Doors Knowledge Area  

By: Joseph C. Dean, P.E. and Steve Geusic, P.E., for the Director, Corrosion Policy & Oversight (DASD) [Materiel Readiness]

Updated: 11-20-2019



Although, the word "corrosion" is most often associated with "rust" and the oxidation of other metals, 10 U.S.C. § 2228 defines corrosion as, "the deterioration of a material or its properties due to a reaction of that material with its chemical environment." It includes the deterioration of all materials, which can be caused through sun exposure, mold and mildew, wind, and other environmental factors.

Facilities affected by corrosion include, but are not limited to, pipelines, fuel tanks, pavements and bridges, roofs, transformers, switchgear, electrical boxes, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, and water towers. Additional facility types include fire hydrants, motors, compressors, wharves, piers, boilers, ladders, stairways, wash racks, fire sprinkler systems, airfield pavements, steam lines and facilities, tankage, petroleum, water distribution lines, and fencing, as well as doors, supporting structures, and hardware. Corrosion effects often remain unseen or unnoticed until failure occurs.

According to the findings in the Vision Point Systems Study: Corrosion Factors in DoD Facilities (October 2014), "doors are the top maintenance object in terms of corrosion costs." The following sections will summarize the extent of guidance related to the broad area of "doors" and how to address the associated reduction of corrosion costs.


Doors and their associated components (e.g. locks, door jambs, etc.) provide very visible architectural features at an installation and can become dysfunctional, unsightly, and security-compromised due to corrosion. This Knowledge Page includes CPC insights and information for building envelope opening closures that include access doors, louvers, rolling metal counter doors, and shutters, etc., except for windows. While serving an essential role in providing building envelope closure and resistance to moisture, heat, and other corrosion-impacting factors, as well as security to valuable assets and personnel, the maintenance of doors, hardware, and related building envelope security penetrations can be extremely costly. Unlike other building components, the repeated opening and closing of doors and associated hardware and components increases the likelihood of corrosion deterioration and requires more frequent attention in the form of adjustments, repairs, and coatings restoration. When appropriate, material selection should be consistent with Environmental Severity Classification (ESC) zone recommendations to ensure life cycle expectancies.

The Vision Point Systems Study: Corrosion Factors in DoD Facilities (October 2014) lists the following findings related to doors:

  • The number-one issue concerns roll-up or overhead doors. Records reference corrosion issues with the panels, track, and rollers.
  • Next are the exterior doors, which concern general coating failures and general corrosion, door-frame, or door-jamb corrosion and hinge corrosion issues.
  • Problems are compounded when coatings are incorrect, not applied well, or when damaged during installation.
  • Interior or bathroom doors exhibited issues with general corrosion and hinge corrosion.
  • Corrosion factors are proximity to saltwater, rainfall, temperature, humidity, and UV exposure.
  • Study recommendation: "Seek to specify doors that eliminate the use of carbon steel fasteners, hinges, and general components. If carbon steel is used in construction, ensure that proper corrosion control coatings are specified."

Note that the Doors Knowledge Page is focused on the prevention and management of corrosion for doors and their components. While there is a direct relationship, this page is not intended to address the security aspects of the selection and sustainment of specific doors, locks, surveillance cameras, and the other specialized features addressed in UFC 4-010-01 DoD Minimum Anti-Terrorism Standards for Buildings, UFC 4-010-03 Security Engineering: Physical Security Measures for High-Risk Personnel, UFC 4-020-01 DoD Security Engineering Planning Manual, and related guidance.

Door Design and Durability

In paragraph 3-5, Specification Requirements, UFC 1-200-01 (2018) DoD Building Code (General Building Requirements), requires the use of UFGS in accordance with UFC 1-300-02. UFC 1-300-02 UFGS Format Standard (April 2017) paragraph 1-4.1 Content Guidance, requires that designers "provide bracketed or tailored options, and Notes to the Designer, in the UFGS sections when the selection of a material, component, or system for corrosion prevention, life cycle cost effectiveness, or durability depends on the location, application, conditions, or atmospheric and chemical environment. In the notes, provide direction on identifying and selecting those variables." It also states that "ISO 9223 and Environmental Severity Classification (ESC) factors, [should be used] to help specify when to use materials, coatings, and other design elements in a given project location or atmospheric environment. Additionally, provide direction on what item to use based on other relative criteria such as soil corrosivity, ultraviolet exposure, solar radiation, biological, or other factors causing deterioration of a material or its properties because of a reaction of that material with its chemical environment."

