Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 22, 2017

The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors. Here's what happens when a maglock is improperly installed to an existing glass door:

Unlike wood or steel doors that can be modified to work with electrified locking hardware, glass doors present great challenges. Is all hope lost when requirements call for controlling glass doors? We explain the options and tradeoffs inside.

[IPVM Note: This report was originally published in 2013, but substantially expanded and updated in 2017.]

Problem Defined

Retrofitting electrified locks to 'regular' doors requires drilling or cutting door, frames, and sometimes both. Take maglocks for example: the two major pieces of a maglock must be mounted to both door frame and door in order to secure the opening. In most cases, mounting instructions call for drilling a few holes, slipping in a few sex bolts, and not looking back.

However, doors made of glass are a completely different situation. Glass, even thick tempered glass used in doors, cannot be drilled or cut once manufactured. Despite being very durable to blunt forces, a sharp hard drill bit, or even a slight warping of the pane can cause a dramatic, expensive shatter.

The solution is not any easier using strikes, because in many cases glass doors are 'architecturally significant' features that are not cluttered up with standard locking hardware. In many situations, standard hardware like hinges, exit devices, and leversets are replaced with low-profile, custom pieces designed to maximize beauty. The latch bolt a strike depends on to keep a door locked might not even be included!

So, how do you control a door that cannot be modified, may not have rails/frames for mounting locks, and likely uses non-standard hardware anyway?

*** ******* ********* *** **** ****** ******* ******* *** ***** doors. ****'* **** ******* **** * ******* ** ********** ********* to ** ******** ***** ****:

****** **** ** ***** ***** **** *** ** ******** ** work **** *********** ******* ********, ***** ***** ******* ***** **********. Is *** **** **** **** ************ **** *** *********** ***** doors? ** ******* *** ******* *** ********* ******.

[**** ****: **** ****** *** ********** ********* ** ****, *** substantially ******** *** ******* ** ****.]

Problem *******

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**, *** ** *** ******* * **** **** ****** ** modified, *** *** **** *****/****** *** ******** *****, *** ****** uses ***-******** ******** ******?

[***************]

Best ******: **** *****

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*******, ********** ****** ******* ************** *** *********** *** *** ***** included ***** ****** ** *** ****** ******* ** ****** **** design.

** * ******, *** '*******' ** ************ ******** ** * common *****. ** *** ******** **** ******, ** ******* *** do ********* ***** ******** ****** ** ****.

Two ***** ** ***** ********

****** ********* ********* *** *** ********* ***** ** ***** ********. The ****** ******* ******* *** **** ****** ***** ** ***** type ** ****:

Thin ******

** **** ****** *********** *** ********** *********, '***** *****' *** at ***** ********* ****** *** ******* ** ***** ********.

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Frameless *****

*** ***** ****, **** ********* ** **** ****, *** '*********' or '**** *******' ***** ********, **** ********** ****** '*********' *** to * ****** *****. ***** ***** **** ** ******* *****, and ***** ** ***** ** *********** ******** **** ****** *********:

**** ***** ** ***** **** ** *************** *********** ** ********** openings, *** *** ***** **** ********* ** **** ***** **** can ** ********* ******* ******* *************.

********, **** ** ******* ******** ** ***** *****, ********** ** cabling *** ********** ******** *** ** ******* *********, ***** ***** is ** ******* ** ******** ** '****' ********** ******.

Retrofit **** *******

******* ********* ** ****** ******* ******* *** ********* ** *** an ****** ** ***** ** ***** *****. *** ***** ****** types ** ******* ******* *** **** ** ********* ***** *******:

  • *******
  • *******
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  • ********* *****
  • ********** *****

*******

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*** ***** ************, * ******** (******* *******) ****** ** ** option. ******** **** ******** **** *** ***** ********* ** **** the **** ** ***** ******* *** ******:

*** ********** *-***, ******** ********** ****** ******* **** ******, ** *** ******. *******, ******* ***********, ******* ********** ****** support, *** ******** ******** *******/***** **** **** *** ** * big *********** *******.

*******, ** ***** ** **** ******** *******, ****** ******* *** uncommon, *** *** ********** **** **** * *******-***** ********* ****** that ** ********** **** **** ****** ******* ** *** ******.

*******

** *********** *****, ******** ******* *** *** ********* ********* ** most **** ***** ********* *****. ** ******, *** ****** ****** is ** ******** **** ** * ***** *** ** *** must ** ******* *** ** ************** ********* ******* ** ** fitted.

*** **** ******, **** ******* *** **** ** ******* ***** doors, **** *** ****** ******* *** ************* **** * **** adjacent **** ***** *** **** **** *****, ** *** ** all.

********

************ ******** ** ********* ***** ***** *** ** ** ******, but **** **** *** **** **** * *** ****.******* ****************** ******* *********** ****** **** **** *** *** **** ** *** **** for ** ******** ** *****:

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Door ****** ********

*******, ***** *** ****/******** ************ *** ** ****** ** **** glass *****, *** ******** ***** ******** *** **** ** ******* in ** ******* ********* * *** ***** ** ****** *** magnet:

***** **** *********** *** ** ********* ** **** ***** ********, it ********* ** *** ** **** ****** ******** ** **** with * *********** ************* ********** *****, ***** ** **** ******** entries ** *******.

Dangerous ******** *** ********

**** ******** *** *** ****** *********** ******** *** ***** ******* headers. *******, ***** ******** *** ********* *** ******** *** *** because ** *** ******* **** *******:

** *** *** ******* ** ******* ***** ***** ***** *** be ** * **** ********* ** ****** ******** ********* ** they **** **** *****. ******** **** *** ********* ******** *** cause *** ******* ** **** * **** ******, ** ********* prevent ****** *** **** ****** ** ********* ****** ***.

**************

**** ******* ******* *** ******** *** ** ****, * ********* lock ** ***** *** **** ******. ********** ******** ************* ****** the****************-**** ******** *******. **** *** ******* * ******* *** ******, but *** ***** ***** ** ** ******/******** ** ******** **** controllers:

**** ******** ******* * '******** *********' **** **** ****** ** stationary *** *** *** ****** **** *****. **** ********, *** motion ** *** **** ***** *** ****** ***, *** **** door ** ****** *** '****' ******* **** **** *** *** which ******* ** '******' ********.

***** *** ******* ** *** ******** *** *** ****, *** mounting ******** ******. *** **** ** ***** ******** **** ***** slabs, ***** *** **** **** ** ******* **** * **** rail ** ************ *****.

**** ***** **** ***** *** *** **** ** ******:

**** ******** *** '**** ****' *******, ******* ***** ********** ********, and *** ********* ** *** ** *** ** *****.

*******

******** ******* *** *** **** ** **** ********* **** *** 3360, *** ******** ********** ***** *** ******** ** *******:

  • *** ****:~$*********, *** ******** ********* *** ******** ** **** ***** *** install.
  • *** ****:~$*********, *** *** ******* ********** **** **** ** ******** ********.

**** ******* *** '***-******' *** *** ** ******** ** *** field ********* ** **** *****. * *********** ********* ********** ** the ****** ** ******* ***** ****** **** **** ** *** inside ** ******* ** ********* ********* ** ******* ******. **** conduit ***** ******* *** '*****' ********* ********** ** *** **** or ******* ********** ********* ****** *** ******** **** ** *** 3371.

*** ************ ********** ****** ******* ** ******* **** ************* ***** power ********, *** **** *** ********* ******** **** **** **** controllers. **** *********** **** ** ********** $** - $** ** cost *** ******.

Unnetworked, ********** *****

******* ********* **** ********* * ******** ******, **** ******, *** ********** ******** **** mounts ** * **** ******* ********. *******, *** **** **** and ********-****** ******** **** **** ******* **** *** **** *** strike ***** ** *** ***** ****.

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*******

*** ***** **** ********** **** ** ********* **** ****** ******* for ~$***, *** ** ******* ********** **** ********* **** ******* or ** ******.

