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Hydraulic Door Closer Installation: The Swing Factor

Updated on January 03, 2017

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Image from lcnclosers.com
Image from lcnclosers.com

This is an article about surface mounted hydraulic door closers.  

Most door closers have degree-of-opening specifications in their sales materials and/or installation instructions. That is to say they are designed to allow the door to open to a certain degree. See "Degree Of Opening" illustrated below:

Degree of Opening
Degree of Opening

Factors that influence degree of opening requirements include:

  • Is there an adjacent wall or other obstruction?
  • Does the door need to clear the opening to comply with the minimum 32-inches required by the ADA (American Disabilities Act) or for some other reason?

In any case, degree of opening is an important factor when selecting and installing a door closer on any opening.

Installation: "Regular" or Parallel Arm

For an explanation of regular, parallel arm and top jamb installation, please see my article on Door Closer Basics.

In regular and parallel arm installations, the installer can determine degree of opening by deciding where to place the closer on the door in relation to the hinges. Usually the nearer the unit is installed to the hinge side of the door, the farther the door will open. See manufacturers' original instructions for details.

In top jamb installations, degree of opening is more an issue of the depth of the reveal.  The reveal (illustrated below) is the distance between the face of the door and the inner surface of the door frame, or header.  

The Reveal

Image adapted from lcnclosers.com
Image adapted from lcnclosers.com

The above is an illustration of an LCN 4020 series top jamb installed door closer. In the above installation, if the reveal is 2-9/16 inches or less, the door closer can be installed to allow the door to be opened to 180 degrees. If the reveal is up to 4-13/16 inches, the door closer can be installed so that the door can be opened to only 140 degrees.  

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