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Residential vs. Commercial Hinges: Is There a Difference?

Commercial Door Hinge

When shopping for door hardware for your business, you may find yourself looking at a mix of residential vs. commercial products. Sometimes the hardware may look very similar, so it can be tempting to invest in the residential products as they are usually less expensive. 

However, there are often critical differences in the quality and level of protection that you should consider. Here are a few of the main differences between residential and commercial hinges:

Metal Thickness and Durability

One of the primary differences between residential and commercial hinges is the thickness of the metal and its durability. Generally, commercial hinges are thicker and designed to withstand more wear and tear. 

Commercial hinges are intended to support heavier doors that are often found in commercial settings. They are also intended to withstand years of high volume use that is unique to a commercial setting. 

On the other hand, residential hinges tend to be more lightweight and are intended to support doors that are not reinforced and not as heavily used. While the metal thickness is sometimes obvious, that’s not always the case. 

Most of this durability technology isn’t obvious on the surface, but it is there nonetheless. If you attempt to use residential hinges for your commercial doors, you may end up needing to replace them far more often. 

Level of Protection

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non-profit organization that coordinates standards for products, including door hinges. They have developed a system to grade hinges between one and four, with four being the lowest grade and one being the highest. 

Grade one hinges are the best heavy-duty hinges and have been tested against specific safety and security protocols. They are the most durable, the longest-lasting, and the least susceptible to tampering. Residential hinges generally are grade three, while commercial hinges should be grade two or grade one. 

Lower-grade hinges will mean that your door is not as secure as it should be, and the hinges are far more susceptible to wear and tear.

Screw Holes

While commercial and residential hinges may look similar at first glance, when you look closely, you’ll start to notice the difference in screw hole patterns. Commercial hinges are manufactured with a half-moon pattern, while most residential hinges are manufactured with a “W” pattern. 

The screw hole pattern is a standard that all manufacturers follow to ensure continuity and compatibility with frames and doors. Residential screw hole patterns are not intended to be used with commercial doors, so make sure to pay attention when purchasing new hardware. 

You don’t want to place a large hinge order for your entire building only to find out that the screw holes aren’t what you expected and are incompatible with your doors or frames.

Permitted Uses

National building codes are very specific when it comes to things like fire ratings. Building codes prohibit the use of residential hinges on doors that are fire-rated. This rating is particularly important in settings like hospitals, hotels, and schools. 

Residential hinges simply are not strong enough to withstand the heat and pressure from a fire and can compromise the entire door. Commercial hinges have been tested to withstand fire and are critical to preserving the integrity of a fire-rated door. 

Using residential hinges on fire-rated doors is against the building code and can result in fines. In addition, it poses a risk to anyone inside the building in the case of a fire.

Don’t Roll the Dice with Residential Hinges

Even if you find the right fit and screw hole pattern, it is strongly advised that you use commercial hinges for commercial doors. Residential hinges do not meet the same testing standards as commercial hinges when it comes to durability, safety, and security. 

Most residential hinges are designed for lighter doors that are not as heavily used. They simply will not withstand the weight of a heavy commercial door, particularly if it is an entryway door or located in another high-volume area. When residential hinges fail, it can cause damage to your door and disrupt your business operations.

High-Quality Commercial Hinges

CDF Distributors produces the highest quality commercial door hinges in a variety of finishes. All of our hardware meets the highest standards in safety and security. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial hinges.

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