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The Aluminum Frame Glass Door

Everyone is familiar with the aluminum frame glass doors that are so common in commercial and retail settings. Far fewer realize that a whole new style of door hardware was necessitated for use in these doors. Often referred to as Adams-Rite locks, after a prominent manufacturer of hardware for these doors, they are a mortise-style lock that is fitted to the aluminum stile of the door. While there are other rim and mortise-style locking hardware available, especially in the case of exit hardware, the Adams-Rite is the most popular, available in both latch and bolt configurations.

The door in the photo has obviously undergone previous alterations. The lock in the photo is a deadlatch, but bolts that swing out are also common. Some bolts are hooked so that they engage the frame to help prevent someone from trying to spread the frame to bypass the lock.

On standard wood and steel doors, the backset of the locks is commonly 2-3/8" or 2-3/4", with occasional oddballs like 2" or 5". On the aluminum frame doors, backsets are usually 31/32", 1-1/8", or 1-1/2". These different backsets are not interchangeable. The bolt and deadlatch locks are also not interchangeable without making alterations to the frame as well.

The exterior trim is usually just a mortise cylinder, which should be protected by a hardened cylinder guard; but there are electronic and mechanical code locks available, as are electric strikes designed specifically for these doors.

The interior trim may be a simple thumbturn, a second mortise cylinder, a lever, a push paddle or exit bar. The door should have a closer as well. A weak closer may work fine with a bolt, but may fail to securely close a deadlatch. That is an important consideration if you make a change from one to the other.

For more information, see the Adams-Rite website.

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