Standard Steel Doors
This document is intended to serve as a general outline
of maintenance activities needed for standard steel
doors and frames. However, it should be noted that
the door and frame are virtually maintenance free. Maintenance will be, for the most part, associated
with the accessories and hardware attached to the
door and frame.
Maintenance of any product is important and necessary
to obtain the maximum benefits of product
service and longevity. Steel door and frame assemblies
are not different. In fact, in some cases where the door
and frame assembly is used as a “fire rated” barrier or
a “leakage rated” smoke barrier, proper maintenance
is crucial. Basic maintenance to ensure the proper
functioning of the assembly is imperative and well
worth the effort to provide for human life safety.
2 Areas to be inspected
The following items should be periodically checked.
The frequency with which these checks are performed
must be established at the discretion of the building
owner, insurance company, labeling authority (as applicable),
and maintenance service. Since doors in
different areas of a building access service different
traffic, the frequency of periodic inspections would
Check all hinges for loose attaching screws, hinge
pin wear or other notable defects. Service the hinges
or remove defective parts and replace per the manufacturer’s
recommendations. The door should always
swing freely and smoothly without obstruction from
the opened to latched (when latching device is used)
Locksets, panic devices, fire exit hardware
Check all locksets for loose attaching screws, latch
wear or other notable defects. Service the lockset
or remove defective parts and replace per the
manufacturer’s recommendations. The door should
always latch freely and smoothly without obstruction.
Self latching devices should always function freely and
smoothly as the door swings into the closed position.
Additional force should not be needed to achieve
latching. Silencers (mutes) should be replaced when
latch operation is compromised by wear.
The strike plate should be firmly attached to the frame
or inactive leaf of a pair of doors. Check for loose
screws and/or other notable defects. Service or remove
and replace per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check all closing devices for loose attaching screws,
linkage arm and pin wear, fluid leakage or other notable
defects. Service the device or remove defective
parts and replace following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The primary and secondary closing
speed adjustments should also be set and maintained
in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The device should allow the door to operate
freely and smoothly throughout its entire swing range
and positively latch (if so equipped) or remain in the
Check all flush bolts for loose attaching screws, rod
bolt adjustment and strike plate (on both door and
frame if so equipped) attachment. Service the devices
or remove defective parts and replace following
the manufacturer’s recommendations. The rod bolts
should retract, extend and engage the strike or keeper
hole freely and smoothly for both manual and/or automatic
The glazing material should be checked for cracks
and/or missing pieces of glazing. The glazing mounting
frame should be checked to assure all attaching
screws (if used) are tight and the unit is securely attached
to the door. Service the glass light or remove
defective parts and replace by following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also be sure to use approved
safety glass in appropriate applications/locations,
or fire rated glass and glazing in fire doors,
windows or lights.
Door and frame finish
A general visual inspection of the door and frame finish
should be periodically conducted. Any excessive finish
defects should be repaired and repainted. Adequate
protection is needed to help prevent the product from
rusting prematurely and shortening its service life.
Fire rated and/or smoke control assemblies are
specified and installed to meet “safety to life code
requirements.” It is imperative that these assemblies
receive regularly scheduled maintenance checks for
all of the above items. Additionally, for the assembly
to serve its purpose of stopping fire and/or smoke
propagation it must function freely with the ability to
positively latch in the closed position. Therefore, propping
or blocking these doors in an open position is in
violation of intended use and purpose as established
in building codes. These doors must not be obstructed
in any fashion preventing them from functioning as
A visual and operational inspection is periodically necessary
for gasketed or weatherstripped areas such as
perimeter seals, threshold seals, door bottoms, etc.
Inspect for signs of deterioration such as splitting,
cracking or deforming of flexible components. Install
replacement components as needed.
Inspect operational integrity by the following
Gasketing should be positioned to create proper
contact along the door’s entire perimeter. The test
for proper contact is usually done with common
paper. The paper should be firmly held in
place by inserting it between the door and gasket and
then closing the door. If the paper is not firmly held in
place, the seal is inadequate. The paper test should
be conducted along the entire perimeter.
— NFPA 80 Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, Chapter 5
— SDI-122 Installation and Troubleshooting Guide for Standard Steel Doors and Frames