Ideally all components of the doors, hardware, and associated structures should address corrosion vulnerability and durability. This is consistent with the guidance in UFC 1-300-02, which directs the designer to select materials, coatings, and other design elements accordingly. Note, for example, that if a facility such as a swimming-pool enclosure, restroom, shower room, or a waste-treatment facility is located in Zones 1 or 2, the micro-environment created inside the facility due to the use of chemicals, moisture, and heat might be a Zone 5. The designer must select materials that will resist corrosion at a higher intensity than the rest of the facility.

Environmental Severity Classification (ESC) is discussed on the ESC Web Page and can be calculated for the specific location under consideration in the ISO Corrosivity Category Estimation Tool (ICCET) Toolbox. Appendix D is provided to show initial ESC Zone calculations for specific installations and locations as a "quick view," although the designer should utilize the ICCET Tool to establish the most accurate "C" classification. If the ESC zone lies between C3 and C5, additional corrosion prevention and control (CPC) considerations must be applied. These considerations would include the selection of more corrosion-resistive coatings and materials, as well as the application of good design practice by ensuring that design geometrics prevent, rather than create, a more corrosive environment.

CPC Door Design Strategies:

  • Identify the appropriate ESC Zone
  • Identify local corrosive environmental factors:
    • Waterfront and Coastal Exposure

    • Deicing Salts – Deicing salts used in colder climates can often be more aggressive than in coastal environments, and once they are introduced to the environment, they are present throughout the year. The salts can be carried a significant distance from the roadway through moisture, dust, and wind.

    • Industrial and Urban Pollution (e.g. deicing salts, chemicals, airborne pollutants, etc.)

    • Chemicals – Doors used in caustic or sterile applications such as labs, hospitals, pharmaceutical areas, manufacturing, and restaurant and food-preparation areas are typically exposed to aggressive chemicals in order to facilitate easy wash-down, cleaning, and sterilization.

  • Determine functional requirements and operational and maintenance environment:

    • Consider door function – security, safety, entry requirements, accessibility, ventilation, and boundary identification

    • Wind load criteria

    • High performance building requirements (UFC 1-200-01) – Requirements for energy conservation and air barrier/infiltration

    • Doors used at loading docks, warehouses, maintenance bays, and hangars typically are exposed to a more aggressive environment and have more complex hardware, frames, and, in some cases, motors and electronics. They can also be susceptible to mechanical damage of their protective coatings. Doors in the above locations are often left open for an extended period of time, which causes internal door components to be exposed to the exterior corrosive environment.

  • Determine Exposure of Door and Components - Design decisions will often dictate the amount of exposure that a door and its components will experience. In some cases, the following design issues will require a higher level of corrosion preventative materials and coatings:

    • Doors facing a salt water source or the windward side in a coastal environment.

    • Conditions that could cause entrapment of water and moisture intrusion.

    • Horizontal surfaces that tend to collect salt and pollutants.

      • Horizontal tracks at door thresholds can be problematic as they collect water and pollutants, are difficult to clean, and are subject to frictional forces. Utilize surfaces and finishes that promote self-cleaning through the rinsing of surfaces by rainfall. All surfaces of materials shall be sloped and drained to prevent standing water.

    • Sheltering of exterior components in a salt-laden environment should be avoided, if possible. Fresh rainwater will reduce corrosive salts and pollutants on exterior surfaces.

    • Interaction and moisture intrusion risks should be considered for adjacent elements and materials at the door head and jambs.

  • Select appropriate materials and coatings – Once the ESC, exposure conditions, and operational/maintenance environments are identified, the applicable materials, hardware, and coatings can be determined:

    • Aesthetics – Typically, door selection and finishes must comply with an installation appearance plan.

    • Corrosion–Resistant Materials and Coatings

      • Anodized Aluminum AA-M10-C22-A41/A42, Architectural Class I -anodized finish (0.7 mil or greater thickness).

      • Stainless Steel (SS) – Grade 316L is preferred for corrosive environments. In some applications, hot-dip galvanized steel coated with specialty coatings will outperform lower–grade (302/304) SS as long as the coating is not compromised.

      • Dissimilar Metals – Where dissimilar materials are used, isolate dissimilar materials to prevent galvanic action. Consider the exposed surface areas of the two metals in contact. For instance, coated steel fixing screws (anodic) in contact with stainless hinges (cathodic) will corrode rapidly in a salt-laden environment.

