Ordinary doors may be classified as exterior or interior doors. Exterior doors are those that are installed in an opening in a wall that separates an interior space from outdoors. Serving as an entrance or an exit door, or both, these doors must be capable of excluding weather but usually need not be fire rated. Interior doors are those installed in an opening in a wall or partition between two interior spaces.
Such doors are not required to exclude weather but may be required to bar passage of fire and smoke.
Entrance and exit doors in exterior walls should be suitably selected and located for smooth traffic flow and safety. Choice of door movement, for example, should take into account in which direction persons are likely to turn immediately before or after they enter a doorway. Proper swing of door will not only smooth traffic flow but also reduce wear and tear on the doors by decreasing impact loading on the hardware from persons who lean on it to change directions.
Also, selection of entrance doors should take not only esthetics into account but also traffic volume. The heavier traffic volume will be, the more rugged the doors should be to withstand wear.
Water Exclusion at Exterior Doors. Exterior doors are subjected to all the effects of natural forces, as are walls and windows, including solar heat, rain, and wind.
For ordinary installations, closed doors cannot be expected to completely exclude water or stop air movement under all conditions. One important reason for this is that clearances must be provided around each door. These are necessary to permit easy operation and thermal expansion and contraction of doors.
Exterior doors, however, can be made less vulnerable to water penetration by setting them back from the building face, or by providing overhead protection, such as a canopy, marquee, or balcony. These measures also will help reduce collection of snow and ice at door thresholds. In addition, provision of an entrance vestibule is desirable, because it can serve as a weather barrier. Also, weatherstripping around doors assists in preventing passage of water and air past closed doors.
At the bottom of a door opening for an exterior door is a sill (Fig. 11.60), which forms a division between the finished floor on the inside and the outside construction.
The sill generally also serves as a step, for the door opening usually is raised above exterior grade to prevent rain from entering. The top of the sill is sloped to drain water away from the interior. Also, it may have a raised section in the plane of the door or slightly to the rear, so that water dripping from the door will fall on the slope. The raised section maybe integral with the sill or a separate threshold.
In either case, the rear portion covers the joint between sill and floor. In addition, all joints should be sealed.
Control of Air Movements at Entrances. In design of entrances to buildings,
consideration should be given to the effects in those areas of outdoor winds. These may impose pressures or suctions on exterior doors. As a result, doors may be held partly open or may be violently opened beyond their design limits and severely damaged. To avoid such occurrences, doors should be set back from the building face or provided with a wind shield. Also, design of the building facade should be checked, if necessary by wind-tunnel tests, to ensure that it will not create objectionable air movements.
Also, in tall buildings, there is likely to be a difference in air pressure between the inside and outside at entrances. This pressure results from air movements through stairways and shafts. When the building is heated in cold weather, warm air rises in the vertical passageways. When the building is cooled in warm weather, cool air flows downward through these passageways. The resulting pressure differential varies with building height and difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures.
In many cases, this stack effect causes large airflows through entrance doors, significantly increases heating and cooling loads, and may make entrancedoor operation difficult.
A commonly used means of reducing such loads is provision of an entrance vestibule with one set of doors leading outdoors and another set leading to the inside. In some cases, however, traffic flow is so great that at least one door of both sets of doors may be partly open simultaneously, permitting air to flow through the vestibule between the inside and outside of the building. Thus, the effectiveness of the vestibule is decreased. The loss of effectiveness may be reduced, however, by venting the vestibule to outdoors and providing compensating heating or cooling.
Another means of reducing air movements due to stack effect is installation of revolving doors (Art. 11.56). While in continuous contact with its enclosure, a revolving door permits entry and exit without extra force to offset the differential pressure between indoors and outdoors. (Building codes, however, require some swinging doors in conjunction with revolving doors.)
Where stack effects make operation of swinging doors difficult, operation may be made easier by hanging the doors on balanced pivots or equipping the doors with automatic operators. In some cases, it may be advantageous to replace the doors with automatic, horizontally sliding doors.
Automatic Entrances. Power-operated doors may be used to speed traffic flow at
entrances to buildings with heavy traffic volume, such as retail stores, hospitals, and public buildings. Not only are such doors convenient for persons carrying packages or pushing carts, but they also are advantageous for physically handicapped persons. The doors are activated to open fully by persons approaching when their weight is applied to a floor mat or when they are detected by microwave or optical-electronic sensors. The doors are kept open until the persons are safely past, even if traffic stops or moves slowly. (ANSI A156.10, Power-Operated Pedestrian Doors, American National Standards Institute.)
As an alternative to solid doors, an automatic entrance can be formed with an air curtain. At such an entrance, air is blown upward past a floor grate to the top of the door opening, to keep outdoor air from entering the building interior and prevent loss of interior air. Yet, human traffic can readily penetrate the curtain.