Doors Knowledge Area  

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

Updated: 10-07-2021


"Corrosion" is most often associated with "rust" and the oxidation of other metals. It is defined by statute 10 U.S.C. § 2228 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, moisture, heat, mold, mildew, wind, and other environmental factors. Those corrosive factors impact the full range of facility types such as: pipelines, fuel tanks, pavements, bridges, roofs, electrical equipment, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, water towers, fire hydrants, motors, compressors, wharves, piers, boilers, ladders, stairways, fire sprinkler systems, steam and water distribution lines, fencing, as well as doors and the supporting structures, and hardware.

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." Doors and their components such as locks, hinges, and door jambs provide very visible architectural features at an installation and can become dysfunctional, become unsightly, and compromise security due to deterioration caused by corrosion. This Knowledge Page addresses CPC requirements, insights and information for access doors, louvers, rolling metal counter doors, and shutters and will summarize the extent of guidance related to the broad area of doors and how to address the associated reduction of corrosion costs.

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 Unified Facilities Criteria (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.


Doors serve 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. Maintaining doors, hardware, and related building envelope security penetrations can be extremely costly. Unlike with other building components, the repeated opening and closing of doors and associated hardware and components increase the likelihood of corrosion deterioration and requires more frequent attention in the form of adjustments, repairs, and coating restoration. The geometry of the door openings, such as thresholds, weatherstripping, caulking (or lack thereof) and many other opportunities for intrusion of moisture, create extensive corrosive avenues. The "Doors" nomenclature should be understood to include hangar doors, roll-up doors, ammunition storage, secure area access and all other sophisticated entry closures many of which may have huge operational impact. If they work and are well-maintained, then there are few problems. But, when those same closures do not work, if a tractor is needed to push a hangar door closed or if that same door falls and causes damage to aircraft or death, then that door becomes a critical issue that must be addressed. Doors serve an essential purpose. Often, those doors impact operations.

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 ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
  • The study recommends, "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."

Door Design And Durability

The UFC 1-200-01 DoD Building Code Appendix lists initial Environmental Severity Classification (ESC) Zone calculations for specific installations and locations as a quick view, although the designer should utilize the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Corrosivity Category Estimation Tool (ICCET) Toolbox to establish the most accurate ESC classification. If the ESC zone lies between C3 and C5 depending on the specific criteria document, additional corrosion prevention and control (CPC) measures must be applied. These measures would include the selection of more corrosion-resistant 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. Note that the Environmental Severity Classification (ESC) is discussed on the CPC Source ESC Web Page and can be calculated for the specific location under consideration in the ICCET Toolbox. The Corrosion Prevention and Checklists Tool has also been provided as an assist in for creation of designs, sustainment and CPC program management.

The UFC 1-300-02 UFGS [Unified Facilities Guide Specifications] Format Standard 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 practice is consistent with the guidance in both UFC 1-200-01 and UFC 1-300-02, which directs designers to select materials, coatings, and other design elements accordingly, as well as discipline criteria.

Note, for example, that if a facility such as a swimming-pool enclosure (see UFC 1-750-07 Recreational Aquatic Facilities and UFC 4-171-01N Design: Aviation Training Facilities), 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. Designers must then select materials that will resist corrosion at a higher intensity than the rest of the facility.

CPC Door Design Strategies

  • Identify the appropriate ESC Zone from UFC 1-200-01 and the ICCET Tool
  • Identify local corrosive environmental factors:
    • Location—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.
    • Pollution—Industrial and urban such as deicing salts, airborne pollutants.
    • 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:
    • Door function to include security, safety, entry requirements, accessibility, ventilation, and boundary identification
    • Wind load criteria, which are especially critical for large surface areas such as hangar and large roll-up doors
    • High performance building requirements (UFC 1-200-01) 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 saltwater 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. 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:
      • Criteria—There are several UFC (UFC 3-190-06 Protective Coatings and Paints) and UFGS (multiple sections in the 90 9x xx series) criteria documents that are current and reflect recent technologies in coatings. These should be reviewed and applied.
      • 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 by incorporating 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 (such as cleaning, drainage in door tracks, and application of corrosion preventative compounds)
  • Consult with subject matter experts and stakeholders when appropriate
  • Leverage the CPC Checklists Tool

A summary of door requirements and detailed discussion follows, along with considerations outlined in the applicable UFC and UFGSs. Note that this is a summary list, and each document should be researched carefully in order to establish its application to the project and door type. Extensive guidance is provided in both UFC and UFGSs focused on doors and the associated hinges, installation methods, weatherstripping, and specific door types. 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. Corrosion is often not the focus or even mentioned in detail; however, how a door is designed, installed, coated, used, and maintained impacts the extent of corrosion that is realized along with the associated life cycle expectancy.

  • UFC 3-101-01 Architecture describes corrosion requirements such as finishes and material types (SS 316L, Galvanized) consistent with ESC designations identified in UFC 1-200-01.

  • UFC 3-190-06 Protective Coatings and Paints provides technical guidance for effective use of paint-type coatings to protect multiple materials including metal consistent with the definition of "Corrosion Prone Locations" with ESC C3, C4, C5 and Humid Locations (ASHRAE climate Zones 0A, 1A, 2A, 3A, 3C, 4C, and 5C as identified in ASHRAE 90.1).

