used on wooden, glass, steel and aluminum and all glass doors.


Floor Closers are heavy duty door closers that are recessed underneath the door in the floor under the threshold. These heavy duty floor closers are mounted into a cement case and covered by the threshold or a cover plate. Buried in the floor, these units may also act as a pivot point for the door. Instead of hinges, the top of the door has a pivot that aligns with the bottom floor closer. 

Floor closers are used on heavy duty doors.



ADA Door Closer Overview:

Door Closers are rated by opening/closing force “Size”. The Size ratings are from #1 to #6, with Size #1 the weakest strength and Size #6 the strongest. It all comes down to spring strength (size). Barrier-free closers usually have lighter springs, making it easier

to open a door. Look for a closer adjustable sizes 1 – 4, or even better 1 – 6. These give you the most flexibility to adjust the closer to make it easy to open.

  • Size #1 = 2 pounds of closing force, minimum
  • Size #2 = 3 pounds of closing force, minimum
  • Size #3 = 5 pounds of closing force, minimum
  • Size #4 = 8 pounds of closing force, minimum
  • Size #5 = 11 pounds of closing force, minimum
  • Size #6 = 14 pounds of closing force, minimum

To be ADA compliant, an interior door can NOT have an opening force of more than 5 pounds. To guarantee an interior door with a closer can maintain 5 pounds or less opening force, requires a door closer that will adjust down to Size #1.

Exterior – Fire doors must have the minimum opening force allowed by your local fire code, usually 8.5 lb.

*Many door closer manufactures will use the term “Barrier Free” for models that are ADA compliant.*

How a Closer Works

The spring does all the work closing the door. When you open a door, you are stretching out this spring. The spring wants to ”snap” the door closed, but hydraulic fluid must flow through valves as the door closes. It is the hydraulic fluid that allows the door to close smoothly and slowly.

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