    • Incompatible Materials – Coat the underside aluminum thresholds placed on top of concrete surfaces with fluid applied waterproofing as an isolation measure.

  • Other design considerations:
    • Ensure that electrical components are properly protected from corrosion.

    • Prevent water intrusion through the incorporation of weather-stripping, caulk/sealants, gaskets, and corrosion-resistant flashing.

    • Louvered doors are very susceptible to weather deterioration. Consider other means of providing venting on exterior areas in humid or project locations with Environmental Severity Classifications (ESC) of C3 through C5. Use floor mats, floor drains, trap primers, weather seals, and entrance vestibules as needed.

    • Design to allow ease of maintenance (e.g. cleaning, application of corrosion preventative compounds, etc.).

  • Consult with subject matter experts and stakeholders when appropriate.

A further summary of door requirements and detailed discussion follows, along with considerations outlined in the UFC and UFGS. Note that this is a summary list, and each document should be researched carefully in order to establish its application to your project and door type. Each criteria document addresses finishes, material type and grade, field storage, and surface repairs. Often door types are not off-the-shelf, so buyer beware when a contractor or supplier offers a purportedly similar unit with lower–grade metals and finishes. The government facility will lose in the long run and runs the risk of expending more in sustainment costs and early replacement costs.

While the list below is not complete, some specific UFGS highlights follow. Please consult with each applicable UFGS and referenced criteria and standard to ensure that you are making the correct door selection and installation.

  • UFGS 08 11 13 Steel Doors and Frames addresses a large span of door types and installations. Door designs, finishes, repairs, construction, site protection, coatings, and material types are addressed. Corrosion-inhibiting bituminous material should be applied inside frames.

  • UFGS 08 11 16 Aluminum Doors and Frames defines guidance for design, coatings, storage, cleaning, sealing, drainage protection, weather stripping, etc. The design of the door(s) must be accomplished by a registered professional engineer. Finishes are precisely addressed in paragraph 2.4.8 for corrosive environment exposure. It is recommended to take note of the paragraph 3.2 requirements for the protection of dissimilar metals.

  • UFGS 08 13 73 Sliding Metal Doors recommends the use of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) doors and frames in highly corrosive environments. Paragraph 2.5 Hardware provides definitive corrosion-prevention guidance mentioning geometries, dissimilar metals, drainage, material selection, and other factors. For increased corrosion protection, SSPC Paint 28 and SSPC Paint 36 are recommended. Additional finish explanations are included in paragraph 2.9 Finish.

  • UFGS 08 33 23 Overhead Coiling Doors seeks to establish the requirement for the maximum protection from the weather, locating the door on the interior face of the wall; weather protection features should be installed when the door is placed on the exterior wall.

  • UFGS 08 34 16.10 Steel Sliding Hangar Doors specifically requires (in the second note on page 3) that "Painting of hangar doors must be specifically mentioned in Section 09 97 13.17 Exterior Coating of Steel Structures, along with reference to this section and with instructions to paint operating parts, mechanisms, limit switches, or trolley ducts." The UFGS 08 34 16.10 goes on to very specifically delineate requirements for design drawings. Note that for hangar doors, rail drains are required along with defrosting equipment in cold areas. The "very robust coating system" specified in UFGS 09 97 13.27 should "always be allowed" via shop application. See also UFC 4-211-01 Aircraft Maintenance Hangars for additional door guidance.

  • UFGS 08 36 19 Vertical Lift Doors has a very stringent coating requirement for weather seals (Section 2.5) and Finishes (Section 2.6).

  • UFGS 08 71 00 Door Hardware provides an extensive description and discussion on applications for locks, latches, hinges, electrical hardware etc. Recommended material types and location restrictions are included.

The linked list that is provided indicates the expansive complexity of the design and sustainment of "door systems." Material selection of these items is critical for system longevity and low maintenance. Consider that with the limitations of SS in marine environments and in salt spray zones, pitting corrosion is likely to occur on SS. Aluminum needs to be coated, especially in splash zones. Corrosion prone locations include ESC C3-C5, micro environments, high humidity interiors, and coastal and chemical environments. For project locations with ESC C3 through C5, and other corrosion prone locations, provide added corrosion protection to the design. For ESC C3-C5, all exterior doors and frames should consist of aluminum with an anodized finish, except for residential applications where fiberglass doors are often used (steel for certain fire-rated requirements). [Also as stated in MDACS,] "all exterior and interior door hardware, fasteners, etc., shall consist of 316L unless it is not available by special order; in this case, order the next-highest corrosive SS available, and as a last choice, order a hot-dip galvanized SS with factory-painted, high-corrosion-resistant coatings." Note that having 316-grade fasteners is critical. Usually SS fasteners are made out of 302 SS because it is easier to machine and it has a much-lower corrosion resistance.