  • UFC 3-301-01 Structural Engineering describes structural considerations for doors, especially for large openings such as warehouses and hangars. Corrosion is addressed in the context of structural design in corrosion environments and UFC 1-200-01 (referral).

  • UFC 4-211-01 Aircraft Maintenance Hangars references UFC 1-200-01 stating that designs must meet applicable requirements. There are extensive references to doors and the associated design requirements. References to corrosion concern corrosion control hangars and facilities.

  • UFC 4-440-01 Warehouses and Storage Facilities discusses thermal loads and risks for overhead doors, deflection and drift, and fire doors. It provides direction on doors and hardware and associated American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Steel Door Institute (SDI) standards and requires compliance with UFC 1-200-01.

  • UFC 4-720-01 Lodging Facilities requires conformance with UFC 1-200-01 and National Association for Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International for corrosion control on all lodging facilities projects to include material selection. It addresses exterior door design details such as weatherstripping and heavy-duty metal thresholds to prevent the entry of water. Note that this UFC has not been updated to directly include ESC and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) requirements although it refers to UFC 1-200-01.

Here is a sampling of some specific UFGS. Designers and engineers should refer to each applicable UFGS, referenced criteria, and standard to ensure that they are making the correct door selection and installation decisions.

  • 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. It requires ESC determination based upon UFC 1-200-01.

  • 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 for corrosive environment exposure. It is recommended to take note of requirements for the protection of dissimilar metals. This UFGS requires ESC determination based upon UFC 1-200-01.

  • UFGS 08 13 73 Sliding Metal Doors recommends the use of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) doors and frames in highly corrosive environments. The section on hardware provides definitive corrosion-prevention guidance mentioning geometries, dissimilar metals, drainage, material selection, and other factors. For increased corrosion protection, applicable Society for Protecting Coatings (SSPC) Paint standards are recommended. Additional finish explanations are included as well.

  • UFGS 08 33 23 Overhead Coiling Doors establishes 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. It requires the use of stainless steel of aluminum curtain materials for corrosion protection for ESC Zones C3 through C5. It also requires ESC determination based upon UFC 1-200-01.

  • UFGS 08 34 16.10 Steel Sliding Hangar Doors specifically requires painting of hangar doors provides specific guidance for the coating of hangar doors. It delineates requirements for design drawings. Note that for hangar doors, rail drains are required along with defrosting equipment in cold areas. The UFGS states that 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 71 00 Door Hardware provides an extensive description and discussion on applications for locks, latches, hinges, electrical hardware, and other door hardware. Recommended material types and location restrictions are included. This UFGS requires ESC determination based upon UFC 1-200-01 including determination of ASHRAE humid location designations.

The linked list summarizes the expansive complexity of the design and sustainment of door systems. Correct 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. 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 (see ASHRAE humid locations guidance in UFC 1-200-01), 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). In addition, the Marianas Navy and Marine Corps Design and Construction Standards (MDACS) states, "all exterior and interior door hardware, fasteners, etc., shall consist of SS 316 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 and to mechanical systems such as drives, and locking, 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, coating, and damage-repair actions are emphasized in the criteria documents to include repair actions on surfaces that become damaged (see UFGS 08 34 16 Corrosion Control Hangar Doors).

It is recommended that designers carefully review each criteria document to ensure that the appropriate materials and coatings 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)

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 based upon extensive lessons learned. Guam is considered an extreme C5 location (C4 inland). By using MDACS as an example, contractors and designers can benefit from the engineering thought processes made to ensure that the materials appropriate to the location and ESC Zone where the project is located, including addressing micro-environments, meet the identified risk levels and the associated life-cycle performance requirements. Several entries in the Corrosion Prevention and Checklists Tool originate from the MDACS.

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.

  • Periodically rinsing 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.

  • Eliminating or limiting 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 (eOMSI) 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Use a community of practice (COP) to communicate best practices or information to all facilities. A COP coordinated through the Web (or discussion forums, phone conferences, or email lists) can be useful when looking for more information regarding new technologies or to send out a message about a problem and seek possible solutions.


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 reduce 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 and ASHRAE Humid Locations designations.
  • 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. Initially investing in corrosion prevention is typically more LCC-effective than the maintaining, repairing, and replacing prematurely degraded components.
  • Design and specify doors and associated components to reach the intended service life, including using enhanced materials and coatings in severe corrosive environments.

Following and leveraging design criteria, lessons learned, and guidance (UFC 1-200-01 and UFC 1-300-02) for highly corrosive environments will increase the chance of providing doors, hardware and supporting structures that will meet 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 Corrosion Science Knowledge Area for more insights into the effects of corrosion on door design and materials selection will help designers make decisions that are cost-effective and more durable across the life cycle.

Additional Resources

Department of Defense—Whole Building Design Guide

Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC)

Unified Facilities Guide Specifications (UFGS)

Additional WBDG Resources

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.

DoD Installations Organizations

Federal Facility Criteria: