Door closers are typically made out of metal, and they’re designed to slow the process of a closing doorway. Instead of slamming shut, they slowly fall back in place. They’re perfect for offices, restaurants, shopping centers, and even houses. Fortunately, they only take a few minutes to install.
Here’s a quick rundown of how to install a door closer:
- Gather the necessary tools
- Mark your holes before you drill
- Drill pilot holes
- Line up the closer with the holes and drill it in place
- Test your installation
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn a detailed installation method as well as the different tools that you need, how long door closers last, and how to maintain them effectively. Without further ado, let’s jump into the instructional guide below.
Tools to Install a Door Closer
Before you start installing your new door closer, you’ll need to gather a list of tools. Without them, you’ll run into all sorts of problems along the way. Here are the tools that you need to get the job done:
- A drill
- Drill bits (3.5mm for wood, 5.1mm for metal)
- A marker, pen, or pencil
- Cloth or rag
- A screwdriver
- Socket wrenches
You should also make sure that you’re wearing the proper safety gear, including long sleeves, goggles (especially if you’re drilling into metal or wood), gloves, and so on. The installation is short, but wood or metal debris can cause injuries if you’re not careful.
Note: Socket wrenches, hammers, and centerpunches are optional, depending on the make and model of your new door closer. They’re good if you want to make a mark on metal before you start a pilot hole, but they’re unnecessary if you’re working with a soft material.
Also, before you get started, try to figure out which door closer type is best for your office or home. There are a handful of different styles, including overhead, floor-spring, concealed, and a few others. Look through all of your options to get the one that matches what you’re trying to achieve.
Installing a Door Closer: Step-by-Step
Once you’ve gathered all of the tools that you need, it’s time to start installing your door closer. Make sure that you have plenty of working space, and don’t forget to clear off shelves and counters nearby. Dust will undoubtedly fall all over the place, coating anything near your working space.
Here are the steps to install a door closer:
- Unpack your door closer and lay all of the parts on a flat surface. You might want to grab a piece of cardboard or a large paper sheet to get everything organized. Without any extra pieces, you’ll be shorthanded if you lose anything. Also, set all of your tools out nearby as well.
- Grab the template and line it up with wherever you want it to be on the door. Almost all door closers have a template that allows you to draw an outline of where it’ll go. This also helps you find out where the holes will be, as well as whether or not the door closer will fit on your doorway.
- Line the door closer up against the outline and mark the holes with a marker, pen, or pencil. This step is crucial, so ask for help if you have to. Even one hole out of alignment can sacrifice the integrity of your door closer. It’ll break sooner than it should, or you’ll be left with a pointless hole in the door.
- (Optional) Use the center punch to mark your holes wherever you’ve put the dots with your marking pencil. This will create guidelines for you to start the pilot holes in the next step, but it also creates a pathway for your drill. If you’re used to wood and metalwork, then you already know the benefits.
- Using one of the drill bits mentioned above (3.5mm for wood, 5.1mm for metal), drill pilot holes on each marked point. Make sure that you feather or pulse the drill to prevent too much debris from coming out. Try to figure out what the inner material of your door is made out of.
- Brush off excess debris with a rag to clear your workspace. If you leave it behind, the debris can get caught in your screws and loosen the hold. Also, it can trap moisture, which leads to corrosion and rust. If you’re worried, you can use rust-proof spray on the holes prior to inserting the screws.
- Line up the door closer with the holes and drill the screws through each hole. Make sure you don’t drill them too tight, or you could strip a screw. Try to drill each screw about 50% of the way to ensure that every point is screwed in place. After that, you can go back to each one and tighten it all the way.
- Test your installation by removing all of your tools and letting the door close on its own. If you’re content with the speed that it closes, then you’re all done. However, you can adjust the latch and closing speed by rotating their respective screws. Counter-clockwise increases the speed, while clockwise reduces the closing speed.
As you can see, it’s not too complicated. As long as you have all of the necessary tools, you shouldn’t have a problem getting the job finished in less than 10 minutes. Pay close attention to each step, and you’ll guarantee a long-lasting door closer. For more information on maintenance, refer to the next section.
How to Maintain a Door Closer
Since door closers are made out of metal, they can be maintained very similarly to the way you’d maintain any other metal tools and contraptions. However, there are a few tricks to prevent them from slowing down or rusting out. To prevent any issues, try the following suggestions:
- Keep the door closer oiled, but not too much! Oil allows the metal parts to slide by each other without getting caught. However, most closers come with lubrication already, so make sure you check the surface prior to adding your own. Too much oil can make it drip or coagulate.
- Never force the door to close. Opening a door with a closer on it will be a little bit more difficult, but not enough to hinder you. If you’re feeling impatient, just let it close when you’re done with it. Forcing a door to close can make the door closer break. It puts too much stress on the parts that are designed to prevent it from slamming.
- Door closers usually last about seven years. If you’re pushing it beyond that point, it’s safe to say that you’ll experience problems. All parts have unique life expectancies, but you shouldn’t try to overwork a door closer since it might break and cause harm.
Door closers are fairly easy to install if you have all of the tools. It’s no different than any other small home renovation. Get your prep work done, mark the holes, drill the screws, and test your installation. It’s very straight forward and simple, but you’ll be able to follow this guide if you run into any technical errors.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you should’ve learned:
- Use an outline before you start marking or drilling.
- Never forget to make pilot holes before you screw in the bracket.
- Oil the door closer if the instructions call for it.
- Door closers usually last for seven years.