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The Real Reason Doors Are Heavy

The Real Reason Doors Are Heavy

Heavy Door?

Doors are everywhere (of course)...but take a second to think about how many times you were surprised at the effort it took to swing it open. The countless times that you walked through the door and thought, "geez, that was really heavy." 

That heavy bathroom door at your office? The weight of the commercial door is not a factor but rather the amount of resistance the door closer provides. The door closer is the device mounted at the top of the door and is responsible for controlling how much effort is required to open the door.

If an interior door closer resistance is adjusted to the ADA standard of 5 pounds or less, then the user will be able to easily open the door with their hand (or foot while using StepNpull®.) If, however, an excessive amount of effort is required to open the door, the door closer resistance should be reduced to the minimum amount practical. There is virtually no reason a facility should have an internal door that is hard to open. Heavy doors are an avoidable and easily fixed issue.

ADA compliance is key for proper business ethics and procedure. Photo from

ADA Compliance and Why You Need to Know About It

ADA compliance isn't just important for proper business ethics, it's the lawThe Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. 

Doors present some of the most common accessibility issues. They may be too “heavy” and require too much force to open. Those doors are especially difficult for people with disabilities and seniors with limited upper body strength and/or skills in using their hands. They may close too quickly for some people to pass through easily. People who move slowly or use mobility devices like wheelchairs or walkers may not be able to pass through fast enough.

"Since ADA compliance is the law, and enforceable on any public facility, it's key that the door closer tension is adjusted properly."

Public facilities and their management need to be proactive and review their buildings to make sure it is ADA compliant. It is important to have a policy, procedure, and proper accommodations in place for everyone that could potentially visit the facility. Failure to cooperate with ADA standards could be a lawsuit waiting to happen. 

The Enforcers

The Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy provides publications and other technical assistance on the requirements of the ADA. In addition to the Department of Labor, Four federal agencies enforce the ADA:

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB) issues guidelines to ensure that buildings, facilities, and transit vehicles are accessible and usable by people with disabilities.

ADA design standards for commercial doors. Photo from ADA.

How to Adjust the Door Closer

Having a properly adjusted door closer is important for using StepNpull. The ADA standard of 5 pounds maximum pull-force makes using StepNpull easy. When installed on a door without the proper adjustments, more force is needed to open the door with your foot. 

The tension can easily be adjusted on the door closer with the turn of an Alan key. (Click here for full instructions on how to properly adjust the door closer, courtesy of the ADA Network.) 

  1.  Measure door opening force and closing speed

    • The best way to measure the door opening force is by using a door force (pressure) gauge. To use simply push the gauge against the door until it opens. (Life Hack: You can also use a mechanical fish scale. Simply use the hook to pull the door open. The drawback is you have to read the scale while simultaneously pulling the door open.)

    • Interior doors should require no more than 5 lbs. of force to open. This does not apply to the initial force needed to overcome the weight of a motionless door. Open the door gradually; do not “jerk” it open.

    • The closing or swing speed must not be faster than five seconds.

  2. Adjust the latch or swing speed

    • Use a 1/8-inch Allen wrench or screwdriver in the appropriate screw. Turn clockwise to reduce speed, counterclockwise to increase the speed. ("S"- Swing Speed: is the adjustment for the long swing of the door, "L"- Latch Speed: adjustment for the short final swing of the door.)

  3. Further adjustments 

    • To achieve the 5 lbs. the maximum force required you may need to experiment with the swing speed and the foot or shoe adjustment. 

    • Foot or shoe adjustment: In the standard position, the mounting hole is at the normal dimension. By rotating the foot or shoe, the adjustable arm can be offset to provide a large power increase. For closers with a two-hole shoe, you can move the adjustable arm closer to the hinge side of the door, increasing the power up to 15%. With a closer with a three-hole shoe, you can increase the power up to 7.5% by moving the arm from the center position to the hinge side of the door. Moving the arm from the center position to the latch side of the door can decrease the power as much as 7.5%.

Door power and swing speed can be easily adjusted on the door closer. Photo from the ADA National Network

Foot or shoe adjustment can provide a large increase in power. Photo from the ADA National Network

StepNpull does not interfere with ingress/egress and is ADA compliant. Be responsible and make sure your public facilities are accessible to everyone. It only takes a few tools and less than five minutes. 

StepNpull® is a foot-operated door opener that works on any commercial solid core wood or metal door.

Each StepNpull® hands-free door opener comes complete with mounting screws, door decal, and installation instructions. International shipping. ( StepNpull® Canada orders please visit

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