Pathfinder Church finds an Easy Way to Update Exterior Entrances

Originally dedicated in 1959, the home of Pathfinder Church has seen a lot of change in the last half-century. A couple of major additions were added as membership grew along with the community, and several minor refresh projects were undertaken along the way. But by 2013, with changes in technology and worship styles, the time had come for a major update to the sanctuary.
Included in the renovation plan was the removal of two walls flanking the stage, which would expose to the seated congregation, a view of two emergency exit doors. At some point more than twenty years ago the original doors were replaced with Special-Lite SL-16 Aluminum Flush doors. These doors, while a little beat up, were still perfectly functional, but in their newly exposed locations, they needed to be replaced. Having enjoyed decades of trouble-free service from the SL-16 doors, Pathfinder naturally wanted to stay with Special-Lite Doors for the replacements.

Preparing the Openings for New Doors

The original hollow metal frames were still structurally sound but had shifted over the years to become out of plumb and square. Removing the frames carried the risk of damaging adjoining original brick and block walls, which would require expensive repairs and delays in a very tight project timeline and budget.
To prepare the exterior openings for new doors, Special-Lite Insert Frames were used. The insert frame sits inside of, and anchors to, the existing hollow metal frame, which allows it to be shimmed as required to bring each opening back to a plumb and square condition.
Old door and original frame on left, new insert frame on the right
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Insert frame and capping system

The Perfect Door–Either Way You Look At It

With the inside of the new exterior doors immediately adjacent to the pews, our SL-19 Rustic Wood Grain Door was a natural choice, in an oak stain finish to match the woodwork in the sanctuary. But for the outside of these doors, our SL-17 FRP door with through-colored face sheets matching the exterior trim was the better choice. Fortunately for Pathfinder Church, Special-Lite can do that. The new doors installed were hybrid FRP doors that meet their needs perfectly.
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Exterior view of new door

Application:
Worship Facility
Location:
Portage, MI
Products:  

SL-19 Rustic Wood Grain FRP/Aluminum Hybrid Doors

SL-17 Pebble Grain FRP/Aluminum Hybrid Doors

Insert Frame with Capping System

Special-Lite Customer:
Reliable Glass Installers
Special-Lite Sales Representative:
The Eisen Group

More:

Download Pathfinder Case Study PDF
The Landing: Creating an Experience One Door at a Time
Fire-Rated Doors 101
How to Refinish Wood Grain FRP Doors