Design requirements established by the UFC and UFGS will include material type and grade, NFPA codes and standards, calculations, industry codes, and standards. Dynamic load factors for seismic activity, wind, and other environmental events will be factored into the design calculations. Attention to deflections, mechanical systems (e.g. drives, locking, etc.), drainage, and seals may be required. In harsh environments with high ESC Zones, Corrosion Control Hangar Doors must have Totally Enclosed Wash-Down (TEWD) motor enclosures to prevent the negative impacts of harsh salt-air marine environments, which cause early failure. Material selection shall be consistent with the ESC Zone. Care should be taken to seal joints and reduce the negative impacts of design geometrics discussed earlier.

Specific surface-preparation and coating actions are emphasized in the criteria documents to include repair actions on surfaces that become damaged. The same installer that performed the initial coating prior to assembly and erection shall prepare and touch-up damaged surfaces (UFGS 08 34 16 Corrosion Control Hangar Doors).

It is recommended that the designer carefully review each criteria document to ensure that the appropriate materials are selected and placed in service along with the associated processes. Submittals may include shop drawings, product data, samples, test reports, certificates, manufacturer's instructions, and operation and maintenance data.

Marianas Navy And Marine Corps Design And Construction Standards (MDACS) Summary

Note that while not all locations are as severe as the Marianas, the Marianas Navy and Marine Corps Design and Construction Standards (MDACS) was developed to require materials that are necessarily corrosion–resistant due to that specific extremely corrosive environment. The attached excerpts from the MDACS provide decision-making insights for an ESC Zone 5.

While Guam is considered an extreme C5 location, the contractor/designer can benefit from the engineering thought processes made to ensure that the materials appropriate to the location and ESC Zone that are being considered, including micro-environments, meet the identified risk levels and the associated life-cycle performance requirements for all DoD locations.

Lessons Learned And Input From The Field

  • Consistent with DoD Directive 4270.5 (Military Construction), utilize the CPC criteria and information hosted on the Whole Building Design Guide, including UFC, UFGS, Engineering and Construction Bulletins (ECB), and performance technical specifications. If necessary, mark-up guide specifications (e.g., UFGS) with prescriptive CPC requirements.

  • Periodic rinsing of doors in a salt-laden environment, either through rainwater exposure or a maintenance program, can drastically reduce corrosion. The periodic lubrication of moving parts can reduce damage to coated surfaces.

  • Ensure that corrosion prevention is discussed at the design/construction kick-off meeting and implemented on the plans at each submittal stage.

  • The elimination or limiting of the source of water helps tremendously in resisting corrosion. Civil design criteria require a minimum 2-foot overhang beyond exterior walls. This practice aids in keeping the water away from the building envelope and therefore decreases water intrusion.

  • Ensure that an inventory of doors and related hardware is included in the UFGS 01 78 24.00 20 Facility Electronic Operations and Maintenance and Support Information (e-OMSI) package at facility turnover from the Construction Agent.

  • Use SS fasteners to replace carbon steel fasteners.

  • Review and coordinate projects by a committee of public works design and maintenance, safety, environmental, and security personnel to ensure that projects are fully coordinated before release.

  • Ensure that funding is sufficient to include CPC materials and coatings that are life cycle cost effective, appropriate for the environment where the project is located, and able to reach the intended service life without extensive preventative or corrective maintenance.

  • Ensure that personnel engaged in CPC decision-making activities, such as acquisition, design, inspection, maintenance, and repair, have appropriate training and qualifications.

  • During facility inspections, record the onset and progression of corrosion, and develop plans for mitigation.

  • Identify, collect, extract and manage corrosion impact information in data management systems.

  • Use aggressive preventive-maintenance programs that ensure an early detection of deficiencies and reduce corrosion.

  • Leverage the building-manager program to ensure early identification of Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization (SRM) requirements with a focus on accomplishing the highest priority work.

  • Once facilities are in service, control corrosion through proper maintenance practices and adequate sustainment resources.

  • Use a community of practice (COP) to communicate best practices or information to all facilities. A COP coordinated through the web (or discussion forums and phone conferences) can be useful when looking for more information regarding new technologies or to send out a message about a problem and determine if anyone knows the solution.


