LaForce Door Handing Guide

Door handing describes the direction that a door swings and which side of the door the hinges are located. Many times, door industry nomenclature may seem simple, yet can become complicated based on the intricacy of an opening. Even a simple term like “handing” can be more complicated than meets the eye! This week, Dylan Watkins (LaForce Building Products Consultant in Milwaukee) breaks down the terminology and describes some common missteps.

LaForce Door Handing Guide

Most situations can be described with four handing types: Left Hand, Right Hand, Left Hand Reverse and Right Hand Reverse. A “standard” (Left Hand or Right Hand) vs. “reverse” (Left Hand Reverse or Right Hand Reverse) handing is determined by the key side of the door. If you are viewing the door opening where the key enters the lock, and the door swings away from you, this is a “standard” swing.  If you are viewing the door opening where the key enters the lock, and the door swings towards you, this is a “reverse” handing.

In addition to specifying correct handings, complex openings – such as openings with a panic device, a mortise lock, paired door openings, or double-egress door openings – may require additional description. It is important to ask more questions, which can include:

  • Is there panic hardware or fire exit hardware? If so, the door is always described as a “reverse” door because the hardware is always out-swinging.
  • Is there a mortise lockset? If using a mortise lockset in the door, a “reverse” handing can make a big difference in the prep of the door. If the mortise lockset has no escutcheon plate yet a keyed cylinder, the door could be prepped with the cylinder hole on the incorrect side of the door, if the handing is not specified correctly! This is a costly mistake, as a new door will need to be manufactured.
  • If the door is a paired opening, which leaf is active? Along with the handing, you must note which door is the active leaf. The active leaf is the leaf with the lockset, while the inactive leaf may have flushbolts or other top or bottom latching hardware. If both leafs have the same hardware, it is known as “both leafs active.”
  • Double-egress pairs have one leaf that swings toward you and one that swings away. These are typically described as Right Hand/Right Hand, but also can be provided as Left Hand/Left Hand. If a double-egress door opening uses panic devices, both leaves should be described as “reverse” handings.

Other considerations related to door handing:

  • Commercial and residential contractor languages are not the same! Residential contractors use a simple method of determining door handing known as “butt-to-butt.” If your butt is against the hinges, do you open the door using your left or right hand? This works for a few instances, but as detailed above: You can’t always be sure. Always ask multiple questions to ensure a proper application.
  • Door closers are only described as Right Hand or Left Hand, as door closers are not affected by the complexity of reverse door swings. Double-Acting door closers are non-handed.
  • Some hardware is non-handed or can be handed in the field. A door should still be described appropriately to eliminate any errors.
  • Most paired openings are commonly supplied as Right Hand or Right Hand Reverse, because of the flow of traffic. Even if this is the industry standard, it is still good to verify prior to ordering.

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Electric Strikes vs. Electrified Locks – Differences and Applications

Building owners and managers prioritize security when undertaking new construction projects and building remodels. Electrified hardware is a popular tool for such needs. Let’s take a look at two common electrified hardware items – electric strikes and electrified locks – to learn the differences and applications!

Special thanks to Scott Cooper, a Security Integration Technical Analyst at LaForce, and Shawn Boerst, a LaForce Specifications Consultant, for providing technical expertise. Click the image for a full-size version. LaForce Inc Electric Strikes vs Electrified Locks Differences and Applications



Helpful Related Links

Door, Frame, and Hardware Glossary
Electrified Hardware
12V or 24V in Electrified Hardware
Handling Division 28 Specifications

Wood Doors in Exterior Applications

We have supplied and installed many beautiful wood doors over the years! LaForce is one of the largest suppliers of interior wood doors in the nation, and can provide products from all major manufacturers. Exterior wood doors are less common, due to cost and maintenance requirements, but LaForce can also supply these products. Let’s review a couple key concepts regarding exterior wood door applications.

LaForce Inc supplied these beautiful hollow metal exterior doors with a wood-like finish.
LaForce Inc supplied these beautiful hollow metal exterior doors with a wood-like finish.


Most manufacturers in the wood door industry do not warranty exterior wood doors. In some cases, a manufacturer will include only a one year warranty for an exterior wood door.  For this reason, LaForce will typically recommend wood door placement only in building interiors.


Churches and historical buildings often feature gorgeous exterior wood doors. These doors are often customized and require a continuous re-finishing schedule.


In some cases, LaForce will recommend a hollow metal door with a finish or cover that has the “look” of wood. This finish is available for an added cost, but can be less costly than an authentic wood door. Above is an example of a hollow metal exterior door that LaForce supplied with a wood-like finish – it has the aesthetic appeal of wood, without the added maintenance costs. Below is a picture of a church door that LaForce supplied. The finished product is actually a hollow metal set of doors with a wood-grained finish!

