Traditional floor closers require a hole to be dug in the floor in order to fit the box, which can be problematic, particularly on retro-fit projects. Simon Boocock, Managing Director of CR Laurence, looks at some of the alternatives and how they fit with trends in interior design and architectural hardware overall.
To comply with fire safety regulations, self-closing doors are now pretty much a standard on many projects. They also, of course, create a high-end finish and make buildings, externally and internally, comfortable places to be.
While on the surface this important piece of door hardware should be taken pretty much for granted and chosen to enhance the overall design, installation of floor closers has traditionally required a hole to be dug in the floor in order to fit the box. This is a process that doesn’t come without its problems. Not only does it slow the job down and require more labour time to be taken into account, digging a hole in the floor becomes a particular headache when fitting the door retrospectively. More often than not the digging risks causing damage to existing fixtures and fittings, making installation tricky and slowing down the process considerably. That’s really the best-case scenario.
Far worse problems are faced when retro-fitting a traditional floor closer for a self-closing door into a building with under-floor heating already present, as ideally the floor closer needs to be installed first. Consider also the nightmare faced by installers working on listed buildings. Here the modern-day fixtures and fittings chosen for within are all well and good, but may prove practically impossible to install within the requirements allowed without upsetting the history of the building. Undoubtedly in the majority of cases there are ways to work around such problems, but not always without more labour time being required, which can lead to increased costs and potential delays.
An alternative to a traditional floor closer for modern self-closing doors in all types of buildings is to opt for a system with an oil dynamic patch fitting or with oil dynamic hinges. This will overcome the above problems while creating a smooth closing action and an aesthetically pleasing outcome.
With all the advantages of a self-closing system, oil dynamic patch fitting hinges do not require any digging into the floor, as they do not feature either a floor spring or door closer as would be commonly found on a traditional door-closing mechanism. Particularly suited for installation on interior doors, a patch fitting door hinge is designed specifically for installation without a floor box. This makes it extremely quick and simple to fit on to any floor. Suitable for glass doors in virtually any size or weight, the patch fittings don’t require any additional floor or overhead closing devices in order for the door to be self-closing, therefore helping to create a neat, minimal finish too.
Easy and quick to mount, oil dynamic patch fitting door hinges also have many benefits to enhance end user comfort. Sleek and compact in design and suitable for both exterior and interior situations, many oil dynamic hinges on the market offer adjustable speeds and prevent the door from offering any resistance, to maximise on user safety. For outer doors, oil dynamic hinges are available with adjusting braking valves, anti-wind and safety unhinging functions. They feature a complete anodized inner body, deep oxidation (20 micron) and coating of the entire surface with covers made of stainless steel AISI 316 to resist to corrosion.
Such solutions offer a neat, simple to install alternative to traditional door closers, ending the headache of digging into the ground whatever the situation. They also tap into the trend towards ever-more sleek and streamlined door hardware, with the architectural thinking being that although hinges and floor closers fulfil an important purpose, they should not compromise on the aesthetic outcome of the project but rather enhance it. This is particularly the case when installing glass doors, which are most often chosen for the minimal look they achieve.
For interior design, this trend is particularly prevalent in the bathroom, with frameless glass screens increasingly being chosen in favour of a full shower enclosure. This not only creates a spacious, open-plan environment and makes small rooms appear much bigger, but also makes it possible to create a shower area in awkwardly shaped rooms.
Even in bathrooms where space isn’t so much of an issue, the trend is towards a minimal finish that is neat, uncluttered and creates a high-end look and feel. Shower door hardware is therefore becoming as sleek and streamlined as the door hardware seen in other areas of a property and this looks like a direction that is set to continue.
Oil dynamic hinges for shower doors are a growing trend in this market too. Not only does this solution create a minimal aesthetic, it also has many practical advantages, such as allowing for an adjustable closing speed and offering a good alternative to door closers and patch fittings.
Enabling installers to create a minimal, high-end and bespoke shower area in literally any space, glass clamps provide a clean-looking alternative to U-Channels. Helping to maintain the frameless appearance of a contemporary shower enclosure, these can be specified with square cornered and bevelled edge hinges that can be exactly matched, in a variety of finishes. Hinges with a bottom and top mount design also allow for more of the glass to show, enabling the desired minimal finish to be achieved.