Door protection is applied to the surface of a door to help prevent damage to the surface finish of the door. It is used most often in institutional and commercial buildings since these types of buildings see significant wear and tear to doors. If people use their feet to open doors or if they use carts and other objects to push open a door, then door protection should be considered. There are a number of options available, depending on what type of protection is required.
Kick plates are used where a door may be pushed open with a foot. By definition, kick plates are attached to the push-side of a door. Kick plates come in a variety of heights from 10" tall to 16" tall and are usually manufactured in 2" increments. It is recommended that kick plates be 16" tall in any space where a wheelchair is used so that the foot rests come in contact with the plate.
Armor plates are used where carts are pushed through doors. As with kick plates, armor plates are always installed on the push-side of the door. The two most common sizes are 36" tall and 42" tall, but they come in sizes from 18" to 48" (usually in 2" increments.) Armor plates on fire rated doors must be tested, labeled, and installed properly.
Mop plates are installed on the pull-side of the door. Since the pull-side of the door usually doesn't receive the abuse of feet or carts, a smaller plate is installed to take the bumps and dings from mops or vacuum cleaners. Mop plates are typically 6" tall, but also come in 4" and 8" heights.
Stretcher plates are applied to either side of the door and protect the middle part of the door. As the name suggests, stretcher plates are typically used in hospitals to protect the door in the area where a stretcher or hospital bed will crash into it. Installation height and the size of the plate vary based on the types of gurneys used in the facility.
Protection Plate Width
In general, protection plates on single doors are sized to be 2" less than the width of the door and the plates are centered on the door panel. Protection plates for pairs of doors are cut to be 1" less than the width of the door panels and are centered on each panel. It is important to confirm this criteria with the building owner since some institutions have different requirements.
Push plates are installed on non-latching doors where a person simply pushes the door open without having to use a knob or handle - this prevents oils and dirt from damaging the door finish. The size of push plates varies, but they are usually 8" wide by 16" tall for flush doors. Where a stile-and-rail door is installed, 4" wide push plates are used.
Edge guards protect the ends of a door panel. They are useful where doors are held open or where objects tend to get in the way of a closing door. There are two types of edge guards: caps and angles. Angles are L-shaped and will protect only one corner of the door edge, while caps are U-shaped and will protect the both corners of the door edge. The edge guards will have cut-outs for other hardware (latches, bolts, hinges, etc.) where needed. Typical heights for edge protection are 36" and 42" - full height edge protection is only installed where specifically needed to help reduce cost.
Door edges are typically surface applied, but they can also be mortised into the door so that the door edge is flush with the face of the door. Door edges that are surface applied may also be shaped to overlap mop, kick, or armor plates.
Materials for Door Protection
Door protection is available in plastic or metal. Common metals are stainless steel, aluminum, diamond plate, and brass. Plastic door protection is usually either PVC (vinyl) or acrylic. Thicknesses of the sheets varies, but can be anywhere from 0.050" up to .125" thick.
Door Protection for Rated Doors
NFPA 80: Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, indicates that protection plates can be applied to the bottom 16" of a door panel (one or both sides). Plates over 16" in height may affect the fire protection, but are allowed as long as they have been tested and approved. A label is required for any protection plate where the top of the plate is 16" or more above the bottom of the door.