Contact a Laforce sales representative for a quote or questions! LaForce can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

This blog was originally published on 09/20/2013 and was updated on 12/01/2016. 

LaForce Inc Wood Church Door
LaForce Inc supplied these hollow metal church doors with a wood-grained finish.


What’s the Difference? Cylindrical Locks vs. Mortise Locks

In this week’s blog, we explore the differences and applications between two types of locks commonly used in commercial construction environments: cylindrical and mortise.

Special thanks to Mike Morse, a LaForce Building Products Consultant, and Bill Nusbaum, LaForce’s Architectural Services Manager.

Cylindrical Lock Example:







Mortise Lock Example: 









As you read through this chart, make sure you reference our handy Glossary for any unfamiliar terminology! Click the image for a full version. 




Door Frame Anchor Types, Definitions, and Applications

An anchor attaches a door frame to the surrounding structure. There are many types – here are some of the most common! Special thanks to Ben Hallett of LaForce’s Hollow Metal team, and Kristi Dietz, LaForce’s Engineering Training Manager, for providing technical expertise. For help on terminology, reference our Door, Frame, and Hardware Glossary.

Compression Anchors

Compression Anchor LaForce IncCompression anchors are supplied on knock-down (not welded), afterset frames. This frame type is typically used on stud walls that have already been drywalled. These anchors are attached to the frame jambs before the frame is shipped and ensure a tight fit of the three frame pieces – head, strike jamb, and hinge jamb – when the frame is installed.

Masonry Anchors 

masonry-wire-anchor masonry-t-anchorThese are used on frames mounted to a masonry block wall. They are attached to the frame in-field so that they can be positioned between the concrete masonry unit (CMU) blocks as the wall is constructed. The picture on the far left is considered a “masonry wire anchor” and the picture to the right of it is a “masonry “T” anchor.”

Steel Stud Anchors (SSA)

ssa-snap-in-anchorThese are used on frames mounted to steel stud walls. The frame is secured to the stud before the wall is finished with drywall. This anchor type can be supplied loose (then snapped into the frame throat in-field) or it can be welded to the back of the frame throat. The anchor pictured is a snap-in sample, which can also be used as reinforcement for an EWA anchor.

Wood Stud Anchors (WSA)

ssa-wsa-snap-in-anchorThese are almost the same as the steel stud anchor with one primary difference: The anchor includes straps, which are used to wrap and secure it to the wood stud during installation. The anchor pictured is a snap-in sample, which can also be used as reinforcement for an EWA anchor.

Existing Wall Anchors (EWA)

ewa-snap-inExisting wall anchors are used on frames mounted to existing walls. Frames are pierced and “dimpled” (countersunk), typically in the soffit, so that a fastener can be inserted to secure the frame to the wall. (Fasteners vary by wall type; typically, expansion bolts, tapcons, machine bolts, and wood screws are used.) Inside the frame throat is a metal piece, which acts as reinforcement and guide (for the fastener) as the frame is secured in place. This metal piece can be supplied loose (snap-in type) or welded to the back of the frame throat. There are many types of EWA’s. This picture shows a snap-in type that is sometimes called a “butterfly clip.”

We will not post a new blog this Thursday, due to Thanksgiving. Instead, enjoy this throwback blog from 2015Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

What to Expect – Working with LaForce to Complete Your Project

General Contractors (GC) put their trust in LaForce to complete their projects quickly and efficiently. Our highly trained and detail-oriented teams have experience with all types of commercial projects, large and small, to ensure that each project is managed to achieve the highest standards from start to finish.

After a contractor awards a project to LaForce, we quickly put together submittals. From there, the GC and project architect work closely with our team of engineers to answer any applicable questions and approve the final products and quantities. The sooner we receive this approval, the faster we can order materials.

Choose LaForce for our specialized team of experts. We will communicate every step of the way on your project, ensuring a smooth path to project completion. This includes security integration, an installation team, and knowledgeable sales staffCall us with any questions or concerns!

LaForce Inc Submittal Process


How to Shim a Door Infographic

There are several ways to shim a door that will move it in the desired direction. To adjust the clearance between the door and frame, take the steps outlined in our new infographic. Note that for a rated door, a metal shim is required.

Click the picture for a larger, PDF version. More maintenance tips can be found here, and a compilation of our infographics is located here.

This blog was originally published on 2/18/2013 and was updated on 11/14/2016. 

LaForce Inc How to Shim a Door Infographic