Last week we had a gentleman from La Porte call us complaining that they could not get a locksmith to replace an emergency exit device, rekey 4 doors to the same key, and install a push to exit paddle on an aluminum door. They also needed two commercial mortice locks repaired. He stated that this been an on going problem for over 2years! This doesn't surprise me because many of today's "locksmiths" only want the easy jobs. The quick money, so to speak. This company was engaged in the business of testing fuel oil from ocean going vessels so the environment can be harsh. The hardware that was on one door was not up to the task and this door also did not have a compatible key lock so the decision was made to replace the device and rekey the rest. The aluminum door got what it needed so that staff could easily exit and the door would relatch automatically. There were also two doors with commercial mortice locks that were not working properly and that noone could fix. Those got fixed.
These are two photos of the template from the old device. You can see that the holes are irregular and not accurately placed. This is a sign of poor installation and will inveriably lead to a failed device. Also note the different sizes. The larger size footprint was left by a larger, more industrial grade device, probably the original. The other side of the door shows the small template of a cheap replacement. Please understand, as it pertains to emergency exit hardware, you get what you pay for. Cheap NEVER lasts. One doesn't have to go all out and get the best and most expensive but, good quality exit hardware is going to cost a little bit of money! No way around it, unless you want a constant problem on your hands.
First order of business was to cover the mauled door and create a blank template upon which to work. Note the very accurate mounting holes drilled in the stainless plate. Please do not try this yourself! Accurately and cleanly drilling stainless is no easy task!!
The new device installed. It has been through bolted which most technicians don't do! This device will never fall off of this door. It is a mid range priced device but one of superb quality; made better by superior installation technique.
Sigh, this is just wrong. Notice the lever tilted upwards? When the lever is level the latch is retracted. This is not correct. Several attempts had been made to fix this. Note also the torn up strike. This does cause operational problems and will cut short the life of a lock!! I disassembled and fixed the lock/ lever and replaced some bad springs. Also replaced the strikes with new ones; properly cut to fit. This had to be done for two similiar locks.
This is an outside view of the push paddle exit latch on the double aluminum door. Picture on the right is after the cover plate has been installed. Didn't take an inside picture. oops.
This is the strike that MUST be installed with these latches! It does not come with the latch. The technician must have these!
This is NOT the strike which goes with these latches!! This WILL decrease the service life of a latch!
If you see your locksmith putting this on with this type of installation, tell him to stop!
Overall this was a good job. It took one day plus one short return trip to complete what this client could not get done for two years!! My advice to commercial clients(residential clients as well) is this. Hire a reputable company and commercial locksmith who has the desire and experience to properly install good quality security hardware and pay him what he asks. The headaches and loss potential created by choosing poor quality exit and security hardware and poor quality locksmith labor are not worth the time bickering or the money saved by shopping around for the cheapest price. In the end, the job done for the cheapest price always fails. But, no matter what I say, someone will always choose the cheap and denigrate the more costly, thinking that they are doing such a fine job. Until...that day or night when it all falls apart.