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New entry door size requirements in Florida?


TwoPynts's Avatar
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FL

06-28-12, 10:21 AM   #1  
New entry door size requirements in Florida?

I'm looking to replace the front doors of my Boca Raton, FL single family home and was told by a millworks rep at Lowes that our current doors are two small and that they can't sell us replacements. My double doors are 31" wide each. They are saying we now need to get a 36" door and sidelights so that we will comply with recently instated building codes requiring it (for handicapped accessibility apparently).

Can anyone expand on the veracity of this? I've tried to find the information online but have not had much luck. This is my first post here at the DIY forum by the way. Thanks in advance for any insights you may have.

 
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Gunguy45's Avatar
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06-28-12, 10:39 AM   #2  
They are full of...well...you know what. If you currently have 2 double doors then your total opening is 62". I don't think ADA rules apply to residential...though FL does have some odd requirements.

Check your doors again. Are they really 31" or more like 31 1/2? Double doors normally have an astragal that allows one door to lock to the frame and the other to lock to that. Also...what is the height of the doors? Right at 80" or more like 78"?

The best measurement for replacement is the outside frame to outside frame or the actual rough frame opening. All manufacturers provide those numbers for their products.


Vic
"I sometimes wonder how some people ever made it to adulthood..."

 
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06-28-12, 10:54 AM   #3  
Anytime you hear someone refer to an Astragal or T-astragal in your answer, you can be assured he knows his door construction.

Gunguy is right, the Lowes guy is full of sh*t. Call a professional in your area and I think you'll find that your doors are very standard and can repalced with a variety of over the counter doors.

I replaced some sliding doors with double French doors recently and found that Home Depot has a set of doors specifically for this that are slightly smaller than the original rough opening. One of the doors is 34 1/2" wide while the other is 34" wide. Add the 1/2" T-astragal and you have 34 1/2" total for that door too. The original sliding doors were 72" and although my actual opening is now 3" smaller you'd never know it because the trim covers up the downsized rough opening.

 
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06-28-12, 10:57 AM   #4  
Welcome to the forums.

They may be right but I would never rely on the opinion of big box store employee on a code issue. I would talk to your local building inspector and get a valid opinion.

 
TwoPynts's Avatar
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06-28-12, 11:09 AM   #5  
Thanks for the feedback

Ironically, we were at Lowes because they installed french doors to replace our sliding patio doors 9 years ago, and those doors are now rotting. We were hoping they would work with us to replace them since it seems they are rotting due to an installation issue, but all the slack they would cut us was to offer the replacement doors at cost. No thanks. We tried to sweeten the deal for them by offering to have them do the replacement for our front doors too but no go. Then they started coming up with this new code stuff.

We replaced the original front doors ourselves about 5 years ago and didn't due the greatest job. I'm not sure how well they'd stand up to a hurricane, and it seems likely we may get one this season. We have a neighbor who is a general contractor and he hadn't heard about this new code. He's looking into some options for us but I was hoping to get some more info on all of this here. Thanks for the help so far.

 
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06-28-12, 11:18 AM   #6  
Sometimes we're good with code issues because a lot of the pros here know code off the top of their head or can find it very quickly but what code set your local jurisdiction is using is very often a question best answered locally.

Your GC neighbor not knowing about this is further evidence the responses by Vic and houston are correct.

 
TwoPynts's Avatar
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06-28-12, 11:26 AM   #7  
Mitch, we had him come over because we felt Lowes was full of it too, and he has had good recommendations from other neighbors. We'd rather pay a guy in the neighborhood to do the work than a big box. It is 'supposedly' new code so we'll see what he turns up.

 
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06-28-12, 11:27 AM   #8  
I worked at HD selling doors and windows for 5 yrs. I think I was probably the exception to the rule because I was on the phone to the tech departments of our manufacturers at least once a day. I also visited our Codes office and picked the brains of our contractor clients. I went to customers houses all over the area when they had issues I had never run into before. I probably spent 10 hrs a week doing research at home before we had Internet access at work. I didn't want to just sell people stuff....I wanted to know how it worked, how it was built and if it was what they needed.

I guess that's why builders and contractors would always ask what days and hours I would be working because they only wanted to deal with me.

I was aware of code issues but never gave advice as an expert...I told them they needed to call the codes office and ask them if I thought there would be a problem.

Sometimes it didn't matter what I did. Sold a guy $6000 worth of new construction windows one time based on his blueprints. Came back later and said they were too big. Why? Because he had framed the openings for window frame size...not the RO which was printed right on his order.

Sorry...rambling and off topic. Point is...not every Big Box employee is bad...but you need to know who you are dealing with. Do your research and get several opinions.


Vic
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06-28-12, 02:15 PM   #9  
We'll do that Gunguy. I also want to be sure that the front doors are hurricane rated for insurance purposes. The GC that took a look seems to know his stuff. We're probably going to hire him and his team to do the work. I know there are good folks at big box stores too, though they have to deal with the management bureaucracy.

 
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06-28-12, 02:23 PM   #10  
As I remember....almost any steel door with at least a 20 min fire rating (I know...not the same thing...but it's how they are built) will pass the requirements as long as they are fastened into the wall framing correctly.

If you were looking at full glass patio door it would be another thing altogether and you'd need the manufacturer certification.


Vic
"I sometimes wonder how some people ever made it to adulthood..."

 
TwoPynts's Avatar
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06-28-12, 04:50 PM   #11  
We don't want windows for the front entry. Strong and solid is key. The french doors are another matter, but we have shutters to cover them. Also, we're going to go with fiberglass instead of wood this time.

 
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