The Landing: Creating an Experience One Door at a Time

How do you design a restaurant that is as beautiful as the shores of Northern Lake Michigan, and as welcoming as your favorite local hangout? How do you enable a venue to stay as fresh and appetizing as the great food it serves its customers, all while battling a high-moisture environment and high-volume traffic? The Landing Restaurant in Charlevoix, Michigan shows us how.
Preston Parish, Owner of The Landing, decided to create a delightful experience for the community with these goals in mind. He accomplished this by making wise product selections, one door at a time, that would enhance the surrounding ambiance of this favored destination.
Doors are an important element to the building envelope because they welcome every visitor that visits the establishment. They may seem minimal compared to the food and hospitality created by the hosts of this fast-growing establishment, but they are the one building component that every visitor will touch.
beach-restaurant-doors-entrance
The main entrance of a restaurant has many functions beyond separating the inside of the building from the outside weather, temperature, and unwanted visitors such as animals and intruders. The doors in the main entrance should reflect the brand of the restaurant, whether that be in size, color, texture or style. A “one-off” restaurant, such as The Landing, may choose to have the main entrance door designed specifically for that location or the owner’s preference.
The selection process will change for a chain of restaurants. For example, a chain of restaurants may want to have a recognizable entrance – or signature entrance – so traveling patrons will recognize their favorite restaurant in other cities. The main entrance must also be engineered for high performance, as the doors must continue to function properly even through max-capacity traffic levels. The front entrance should also be easy to maintain and have low maintenance requirements, enabling it to remain as attractive as the beautifully plated meals served inside the restaurant.
aluminum-doors-beach-restaurant
The Landing restaurant chose painted white aluminum stile and rail doors manufactured by Special-Lite, Inc. These doors feature a lifetime warranty on the tie-rod and corner clip construction. In high traffic areas, the corners are the typical location of door failure.
Many restaurants have side entrances to perform as exit-only doors, but some also serve as access doors to attractive outdoor eating areas. These doors may match the main entrance or have a coordinating design. Although these side openings may not see the foot traffic that the main entrance does, they must also function smoothly, be easily cleaned, and have low maintenance requirements. Many times, food servers must open these doors hands-free to deliver food and beverages to patrons.
One important feature on a side entrance used to access an outside eating area is to enhance visibility. Seeing what is on the other side of the door is an important safety feature– to the user as well as the unsuspecting person standing on the other side.
aluminum-doors-stile-and-rail-restaurant-design
On the lake side, The Landing chose to match the front entrance with a painted white aluminum stile and rail door with a mid-rail. The painted aluminum surface is easy to clean and offers protection from corrosion in a wet environment.
restaurant-interior-design
The back door or service entrance of a restaurant is generally located at the back of the building and is the utility door used for delivery of food, equipment, and as an employee entrance. Even though this opening lacks the foot traffic from patrons, the action it does receive can be abusive. From the rigors of deliveries on handcarts to offering a secure door to keep unwanted or uninvited guests from entering – this door needs to be strong, resistant to dents and scratches, have low maintenance requirements and be easy to clean. This work-horse door also needs to match the building’s design and be available in extra wide sizing.
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The Landing chose a Special-Lite wood grain textured FRP/Aluminum hybrid door for the natural look of wood without all the disadvantages of a regular wood door. They also went one step further and asked Special-Lite to ‘plank’ the corrosion-resistant FRP for that beachy feel.
In a restaurant, there are always patron restrooms. No one needs to be reminded how important these doors are to a customer. Patrons commonly infer clean restroom = clean kitchen. For an establishment to communicate that cleanliness is important, the restrooms HAVE to be clean. All architectural products for this very important room should be selected with easy cleaning as a priority.
The Landing knew this and wanted more coastal charm on the interior of their restaurant, so they again chose to use the Special-Lite wood grain textured FRP/Aluminum hybrid door– this time in a stained finish with the same ‘plank’ style.
wood-restroom-doors-plank-frp-fiberglass
Some may feel that doors are no match for a delicious lobster roll or citrus cured salmon florets– or above all– the relaxing social experience on this beautiful shoreline, but at The Landing, even the doors support the brand and the experience that Parish sought to create.
“We knew that the location, being near the water with the humidity, could be corrosive and harsh on the building products we used. We also believed the level of activity we generated would place a significant demand on the architecture and facility. These reasons are exactly why we chose Special-Lite for our building entries and other framing and partitioning solutions”, Parish explained.
The building, the setting, the food and the friendliness consistently draws loyal patrons, friends, and tourists to this gem located on Lake Charlevoix, near the Lake Michigan shoreline. They all enter this experience through a well-thought-out and professionally manufactured Special-Lite door.
landing-lakeside-restaurant-design

PART 1 of 3 – Proof vs. Resistant & Forced Entry (Intrusion) Resistance

There is a growing need to create entrances in our schools, businesses, and government facilities that are blast, bullet, intrusion, and storm resistant. It is sad to think that we live in a time where we need to design entrance solutions for keeping our families and property safe, but we must continually innovate to overcome the threats that present themselves in daily life. Within this growing segment of the industry, we find a new set of labels, terminology, and testing standards. At times these can get quite confusing and misleading. However, they do not need to be if you have a good understanding of a few key terms.

