Storefront hardware

Q&A with Charlene Kull, corporate communications director at C.R. Laurence Co., Los Angeles
July 7, 2009
COMMERCIAL : HARDWARE

What hardware elements are common in storefront and entrance systems?

Door and sidelite rails, commercial patch hardware, spider fittings, headers and channels, access control handles, door closers (surface mounted, overhead concealed, floor mounted), pull handles, and locks and keepers. Locks can be center locks or incorporated into the top or bottom rails. ...

Recently, glaziers are going beyond installing glass and architectural hardware when creating heavy glass entrances and beginning to work with other aesthetic elements in order to expand their capabilities and to help their customers. To meet this need, C.R. Laurence is now manufacturing a wide variety of architectural and ornamental metals. ... To keep costs down, column covers (cladding) and wet and dry seal solid metal and metal composite wall and ceiling panels can be used.

How do you avoid compatibility issues with all of the various elements of a storefront system, and how do you ensure that your products specifically are compatible with the overall system?

It’s best to work with a company that has a wide range of products that fulfill all the entrance system needs. In other words, work with a single source if you can. You also want to be sure to work with a company that has an experienced technical assistance team. Our technical experts help design entrances and select the proper hardware and accessories. ... We have a complete staff of engineers that review the use of our products with products that are supplied by others, ensuring that their interaction will be successful.

How do you precisely match finishes on hardware components?

We offer a wide variety of finishes and also perform custom finishing at our manufacturing facility in Los Angeles. We can powder coat to match other elements if desired. Customers can provide either the finish designation of the product they wish to match or send a sample.

What other challenges arise during storefront applications?

Lately, architects are creating entrances that are larger and taller, and hardware limitations can be a problem. We are constantly looking for ways to meet that challenge by creating custom hardware and fittings. Architectural systems and related hardware also need to be code compliant, another area where technical experts are a huge assistance.

What products have you released to meet storefront hardware trends?

Our Locking Ladder Pulls, mentioned previously, are very popular. There is a growing trend to use our exclusive Wedge-Lock Dry Glazed Door Rail System. It is easy to install and because dry glazing is involved, glass can be installed and replaced in the field. We also offer a low profile version, our response to architects’ desire for smaller but fully functional rails. These rails are able to work with a variety of closers and also have locking capabilities.

Our Stacking Partition System provides a versatile option for moveable ‘all-glass’ walls and entrances. The SPS features CRL’s exclusive Intelli-Track Roller to provide directional control and direct panels to the proper track. Glass panels can be simply stacked against an end wall or stored out of sight in a “parking closet.” We will soon be introducing a new version of this system that allows any of the panels to either slide and stack along with the other panels or to easily convert to pivoting entrance doors.

We also launched Storefronts Online, our exclusive, Web-based program that generates hardware lists, elevation drawings and glass sizes from field measurements. Read more about Storefronts Online.