SDI-127 A-L Series - Industry Alerts (A through L)
End Closure Location
The steel door industry utilizes a variety of end closure designs in standard doors. The most common are flush
type end closures or inverted end closures. The inverted (legs upward) end closures in many cases may create a
necessity to reposition the mounting holes for regular arm closures or surface overhead stops/holders. To avoid
interference with the “web” of the top end closure channel, mounting screws must be slightly epositioned.
A similar (but less serious) situation could occur when channel-shaped closer reinforcements are inserted into flush
type end closures. The additional layers of material or the joint itself could cause "creeping" of the drill bit or tap.
Illustrated below is the consensus of the Steel Door Institute members showing the location of these channel
conditions on standard steel doors.
It is suggested that the hardware manufacturer and/or hardware consultant be contacted for resolution of such a
Door Edge Cutouts
The ability to form a crisp aesthetic cutout in the edge of a steel door, especially in the vicinity of a bend line is
directly influenced by the steel thickness and the proximity of the cutout to the bend line. A cutout too close to
the bend line will result in a flare‑out of the cutout area due to unevenly distributed stress along the brake die or
The following illustrations are intended to convey dimensional limitations of the hardware items to be mortised into
the edge of 1 3/4" thick standard steel doors.
Certain lock fronts, concealed hinges, strikes, or electrical devices do not comply with these limitations. The
resulting potential for inaccuracy or lack of asthetics is inherent in the manufacturing processes and is not to be
considered a defect.
Frame Cutout Limits
The ability to form a crisp aesthetic cutout in steel frames, especially in the vicinity of a bend line is directly influenced
by the steel thickness and the proximity of the cutout to the bend line. A cutout too close to the bend line will result
in a flare‑out of the cutout area due to unevenly distributed stress along the brake die or rollform rollers.
The following illustration is intended to convey dimensional limitations of the hardware items to be mortised into
the face, rabbet or stop of steel frames. Certain concealed hinges, strikes, or electrical devices do not comply
with these limitations. The resulting potential for inaccuracy or lace of aesthetics is inherent in the manufacturing
processes and is not to be considered a defect.
Electric Strikes in Stud Walls
Steel or wood stud and drywall construction methods and frame anchorage could result in interference between
the stud and electric strike. Notching of the stud could result in compromising the stability of the frame.
Dependent on the dimensions of the strike, the cutouts may extend beyond the frame face or the returns, thus
leaving critical strike parts or wiring exposed.
Consideration should be given to specifying a strike suitably sized to fit the confines of a standard frame or specifying
alternate frame profiles to accommodate the strike.
Prime Painted Materials Alert
Prime Painted Doors, Frames, and Accessories (where applicable) shall comply with the acceptance criteria specified
in ANSI A250.10-1998 (R 2004). Doors and frames are cleaned and treated prior to painting to ensure maximum
paint adhesion. All exposed surfaces are then given a factory-applied coat of rust inhibiting “direct to metal” type
primer. The primer is then baked, air dried, or otherwise cured as appropriate for the primer.
This process is intended to protect the steel surfaces for a period of time under reasonable weather exposure conditions.
Factory applied primer coatings may be somewhat porous in order to accept finish coatings. The primer
coating may therefore be susceptible to the action of moisture or ambient moisture condensation during shipping
or storage. For example, transportation of materials in unprotected “open” trucks during inclement weather (rain
or snow) or on roadways where salt or other snow melting agents are used will deteriorate the primer. Extended
exposure to such conditions may result in rusted or water stained areas. ANSI A250.8-2003 (SDI-100) paragraph
4.1 presents Industry recommended jobsite storage requirements.
Should the primer become scratched, abraded, rusted or stained, the affected areas may rust unless sanded and
reprimed with a suitable “direct to metal” primer containing rust inhibitors.
Prior to application of finish coats, the substrate shall be inspected by the Painting Contractor. All Architectural
Specification requirements along with all requirements of the paint manufacturer shall be followed. These will generally
include scuff sanding of the substrate to remove foreign materials, scratches or abrasions from construction
processes, along with any special or mandatory requirements for primer touch-up or additional primers required
by the paint system.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, the field applied primer and finish paint “systems” must be designed for direct to metal applications
and contain rust inhibiting properties.
IF COATING COMPATIBILITY IS AN ISSUE, contact the SDI Manufacturers or their local distributors who can provide
information or “sample” materials for the painting contractor’s use.
Rough Opening Sizes
The variety of existing wall anchors available from SDI Members allow Standard Steel Door Frames to be a reliable
option for existing wall, structural steel wall framing or retrofit installations utilizing a butted to wall application. In
order to make the installation successful, careful consideration shall be given to all tolerances involved and that
sufficient clearance is figured to allow for them.