As stated earlier, the Vision Point Systems Study: Corrosion Factors in DoD Facilities (October 2014), found that "doors are the top maintenance object in terms of corrosion costs." Addressing corrosion during the design and construction of a facility will pay huge dividends and will positively impact functionality, appearance, security, and maintenance costs.

A few items to remember and apply are:

  • Incorporate good design geometrics.

  • Retain an awareness and an application of the ESC Zone.

  • Ensure that the design component or assembly complies with the requirements from the RFP, including technical performance specifications and referenced UFC and UFGS documents.

  • Ensure that design drawings and specifications address CPC through a proper choice of materials and coatings.

  • Avoid the selection of poorly-performing materials and coatings that may be influenced only by low up-front costs.

  • Select and specify door-related materials and coatings that have low life-cycle costs, are durable, and minimize the need for preventative and corrective maintenance. Initial investments in corrosion prevention are typically more LCC-effective than the maintenance, repair, and replacement of prematurely degraded components.

  • Design and specify doors and associated components to reach the intended service life, including the use of enhanced materials and coatings in severe corrosive environments.

Two D, CPO sponsored Test and Evaluation Projects are underway (F12AR12 - Self-Repairing Coating (2012) and F12AR14 - Vapor-Phase Coatings (2012)). These projects are being tested on hangar doors and are anticipated to demonstrate and validate the benefits of a self-repairing polyurethane coating for infrastructure application and a coating that incorporates a vapor-phase corrosion inhibitor (VCI), respectively. Once the results have been published in the Project Final Reports, further information will be provided in the Technology Projects Table.

Following and leveraging design criteria, lessons learned, and guidance for highly-corrosive environments such as the MDACS will increase the chance of providing doors in a facility that will remain functional during life-cycle expectations.

See the sections at the end of this knowledge page for door-specific criteria and standards for decision-making analysis and design guidance. See the Understanding Corrosion Science section as it affects door design and materials selection will help the designer make decisions that are cost effective and more durable across the life cycle.

Obtaining Door Related Subject Matter Expert (SME) Assistance

Design criteria must be selected and executed based upon the requirement and the environmental conditions that exist at the facility location (see the Corrosion Toolbox). Discipline Area SMEs provide valuable consultation skills developed from years of experience assessing corrosion-prevention requirements in differing environments.

Doors and their associated security and anti-terrorism aspects cross multi-discipline areas which may require more persistence by designers and maintainers in obtaining necessary insights from SMEs. The SMEs can assist with the translation of local conditions into the interdisciplinary solutions that provide immediate and long-term benefits to the installation and its SRM bottom-line costs. Typical consulting services provided by the SMEs include:

  • Architectural and structural insights
  • Aviation engineering (including Hangar Doors, Jet Engine Test Cells, Hush Houses, and Corrosion Control Hangars)
  • Multi-discipline coordination and understanding
  • Materials analysis and selection
  • Problem assessment
  • Hazard and failure analysis
  • Environmental severity impacts
  • Review and assessment of contractor deliverables
  • Quality evaluation and assurance
  • System design
  • SRM analysis and recommendations (system inspection and testing assistance)
  • Assessment of the sustainability and durability of new technologies
  • Anti-terrorism threat analysis, protection technologies, and materials

Relevant Codes and Standards

Criteria on the WBDG are generally based on industry standards. An industry standard is an established norm or requirement about technical systems, usually presented in the form of a formal document. It establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices. Industry Standards can also be found in the form of reference specifications. The standards referenced in criteria are usually written and maintained by Standards Organizations (see also WBDG Code Taxonomy). See the following for additional guidance and information:

Department of Defense

Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC)

Unified Facilities Guide Specifications (UFGS)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

  • ISO 9223:2012 Corrosion of metals and alloys – Corrosivity of atmospheres – Classification, determination and estimation, February 1, 2012
  • ISO 9224:2012, Corrosion of metals and alloys – Corrosivity of atmospheres – Guiding values for the corrosivity categories
  • ISO 9226:2012 Corrosion of metals and alloys – Corrosivity of atmospheres – Determination of corrosion rate of standard specimens for the evaluation of corrosivity, February 1, 2012
  • DoD 5200.8-R Physical Security Program

Industry Organizations

The following Industry Organizations are identified in the UFC and UFGS associated with doors, associated hardware, and components. The relevant standards are listed in each criteria document and are too extensive to list here.

Additional Resources




Obtaining SME Assistance for DoD Installations

Federal Facility Criteria: