Handsome Handles

© 2003 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2003
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 40-44

Handsome Handles

If you looked hard enough, you could find several new designs of lift handles on display at Expo 2003.

With continued attention to the pinch issue, several manufacturers are now producing new and attractive handles. DASMA 116, a voluntary standard strongly supported by DASMA, requires residential garage doors to have either (1) pinch-resistant section joints or (2) interior and exterior lift handles. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is monitoring industry compliance with DASMA 116.

Pinch Check at Expo

At Expo 2003, use of handles on non-pinch-resistant doors was clearly growing, and more pinch-resistant doors were evident. Three years ago, at Expo 2000, only nine manufacturers displayed residential doors with pinch-resistant section joints. But at Expo 2003, that number had increased to 12 manufacturers.

The Carriage House Challenge

The new wood carriage house doors, while still a tiny portion of all doors sold, represent an engineering challenge to manufacturers striving for pinch resistance on their entire product line. At Expo, Martin Door displayed a pinch-resistant joint on its wood carriage house doors (see photo at right).

On carriage house doors without pinch resistance, manufacturers are challenged to incorporate the required exterior handles on the distinctive carriage house design. At Expo, Ankmar showed a model with DASMA 116-compliant handles (see photo, page 35).

Hey, That Looks Good!

On residential raised-panel steel doors, some dealers have been concerned that a traditional galvanized steel handle on the exterior of the door is less visually appealing than a clean no-handle exterior. But the new attractive handles help to address dealers’ and homeowners’ aesthetic concerns.

Other dealers have urged manufacturers to feature pictures of doors with handles on their literature. Clopay and Raynor, for example, are converting their line of literature to prominently display their non-pinch-resistant doors with exterior lift handles (see photos below).

Sweating the Details

If a door is not pinch resistant, DASMA 116 requires that two handles or gripping points must be installed on the interior of the door and another two handles on the exterior. One handle must be placed on the bottom section within six inches of the bottom edge, and the other must be installed 20-30 inches directly above it.

Many of the new handles are horizontally oriented. This is acceptable, but only if the handle is placed four or more inches away from a section joint. If the handle is within four inches of a section joint, the handle must “promote vertical orientation of the hand.”

The residential garage door industry appears to be in a transitional phase. With the increases in the number of pinch-resistant doors and the number of attractive handles for non-pinch-resistant doors, the industry appears to be moving toward substantial conformance to DASMA 116.

1. IT CAN BE DONE: At Expo 2003, Martin Garage Doors displayed a carriage house door with a pinch-resistant section joint.

2. OVAL OPTION: In all of Windsor’s hardware boxes for non-pinch-resistant doors, two of these nylon W-embossed oval-shaped exterior handles are included, along with two metal handles for the inside of the door.

3. LOGO LOOK: Raynor has developed a curved horizontal handle with its logo in an oval.

4. ADHESIVE APPROACH: Helton Industries, a hardware manufacturer, has developed a novel handle that avoids the problem of piercing the skin of the door section. Their UV-stable ABS handles use a heavy-duty automotive-grade peel-and-stick adhesive (on right).

5. CHOICES: Canimex, a Canadian manufacturer of garage door hardware, has a variety of handle styles available, such as these translucent and black models.

6. GET A GRIP: Among its selection of handles, Fehr Brothers offers a traditional steel handle, adding a black rubber grip for comfort and control.

7. IN THE SPOTLIGHT: In response to dealer requests, Clopay and Raynor are examples of manufacturers that are now displaying handles on their standard residential literature.

8. FIRE RED: First United Door Technologies uses this red rounded steel handle on the interior of its carriage house doors.

9. TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY: In its varied product line, OMI Industries offers a smooth rounded traditional steel handle and an oval-shaped horizontal handle/step plate.

10. CROWD PLEASER: These handsome Haas handles attracted much attention at the Haas exhibit at Expo. The sleek design features the Haas logo and knuckle-saving holes for embedded bolts.