Stainless steel kick plates (also in aluminum and other metals) are used very commonly in commercial and institutional construction to prevent damage to doors because of their durability and ease of care. A brushed or polished finish can retain its appearance over the life of the building with proper care.
Some considerations you have to think about when choosing a kick plate are: What are the appropriate dimensions for the kick plate? How will the kick plate be mounted to the door? How thick should my kick plate be? and What finish will look best in my application?
1) What are the appropriate dimensions for the kick plate?
Kick plates should always be ordered 2” shorter than the door width to avoid interfering with the door jam when you are closing the door. Beyond this, the height and exact size of the kick plate is a matter of preference or what was specified for your specific application. Obviously, the more of the door that you cover, the more you protect the underlying door itself from damage. Generally, we see four different common applications for kick plates. The first, a mop plate, is about 8” high and is at the very bottom of the door to protect the door against damage from janitorial mops. The second, a traditional kick plate, is 6 to 12” high to prevent damage from mops and from boots and shoes when people hold and kick doors open. The third is a armor plate that can be up to 48” high and basically covers the entire bottom half of the door. The fourth and final variation is a stretcher plate, which is for hospital applications and is designed to protect the door against stretchers bumping into them. These are 6 to 12” high and are located at the approximate height of the handle parallel with the floor.
There are several varieties of kick plates.
2) How will the kick plate be mounted to the door?
The standard options we offer here at Monarch are adhesive mounted and screw mounted, although some customers have asked us to custom make a magnetically mounted kick plate. For an adhesive mounted plate, we will pass the plate through a low grit wide belt sander to create a rough surface on the back which is ideal for using an adhesive to mount the kick plate to the door. Some customers will choose to use double sided VHB tape as well, to help with lining up to ensure a straight fit. We typically point people to the 3M industrial adhesives help line for questions on specific adhesives. They have 8 – 10 engineers that man the phone help desk are a fantastic resource for selecting the appropriate adhesive.
For a screw mounted kick plates, our standard kick plates have 3/16” diameter holes, 8” on center for mounting the plates. Customers will generally then use a low profile #6 x 5/8” sheet metal screw for mounting. Other custom options are counter sinking the holes for a flush mount, using TEK screws to avoid having to pre drill the holes in the door, security TORX (aka tamper resistant TORX) screws to require specialized tooling for removal.
3) How thick should my kick plate be?
The industry standard plate is 0.05” thick, which is 18 Gauge Stainless Steel or 050 Aluminum. For heavy duty applications (such as the stretcher application described above) we often see customers select the 0.06” thick heavy duty variety which is made from 16 Gauge Stainless Steel or 063 Aluminum. We do make thicker kick plates as well, such as in .125” Thick 11 Gauge Stainless Steel.
4) What finish will look best in my application?
In stainless steel, 90% of the kick plates we make have our factory #4 finish on them which is a very nice brushed stainless steel appearance that is quite durable. Other finish options for stainless steel are dull (unfinished), mechanically brushed finish (applied with a wide belt sander) or a mirror polished finish.
In aluminum, we typically see customer either select a dull finish or a mechanical brushed finish. Generally what steers this selection is the specification or the surrounding hardware appearance.
Other options to consider are whether you want square corners or if you would prefer a radius on the corners and this is again a consideration often selected based on the surrounding room and hardware.
If you would like to discuss your application specifically, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 631-563-8967.