Other *********

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  • **** *****: ****** ******** * ******* ** ** * **** *** seem ****, *** ********** ** ******** **** **** ***** '****-***'. Maglock ********* **** ** ** ********* ** **** *** **** and ***** **** *******, *** ****** ***** ** ****, ***** doors **** ** *********** ** ***. ****** *** ********* *********** where *** ******** ***** ** ****, *** ******* *** ***** the ****. (*** ***** **** ***** ** *******)
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  • ****** ****:**** * **** *****, ** ******* ** ** ********* ******** flaw *** ** **** ********* ** ****** **** **** *** hardware. *** ********* **** ****** ****** ** ******* ** ****** off. **** * ***** **** *****, ** ***** ******* ** replacement ** *** **** *** ******* ********.
  • *********: ******* ** *** ***** ****** *** ********* ******** *****, the ******* **** ** ***** ******** *** ********* ** ******** with ******** ** *****. ***** *** ********* *** ********* **** resistant ** ******* ***** **** ***, ****, *********** ******* ******** adhesives, ***** ******** ** ********** ** ********* *** ********** ** physically ******** *******.

[****: **** ******** *** ********** ******* ** **** *** *** substantially ******* ** ****.]

Comments (11)

Another option not discussed is the sheer lock maglock version. Typically you will have a metal cover (glued vs bolted) at the top of the glass vs full open glass and should be part of an original design and not easy to retrofit.

Hi

A very good option. Shear Maglocks work and well. On swinging doors, they require that the doors resting/settling position be perfect. Any variations and the maglocks doesn't lock. Have this happening to us a number of time. The door contractor will insist on the setting only to have it drift with time ... and maglock not locking :(

We will investigate the RCI 3360 solution could be a life savior.

Thanks IPVM

Your door contractor is not wrong. Adjusting door leaves/closers to the correct position for shear maglocks to work correctly is a continual maintenance item. This is a big drawback, like you note. (We note this in our Maglock Selection Guide)

Thanks for the comment!

Any new glass doors we get have top (and sometimes bottom) metal frames for security and stability.

For new doors, we can order with the locking mechanism built in.

And, we try to stay away from mag locks.

Quite recently there's been a break in, in a museum here in Holland. They managed to break in trough a glass door and steal a monstrance (religious item).

They simply smashed in the glass door with a slegdehammer and later on the casing in which it was held as well.

See the video here (at 00:30)

Glad to revive this thread since our problem is ongoing with 4 set of doors., 8 floors each with a swinging doors in a particular building .. Buidling consdtruction seems to play a big role in this since same door hardware combination ( Door closers, Glass panes, etc) are the exact same at another location where eeverything works and has been for the past 5 years , meanwhile the pesky building keeps on having maglocks (same ) not locking, numerous back and forth from us and door conatracotr to so far no avail... We likely will have to eat this and replace the locks. What would be the best solution in your opinion?

  • Deadbolt?
  • The RCI Solution? Their 3360 mentioned above? There is also a similar solution from a French (?) Company www.sewosy.com.
  • Deadbolt?

We would appreciate any suggestion on this...

Brian;

Take a look at the Blumcraft (a division of C R Laurence) hardware for glass doors. I've mentioned this before in another thread, but it has been a great solution for us on this type of installation and we've had good acceptance from design teams.

The trick is to be early.

The hardware uses a header-mounted electric strike, and the architectural hardware on the glass door incorporates a bolt into the strike that retracts mechanically on exit. The handle appears to be fixed, but actually moves/pivots to disengage the bolt from the strike.

Greg

The Blumcraft looks nice a nice piece of hardware but it also gets bolted through the glass so it can't be retrofit onto an existing door? That makes it useless for about 99% of our opportunities.

Correct; as I mentioned, the trick is to be early on this.

Greg

This is probably for another discussion - but there probably needs to be some mention of laws regarding the use of maglocks (or similar locking devices) in the egress path in case folks decide to use maglocks on these types of doors.

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