Proof vs. Resistant

Have you ever heard someone say that an object was Something Proof and in reality, it should have been Something Resistant? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of proof is: “Able to withstand something damaging; resistant.” Ok, that makes sense… until you look up the definition of resistant in the same dictionary. That definition goes something like this: “Opposed to something; wanting to prevent something from happening.” So, proof or resistant, tomato or tomato? They should mean the same thing, not exactly. The “proof” is in the pudding. Yes, bulletproof sounds more impressive than bullet resistant. Using the term bulletproof is an absolute statement and not an entirely factual statement. At the end of the day, if someone or something wants in, the laws of physics will work against you. If something is big enough, powerful enough, hard enough, wet enough, fast enough– you get the picture– it’s coming in. For this reason, I would rather see the term “resistant” used in all descriptions having anything to do with bullet, blast, intrusion or storm rated entrance systems.

What is Intrusion Resistance?

If you are looking for solutions that would slow down a perpetrator from gaining access to your building, one of the options is to add intrusion resistant glazing to your entrance. The definition of intrusion is; “the act or an instance of intruding; an unwelcome visit.” Intrusion resistant products are also commonly called attack resistant or forced entry resistant.

Intrusion Resistance Testing

There are several test standards used depending on the approval. The most common are ASTM and UL (Underwriters Laboratories), and the U.S. State Department forced entry test. Also, some state correction facilities utilize their own set of standards. Some companies are trying to “update” the current standards that would better represent current conditions. Depending on the data that you look at, the national average for the police to respond to a 911 call is between 6 and 10 minutes. The goal of an intrusion resistant entrance system is to delay intruders from gaining access until the cavalry arrives. These systems may or may not be bullet resistant but remember the object here is to delay the intruder from gaining access to the facility not to stop a bullet.

Intrusion Resistant Glass and Glazing

There are two innovative variations of intrusion resistant glazing that can be utilized for this requirement. One option is a patent pending product that slows down intruders up to twelve minutes before gaining access. The laminated glass comes in 5/16″ and 1″ insulated. This glass is a bit more expensive but provides all the benefits of a glass vision lite that an end user may prefer. The second option is a clear polycarbonate that has a scratch resistant coating. I strongly suggest packing a lunch if you are trying to break through this material. You can literally go after it with a sledgehammer and not break it! This polycarbonate is an inexpensive solution for intrusion resistance.

A Complete Forced-Entry Resistant System

It is important to note that the glazing material is only one aspect of an intrusion resistant system. The doors and vision lite kits used to hold this glazing material are just as important. They must all work as a system to counteract the threat. When selecting intrusion resistant products, it is important that you choose intrusion-resistant doors, frames, glazing, and vision lite kits. Manufacturers typically reinforce vision lite kits with more fasteners and material to allow the system to withstand a threat. I know what you’re thinking: More fasteners? No one is going to buy that! Well, just because there are more fasteners doesn’t mean you have to see them! Some companies have developed ingenious ways of disguising their intrusion resistant glazing kits so to the average person it does not look reinforced.

Stay Tuned

Read the rest of this blog series to find out why it’s important to direct attention to testing standards when explaining the levels of protection or comparing products!

More from this Series:

Part 2 of 3: Hurricane and Storm Resistance Part 3 of 3: Bullet Resistance, Blast Resistance, and How to Choose a Level of Protection

Project Profile: Newark USD Discovered the High Cost of Inexpensive Hollow Metal Doors

newarkisd-01 Many years ago, the Newark, California, public school system in the east bay area near San Francisco was struggling with chronic graffiti problems, high entrance maintenance costs, and frequent door replacements. They were searching for answers when Director of Facilities Larry Mara learned about Special-Lite® FRP Doors at a trade show. Larry thought they looked durable, so he decided to try four pairs on the toughest location in the system — the field-side gymnasium doors on the Junior High. Students were always kicking these doors open which destroyed hollow metal doors in mere months. The district had to paint most of their school doors almost annually, driving up maintenance costs. As Newark USD was getting close to passing a bond issue for renovations and new construction, Larry met with a Special-Lite sales rep. Larry had appreciated the SL-17’s ability to resist vandalism and reduce maintenance costs, so he worked to specify Special-Lite as the district “no-sub” standard exterior door for both replacement and new construction.