It has been “customary” to allow 1/4" clearance around the frame perimeter when establishing rough opening sizes
or when figuring non-standard overall frame sizes. Although this dimensional requirement does not appear in Industry
publications, it is based on the following:
- Both SDI 117-00 and ANSI/NAAMM HMMA 861-00 recognize a + tolerance in opening width and height. (There
is a –1/32" opening width tolerance that seldom is at issue).
- Both of these documents recognize a ± 1/32" tolerance in frame face dimensions.
- The overall frame width tolerance is a “non-critical” issue, therefore it is not addressed in the above Documents.
- Both ANSI/NAAMM HMMA 861-00 and ANSI/DHI A115.IG-1994 recognize a ± 1/16" installation tolerance for
Frames will “fit and function” if made to these dimensional tolerances and installed within tolerances. There is,
however, relatively no assurance that the substrate (walls) will be of suitable size or alignment.
We therefore recommend that the rough openings for these cases be no less than 3/16" larger on all 3 sides than
the “intended” overall frame size. (Example: 3070 standard frame = 3'-4 3/8" x 7'-2 3/16"). The installer carries the
responsibility for shimming and aligning as necessary. Gaps are normally sealed as part of the installation or
caulking/painting process. Architectural Specifications are to be consulted to determine the appropriate sealant
material to be used at fire door or smoke control frames.
Relating to Factory Painted
Steel Doors and Frames
There is an Industry need for a comprehensive revision of specifications, practices and procedures that will allow
compliance with existing and future regulations. The Member Companies of the Steel Door Institute have taken
the steps needed to eliminate from their primers, those elements identified by Regulatory Authorities as hazardous
to human health and the environment. This is not only a moral responsibility toward society, but also a survival
responsibility toward the business. The SDI encourages specification writers to look at these issues very carefully
when they specify coating requirements.
Federal and State Laws have regulated the management of hazardous waste so as to not pose a threat to the
environment or human health. Environmental Protection Agencies are very strict in regulations that affect coating
applications, by limiting the emission to the atmosphere of the amount of VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), which
has curtailed the use of solvent base paints.
Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (Title III) sets up the reporting requirements
in the metal fabricating industry for all wastes containing any listed toxic chemical, which affects the use of
heavy metals (such as Zinc-Chromates) as rust inhibitors.
Borrowed light assemblies, transom, sidelight, and combination transom sidelight frames are not factory sealed to
prevent water penetration. In situations where water penetration is a concern, the contractor must seal all joints
that are exposed to the elements after the frame assembly is installed.
Whenever possible, it is strongly recommended that glass and glazing be installed on the exterior rabbet of the
frame assembly. This will help act as a deterrent to water penetration.
The member companies of the hollow metal industry can not control the workmanship associated with the frame
installation; therefore, it is the responsibility of the installer to assure all steps are taken to prevent water penetration.
Grouting Frames in Drywall
Some Architectural Specifications require frames in stud and drywall partitions to be filled with grout for
sound deadening or to enhance structural integrity.
The STEEL DOOR INSTITUTE is opposed to this practice for the following reasons:
- ANSI A250.8-2003 (also 1998) paragraph 4.2.2 and ANSI A250.11-2001 paragraph 2.2 both address the question of grouting frames. The paragraph cited in ANSI A250.8 gives a bit more information on the problems related to moisture in grout.
- In drywall construction, this moisture has two places to go. It can soak into the drywall, potentially
destroying its cohesive integrity and thus the ability to retain anchors or frame integrity, or it can leach
downward where it will cause premature rusting of anchors, screws, stud connections, bottom of frames,
- Grouting does not appreciably afford any additional structural rigidity to the frame. As an example, slipon
drywall frames have passed fire and hose stream tests, cycle tests, and in some cases impact tests
without being grouted.
- If the intention is for sound deadening, SDI 128-97 (Section 3) should be consulted. In addition, the
same insulation as used between wall studs (generally lightly packed fiberglass) will serve as a sound
deadener without the potential for damage to the frame or wallboard.
It is therefore the opinion of the STEEL DOOR INSTITUTE that grouting should never be specified for
Back-Coating of Frames
Some Architectural Specifications require steel frames to be back-coated for corrosion protection or sound control. A more modern back-coating material is automotive undercoating.
It is the recommendation of the STEEL DOOR INSTITUTE that this coating SHALL NOT be applied at the factory
or any location other than the jobsite. The coating never fully dries; leaving a dark residue that can be transferred
to the frame during transportation, storage, or handling prior to final installation.
ANSI A250.8-2003 (also 1998) limits factory applied coatings to either factory prime finish (2.1.3) or factory-applied
finish paint (2.1.4).
