All in the Details: Successful Hardware Installations

By Nataline Lomedico

Installing large, varying lites of glass and complex curtainwall systems comprises a substantial portion of work for many contract glaziers, but it’s not our only job. Contract glaziers also get down to the nuts and bolts – literally. Hardware is a common fixture in our industry and requires detailed knowledge of a wide array of products and their place within the systems they help operate. Through the years, our company has been lucky to have individuals knowledgeable in hardware applications who can teach the
younger generations. Mastering hardware is a lifelong endeavor, especially when considering the continual new product introductions and technology advances.

Key Considerations

The majority of hardware we install accompanies glass or aluminum door systems, which brings many configuration and installation considerations. In any public, educational, or commercial facility, American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is a primary concern. As a standard rule, all doors must be able to open with a maximum of five pounds of force, so the hardware needs to make this possible. Additionally, hardware cannot protrude into wheelchair space, ensuring it doesn’t catch or bump. Handles, knobs, locks, and the like must be accessible for height and grip for disabilities.

Sliding doors, swing doors, and balance doors can all be configured to incorporate electric closers. These electric systems are convenient for those entering and exiting a building, and they also provide a great solution to the ADA’s five-pound pressure requirement. Aside from balance doors (designed to neutralize pressure and open easily) few manually operated doors would be light enough to open with such little force yet sturdy enough to remain shut when not in use.

To install electric closers, contract glaziers should first review the manufacturer’s recommendations for that particular product and then install the low-voltage wiring where it meets the wires of the motor or other operation mechanism. Coordinating and collaborating with an electrician at the installation site can help ensure everything is configured correctly and safely.

Locks and Components

Another fixture we commonly encounter is the magnetic lock. This type of lock is installed in two parts and locations: one side sits on the frame, fed by low-voltage wire, and the other side is installed on the door at the same level. When they meet, the two components lock into place magnetically. Their attraction is further secured by the electrical current running through the frame component. A motion sensor or release button will turn off the electric
current to open the door, breaking the components’ strong electromagnetic connection.

Whether it’s adding a fixture to adhere to ADA compliance or selecting a lock that works with a building’s digitized management system, it’s our job to ensure that the doors operate exactly as they should. Installing the proper hardware, in the correct manner, makes that task possible.

Nataline Lomedico is the president and CEO of Giroux Glass, headquartered in Los Angeles. The company has been in business since 1946.

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