Custom Colors Add More Life

newark-inside-frp-doors Like many school systems in California, Newark USD has a district standard color which appears on lockers, chairs, wall panels, and many other furnishings, including interior and exterior doors. Special-Lite painted early Newark orders to match the district’s light blue standard color. When the bond issue passed, and hundreds of Special-Lite Doors were specified, Special-Lite created a custom-matched through-and-through colored FRP in “Newark Blue.” Special-Lite can offer custom FRP colors for orders of 100 doors or more.  

Easy Cleaning FRP

To control their graffiti problem, Newark made it a policy to remove it within 24 hours. Quick removal discourages repeat attacks, and the SpecLite 3® FRP face sheets on the SL-17 made this easy to do without damaging the door finish. As a result, Newark has virtually eliminated its graffiti problem.

Bond Issues Don’t Pay for Maintenance

newark-frp-school-doors In 2003, the “test doors” on the gym were still in service. Larry Mara had retired, and the new Director of Facilities David Goldin was presiding over a major retrofit project involving the installation of more than 600 SL-17 FRP Doors with 10-32 Insert Frames on ten schools in the system. New construction has since pushed the total door count past 700.  Mr. Goldin has moved on to the San Francisco Public Schools, where he has said he plans to continue solving entrance problems with Special-Lite FRP Doors.
“The bond program doesn’t pay for maintenance. We’re building all these new buildings but the bond program doesn’t add one new custodian to the program. This district made a decision to spend more money on certain products, bathroom partitions, Corian bathroom wall panels, FRP doors… things that will minimize the need for more custodians, because the money is not there.” – David Goldin
Even when school systems are successful in passing a bond measure to fund the construction of new schools, it won’t solve the problem of escalating operating and maintenance costs, unless building products and systems are specified that can reduce maintenance requirements while delivering longer service life, to provide the lowest possible lifecycle cost. Newark USD found that for exterior entrances, the right spec is the Special-Lite® SL-17 FRP Door.
 Click here to view or save the PDF!

Fire-Rated Doors 101: Learn More about Commercial FRP Fire Doors

If you love one or all of our Special-Lite fiberglass doors, did you know we have a harmonizing fire-rated model available too?

Special-Lite is the manufacturing leader for fiberglass doors. In 35+ years, we migrated from the first and best fiberglass school door into many markets and industries – all having unique door needs. One of those needs is a fire-rated fiberglass door to use in rated entrance locations to match our door products. We solved this need through engineering and by challenging our expert craftspeople to manufacture fire-rated fiberglass doors and frames. They are perfect for new construction or retrofit projects.

We offer two fire-rated fiberglass door types: FRP/Stainless Steel & Fiberglass

What? Yes, both construction types use FRP face sheets, but the construction method and design are different. It is important that you understand the unique construction methods so you can select the type best suited to your location.

FRP/Stainless Steel Fire-Rated Door

Special-Lite builds FRP/Stainless Steel fire-rated doors using a fire-resistant mineral core in 30, 45, 60, and 90-minute rated versions. We chemically bond FRP face sheets to this mineral core. We screw-apply the stainless edges, then weld and buff the corners. Stainless steel vision lite kits are also an available option!

Our fiberglass fire doors are hand measured throughout the entire process to ensure we meet specifications. Custom-built punches used by skilled craftspeople deliver precision edge preps on the stainless steel edge pieces. These punches prep for hardware such as mortise locks, strikes, and flush bolts.

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Below you can see a graphic representation of the FRP/Stainless Steel fire-rated door’s construction. Fire-rated cores are ordered to fit specifications and are reinforced on the top, bottom, and hardware areas. The stainless steel door edge is durable and protects the door edge from damage involving gym bags, suitcases, hospital beds, and equipment.

fire-door-wood  

Fiberglass Fire-Rated Door 

Our other fiberglass fire-rated door construction does not utilize stainless steel door edges. We construct these doors with a fire-rated mineral core featuring edge blocking for superior screw hold performance. We again chemically bond FRP face sheets to the mineral cores. You can order these fiberglass fire-rated doors in many size variations, with fire ratings from 20 to 90 minutes.

  all-fiberglass-fire-01 cross-section-01  

In the drawing above notice the pultruded fiberglass fire-rated door frame! When you combine this pultruded fiberglass fire-rated framing with our fiberglass fire-rated door, you will enjoy a beautiful, complete and cohesive entry system!

Both the Fiberglass Fire-Rated Door and the FRP/Stainless Steel Fire-Rated Door construction uses our .120” thick fiberglass face sheets giving our customers many options:

fire-door-chart
  1. AMP Wood Grain (Fiberglass) Face Sheet We are very excited to offer you a faux wood grain fire-rated door, the Fire-Rated AMP-Clad SL-22! A wood grain look presents many design opportunities for a warm and home-like feel without sacrificing the durability of FRP.  This door is perfect for hospitals, long-term care facilities, retirement residences, hotels, educational housing, places of worship, and traditional education buildings. If your design team has chosen to use our SL-19 flush or SL-18 colonial doors, the SL-22 is the fire door for you! Below is a photo featuring a hotel with this door!
amp-fire-door-woodgrain
  1. Pebble Grain SpecLite 3® FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester) Face Sheet Our most popular FRP face sheet is used on both the SL-21 and the FR-20P/45P/60P/90P fire doors. The pebble grain FRP face sheet, our proprietary SpecLite 3®, unlike competitors’ pebble grain FRP sheets has a mylar coating. This coating provides scratch and graffiti resistance, as well as making doors incredibly easy to clean. This face sheet is available in 12 standard thru-color options. This option is the perfect choice for any location experiencing hard use or abuse. Also, this is the same face sheet used on the SL-17 and the AF-217 non-fire-rated doors so our customers may coordinate as required.
  2. Sandstone Textured FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester) Face Sheet You’ll find the sandstone texture FRP face sheet on both the SL-23 and the FR-20S/45S/60S/90S fire doors. The sandstone textured FRP face sheet provides a smoother look than the pebble grain for applications such as schools, childcare centers, hospitals, and industrial buildings. This face sheet is available in all 9 standard thru-color options. Also, this is the same face sheet used on the SL-20 and AF-220 door non-fire-rated doors so our customers may coordinate as desired.
  3. Smooth FRP Face Sheet We use our smooth FRP face sheet on only one of our fire-rated doors – the FR-20/45/60/90. This option provides a beautiful, sleek, modern, and easily cleanable surface. Hermetically sealed with no cracks or crevices, these fire doors are impervious to moisture, chemicals, and bacteria. Standard color selections include 10 standard colors, and the option to use custom colors. All finishes are industrial two-part aliphatic polyurethane, which meets USDA qualifications for incidental food contact. These fire-rated doors are perfect for food prep areas, schools, fitness centers, and pharmaceutical applications. We also think you could get creative with the modern look and color selection and use this durable door for a variety of industries or buildings. Gloss black in an upscale hotel, anyone? This smooth fiberglass fire-rated door works seamlessly with the AF-100 and AF-200!

Our fire-rated doors are compatible with a wide variety of hardware. Particularly relevant is the ability to have surface vertical rods less bottom rods on our FRP/Stainless Steel models, which is preferable by hospitals. Hardware compatibility for both fire-rated constructions is listed below:

hardware-compatibility-fire-rated

Complete Fire-Rated Entrance (Door & Frame)

Complete your fiberglass fire-rated entrance with a pultruded fiberglass frame that cannot rust or corrode! If you cannot replace the existing fire-rated frames, ask about Special-Lite’s insert frame and capping system for your retrofit project. Confused? Don’t be. Just call and let us help you select the perfect door and frame for your fire-rated location.