Install a Door Closer

If you would like your door to close automatically, the cost for me to come out and install a door closer is calculated using the following:

  • $120 Service call to North Seattle
  • $125-500 for a door closer depending on your door and door frame.
  • $50 labor to install a door closer on either a wood or metal door
  • 50% extra on the weekend and after 6 pm.
This is a medium duty door closer I installed for an office.

Door closers are an important part of your building’s security. You can’t trust people to close the door after themselves; we’ve all been in a restaurant that didn’t have a door closer on the front door and suffered as people kept unwittingly leaving the door open on a cold and windy night as they came or left. People often seem to be wrapped up in their own thoughts and are generally inconsiderate towards lofty ideals concerning their neighbors’ comfort and security. You can’t make them shut the door. You have to do it for them.

If you want to make your building more secure it is a good idea to automate closing the door; if the door isn’t closed, the lock on the door can’t do its job. If you have a door closer installed it doesn’t matter how distracted your resident is, the door will close behind him or her and if the strike plate is installed correctly, your lock’s deadlatch will ensure that only somebody with the proper key can get in. A door closer can also keep people from opening the door too far or keep the wind from ripping the door off of its hinges.

This old potbelly door closer was no longer latching the door. That’s a problem when criminals with rap sheets a mile long are milling around on the street outside 24 hours a day waiting to come in.
Here’s a Norton 7500 to replace the old door closer. The door now latches slowly but firmly. No more needles on the floor inside!

Door closers vary in a few different ways. Concealed door closers hide within the door frame. Surface mounted door closers are mounted either on the door or on the doorframe above the door. Door closers usually cost somewhere between $125-500 depending on how heavy the door is. Really complicated door closers that have the ability to automatically open for the disabled with buttons are very expensive and require hiring a door company with an electrician.

Those drops of oil on the bottom of this door closer show that the gasket failed. This causes the door to slam because there is no pneumatic pressure as resistance anymore, just a powerful spring.

It takes about 45 minutes to replace a conventional door closer, or an hour to do a fresh installation.  Door closers generally come in two finishes: Duranotic and Aluminum.  Duranotic is a dark brown color.  You should choose whichever one matches your other door hardware.  Look at the color of the door and the door handle when deciding the color for the door closer.  They aren’t generally very attractive, but they are also up above the door where most won’t notice it anyway.

Your door closer may need replacement if the door is slamming shut or there is a dark brown/black fluid leaking out of it. When either of these conditions occur it is likely because a seal has failed inside the door closer and all of the pneumatic fluid is leaking out. This is where the quality of your door closer becomes apparent. Some door closers are not build with all weather fluid and aren’t appropriate for outdoor installation. Some door closers are not built with a lot of care at all and will only last a few years before failure. A good door closer is rated for ten years of service.

If you are interested in installing a door closer yourself, it can be done.  If the holes are already drilled correctly, it may only require a Phillips screwdriver and a few hours of your time, and maybe a stepstool and a gift for reading directions written by somebody for whom English is a second or distant third language.  It can also be done if you are mechanically inclined and can solve puzzles.  You can order a door closer off of or buy one from me and install one yourself.  Be aware that their are ADA compliance rules for how fast the door can close and how much force is required to open the door though.  Building inspectors in Seattle will require these things if they notice.

Also note that cheap door closers might not last long and people will grow to be dependent on the closer shutting the door for them. When they fail (they all fail eventually) the door might start slamming, or it might stop shutting by itself altogether. Don’t go cheap on door closers; the difference is the gaskets will last longer, the oil will work in a wider range of temperatures. The $100 you save is less than the damage incurred by somebody getting into your building who shouldn’t be there!