For corrosion protection, ANSI A250.11-2001 paragraph 2.2 clearly states that “the contractor responsible for installation”
applies corrosion resistant coatings only where specified for anti-freezing agents in plaster or mortar.
For sound control purposes, it is less damaging to the frame finish and more expedient for “the contractor responsible
for installation” to extend the insulation material used in the adjoining wall into the frame. This creates an
unbroken barrier to the passage of sound.
Gasketting should be positioned to create proper
contact along the door’s entire perimeter. The test
for proper contact is usually done with common letterhead
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.
It has come to the attention of the Steel Door Institute (SDI) that cleaning or maintenance personnel have been
incorrectly wedging doors to hold them open. This has been reported mainly in health care or hotel-motel installations
at patient rooms, utility rooms, sleeping rooms, and even stairways.
Instead of using rubber wedges at the bottom of doors or suitable hold-open mechanisms, wedges of various materials
have been inserted between the hinge edge of the door and the hinge jamb. This practice puts an abnormal
stress on the hinge reinforcements, hinge knuckles, and attachment screws causing potential damage to any or
all of these components.
Damage, loosening, or failure resulting from this practice shall not be construed as a door, frame, or hardware
defect or warranty issue. The SDI strongly discourages the use of wedges in this manner or any methods
for holding doors open that will compromise the fire or life safety integrity of the openings.
The importance of unrestricted closing and latching of door openings in fire situations is further discussed in Sections
9 through 9.5 of SDI-118 “Basic Fire Door Requirements”.
Steel Doors with
Excessive lead paint in toys has been in the news a great deal lately. Just ask the toy industry about the far reaching
impact of selling products that do not comply with federal regulations. U.S. manufacturers, contractors, and end users
are aware of the regulations concerning the limitations of lead in paint. Although the toy industry may not have
knowingly violated these regulations, it is embroiled in this issue because it didnít closely regulate the production
of these toys in a country where lead in paint is an accepted practice. United States industries need to comply
with applicable regulations for all products that they produce, including all components and assemblies that are
outsourced to foreign manufacturers.
In light of the issues raised by the toy industry example and others, the Steel Door Institute felt it worthwhile to
investigate the lead content of paint contained on steel doors imported into the United States. The investigations
were conducted by independent laboratories on randomly selected doors taken from various regions throughout
the United States. The results showed that all the doors tested exceed the allowable lead content for paint used in
residential and other consumer products. To ensure consumer safety and, to protect the interests of its membership
as well as the industry as a whole, SDI believes it is important to bring attention to this issue.
Risks of Using Lead-Based Paint
In addition to the issues associated with non-compliance with the federal statutes and regulations, there are more
serious risks associated with manufacturing, importing, buying or selling products that contain lead-based paint.
There are significant physical risks associated with ingesting lead by breathing or swallowing lead dust, which can
affect workers during construction and installation as well as the ultimate consumers who may come into contact
with the surfaces. For example, standard practice for top coat painting steel doors and frames is to rough up the
primer on the face of the door with abrasive sheets to improve adhesion to the primer. This practice will release lead dust that could be potentially inhaled by the painter or other workers in the general vicinity. In addition, painting
over lead-based paint with non-lead paint is not a long-term solution. Even though the lead-based paint may
be covered by non-lead paint, the lead-based paint may continue to loosen from the surface below and create
lead dust. The new paint may also partially mix with the lead-based paint, and lead dust will be released when
the new paint begins to deteriorate.
Restrictions on the Use of Lead-Based Paint
There are a number of statutory restrictions on the use of lead-based or lead containing paint in the United
States. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-550, October 28, 1992) incorporates
the definition of lead-based paint contained in Section 302(C) of the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning
Prevention Act (42 U.S.C. 4831), which characterizes any paint that contains more than .5% by weight of lead
as ìlead-based paint.
Together, these two statutes prohibit the use of any paint with excessive lead content in new residential structures,and mandate strict disclosure requirements with respect to the lead content of paint in existing dwellings.
The lead content restrictions are even more stringent under the Consumer Product Safety Act, which reduces
the threshold for characterization as lead-containing paint to .06% by weight of the total non-volatile content of
the paint or the weight of the dried paint film, and prohibits the use of such paint in residences and consumer
This prohibition extends to any products that may be used by consumers following an initial sale, including those
contained in apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels, parks and any other public places or areas where
consumers may have access to the painted surfaces. (Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 2057, 2058; 16
Due to the significant potential risks and costs associated with those risks of importing and/or distributing doors
containing lead-based paint, the Steel Door Institute feels obligated to alert the industry to the issue and to urge
the general public to be aware of the products that they are associated with, so that they can monitor compliance
with all applicable laws.
The Steel Door Institute does not make any assertions or conclusions other than those specifically contained
herein, which are limited in scope and used for illustrative purposes only.