Most people don’t often spend a lot of their time thinking about doors. If they open and close and let you go through without any trouble, that’s all there is. A door that functions appropriately is something that should stay out of your mind. But when you have a problem with an entry, then this is where you will notice how essential they can be to your day-to-day life. This is even more apparent if you are in a commercial or industrial setting. In this case, you will quickly see how critical a properly functioning door can be to your entire operation.
At the core of healthy functioning, the door is the hinge. In most cases, the door in itself rarely sees any damage or wear. It is static and doesn’t have much torque applied to it. The door hinge is the part that sees the most wear and tear. It’s the part that loads all the weight, is the only connection with the frame, and has friction when the door opens and closes.
The hinge, in most cases, is the bottleneck for a door’s reliability. It’s for this reason that using a high-quality door hinge can be the difference between not even realizing that a door is there and having a constant headache with a door that won’t open and close properly.
What is a heavy-duty door?
A heavy-duty door is one in a place in an area that sees significantly more use than in a regular residential setting. It’s also often a door that’s significant in size and stature. Depending on the intended function of the door, it will need to be heavier, use stronger locks, be attached to a more secure frame, and the open and close cycle will be significantly higher. This section will explore some of the scenarios where a heavy-duty door is used, and a heavy-duty door hinge becomes critical to its long-term reliability.
Commercial and residential use
Commercial applications are some of the first candidates when it comes to using heavy-duty doors. There are the main scenarios where heavy-duty doors are used in commercial applications.
- High cycle applications: These are doors that will be opened and closed many more times than regular residential rooms. For example, a door divides the kitchen from the serving area in a restaurant. Or hospital doors that separate different areas are good examples of scenarios in which these doors are used. It is common that these high cycle doors are also built out of metal or some other combination of materials which increases their weight compared to a regular use door.
- Security applications: Another common application in commercial scenarios for doors is to use them as security barriers. Points of entry or rooms within the building that need to be of restricted access are common places where heavy-duty doors are used. In contrast with high cycle applications, security doors will be used less but have features that make sure that when they close, they stay closed even if someone were to try to force them open. These can be heavy-duty locks and bolts, strong frames, and dense door materials.
Although heavy-duty doors are not a necessity in many homes, some homeowners may want to add a safe room or perhaps a heavy-duty access door to enhance the security profile of their homes. Residential safety doors can vary in their construction depending on the requirements from it. These go from simply being solid wood and a higher quality lock all the way to reinforced frames and the ability to withstand bullet impacts.
What makes a door hinge suitable for heavy-duty use
Not all door hinges are built the same way. This is due to the fact that using only heavy-duty hinges could be cost-prohibitive in some scenarios and simply unnecessary. Here are the main elements that differentiate the different types of hinges.
This is the first area where the construction of door hinges differs from one to another. Materials make a big difference in how a hinge will perform. For example, the SOSS® Invisible Hercules Hinges use a high resistance steel alloy. Other hinges will use an alloy that is lighter or with less steel (to save costs), making it vital to check both the material used and the process the company uses to make the hinge you’re considering.
The thickness of the materials used.
Another significant aspect that impacts the performance of the hinge is the thickness of the materials used. Thickness and amount of material make a big difference in the torque and weight that a hinge can support. Heavy-duty hinges will tend to use more material than light ones. They can have better performance and withstand more abuse than a regular-use hinge.
Precision and quality control
The biggest differentiator between a regular use hinge and a quality heavy duty hinge? The precision construction and materials used. Even hinges constructed with appropriate materials require high manufacturing standards, preventing premature wear (not to mention the eventual malfunction of the hinge). It is for this reason that using quality hinges from a reputable manufacturer should be a priority whenever planning the installation of a heavy-duty door.
Key point: Two potential detractors of a precision-built hinge; mass quality and poor standards.
Your part in choosing a heavy-duty hinge
While material and quality construction is important—so is choosing the proper hinge! Getting it right involves good measurements and a sizing chart. For instance, we’ve created a sizing chart (image below) for our Invisible Hercules Hinges. Using this resource keeps you from making unnecessary purchases and slowing the build process.
When considering installing a heavy-duty door and analyzing your hinge options, stay clear of butt hinges. Butt hinges tend to provide an economical and easy-to-install alternative. Still, they are pretty simply mechanically inferior since the exposed hinge makes it a clear point of failure.
The door hinge is the most critical element of a door. You can have the best locks in the world and the most bulletproof door construction available. But if the hinges can’t hold up, the door won’t do the job you gave it. Choose the right hinge and you’ll make spend much less time thinking about how well doors hold up.