In our church every time someone comes into the building through the main entrance, the interior main sanctuary doors come open and make it possible to hear noise from the hallway. Is there some piece of hardware that can be installed on the sanctuary doors to prevent them from opening from the exchange of air flow but still allow entrance into the sanctuary?

  • 2
    A ball latch might work there.
    – Gunner
    Dec 20, 2012 at 2:26
  • Be sure your eventual solution does not run afoul of any applicable accessibility requirements regarding minimum operating force of doors. In the US, ADA requirements limit interior door opening force to no more than 5 lbs, which is extremely light for large doors.
    – bcworkz
    Dec 20, 2012 at 21:43

3 Answers 3


You have two problems really and you can choose to solve one, the other or both.

First is the easier one, securing your doors so they can't be opened by the air. As Gunner mentioned, a ball latch/catch might work however they are designed to allow the door to open with a bit of force.

Ball Catch
(source: homedepot.ca)

Other options include a bolt that you manually open at the top/bottom, or a panic bar:

Panic Bar
(source: keylessaccesslocks.com)

The second way to tackle this problem is to prevent the vacuum that is occurring when the doors are opened. You likely need vents to allow air to flow between the two rooms - either slats in the door or more dedicated HVAC.

  • When considering vents, keep in mind that fireproof doors probably shouldn't have vents. Dec 20, 2012 at 23:11
  • 1
    Good point, though my guess is that if they open just from air pressure changes, they probably aren't fire doors
    – Steven
    Dec 20, 2012 at 23:13
  • It may be worth a call to your HVAC contractor to check the load balancing of your spaces. Since this is a church and the temperature and air pressure of the sanctuary are going to fluctuate greatly between the times when there are no people present and when there is a full house, it's possible that a good HVAC contractor would know what to do about load balancing. Wish I could be more helpful.
    – Paul
    Dec 21, 2012 at 2:40

A magnetic closet door catch (similar to a magnetic cabinet door latch) may provide enough "stickiness" to keep the vacuum from opening the door, but require less force than a ball catch. Here's one example: Magnetic closet door latch

This won't work if your doors swing both in and out.


Install a closer on the interior door. This should keep the door closed and the pressure from the outside door will find equalization elsewhere.

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