Whether you’re building a custom home or refreshing your existing one from the bottom-up, it’s easy to get lost in selecting all new paint, cabinets, flooring, and more. But when all of these factors are accounted for, many people overlook the finishing hardware touches. Now, a good project isn’t finished until everything is installed correctly and matches your desired form, function, and personal flair. Hardware is many times an afterthought, but for doors that you’ll be interacting with for years to come, it’s important to consider these seven things when choosing door hardware.
Before you buy any hardware for your doors, you should take some measurements before purchasing any sets. Doing so will save you a headache from the chance that you buy the wrong sized knob. The measurements you’ll want to make are for the boor hole, cross bore, backset, and thickness of your door.
- Bore Hole: The bore hole the place where the knob is mounted. The standard measurement is typically 2 ⅛ inches in diameter.
- Cross Bore Hole: The cross bore hole is the small hole located on the edge of your door and is typically 1 inch in diameter
- Backset: The backset refers to the distance from the edge of your door to the center of the large bore hole. The standard measurements are 2 ⅜ inches or 2 ¾ inches. Most doors have a 2 ⅜ inch backset, but you might find that your exterior doors have a 2 ¾ inch backset.
- Thickness: Interior doors are mostly 1 ⅜ inches thick while exterior doors are 1 ¾ inches thick.
When installing your new sets, the latch is first inserted into the cross bore hole. Then, the latch goes through into the bore hole where the door knob is then mounted. Most manufacturers have adjustable backsets, but some don’t so it’s important to make these measurements first are foremost before ordering any door hardware.
Give your guests a great first impression with an elegant exterior entry set! Every entry set comes with a deadbolt for security, but come in different styles for your preferred look.
Handlesets are standard for exterior doors. They come with a deadbolt and handle on a separate trim plate.
- One-Piece Knobset and One-Piece Leverset:
These sets feature a lever or knob with the lock on the same trim piece.
- Lever Combo and Knob Combo Pack:
Both of these sets pair a deadbolt with a lever or knob suited to your specific design goals.
- Exterior and Interior Pack
For a complete entry set, you’ll need to purchase compatible interior and exterior sets. These packs are great if you like different styled door hardware for the inside and outside of your home. The exterior pack has a lock and handle for the outside of your door and requires a person to unlock it before entering. On the other side with the interior pack, the door can be locked or unlocked with a simple turn of the handle.
- Mortise Lockset
Mostly found on old doors, this set features a Mortise lock system. As such, these are only needed if you’re replacing an existing mortise lever or knob.
When choosing door hardware for your home’s interior, there are five basic locksets that are suited for different purposes.
- Passage Lockset
Despite what the name says, passage locksets don’t have any locks at all. As the name suggests, this set is used for gaining access from one place to another and is mostly used indoors. These sets are great for places that don’t need any locks, such as pantries, closets, laundry rooms, and basements.
- Privacy Lockset
For rooms that need privacy, select this lockset for your door hardware. Rooms such as bathrooms, bedrooms, or home offices are the places that need these locksets the most. On the inside of the door is a push or turn button that locks it while the outside has a small hole that lets the door become unlocked in the case of an emergency.
- Keyed Entry Lockset
Keyed entry locksets can be locked on either side so you can use them for interior or exterior settings. The outside can be locked or unlocked with a key while the inside can be locked or unlocked with the same key or turn button. You can also use these sets to lock your valuables inside a closet or other area of your home that needs extra security.
- Dummy Lockset
Dummy locksets don’t contain any locking or latching mechanisms and can be found in single or double-dummy versions. These non-functional sets have knobs or handles on one or both sides of the door. The knobs or handles don’t actually turn so they function more like cabinet pulls. These decorative locksets are typically used for storage areas in your home, such as pantries, linen closets, and more.
- Interior Mortise
These locksets are more common in older homes and look very traditional in appearance. Instead of the lock existing on the knob itself, interior mortise handles have a large rectangular lock that is fitted inside the door. You’ll find that they are usually connected to a deadbolt and come with a pair of skeleton keys.
Ease of Usage
Many people purchase knobs or levers depending on their own personal aesthetic tastes. But, many people don’t factor in ease of use when shopping for door hardware. For exterior doors, handle sets are sturdy, elegant, easy to use, and fit for the nature’s elements. But that leaves the interior side unaccounted for. Should you use a knob or a lever?
Because doorknobs are round, they require twisting of the wrist and a tight grip to use. As such, they can be hard to use for people with certain disabilities. Levers, on the other hand, are much easier to operate, making them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For residential homes, compliance with the ADA isn’t required but when you’re buying new hardware for your doors, you should ask yourself whether you value aesthetics or ease of use.
Door Latch Types
Latch types are often overlooked but knowing what type of latch you have can save you hassle and installation time. There are three different standard door latches: drive-in latch, rounded corner, and square corner plate latches.
On the edge of your door is where you can find your latch configuration. Square corner and rounded corner types have a plate that surrounds the latch while drive-in latches don’t have a plate. If you buy a lockset to replace your current ones, purchasing locksets with matching configurations can save you time during installation. However, you can always find door hardware that’ll work with different configuration types, but it’s still worth knowing what latch configurations you have.
Once you’ve got the technical aspects out of the way, it’s time to choose the right material for your door hardware. There are many different types of materials you can buy and it all comes down to function, your own tastes, and style of your home. Brass material is well suited for many areas of your home. It usually has a plating or lacquer applied to its surface which makes it antimicrobial and very durable. Bronze too is also antimicrobial with a solid look, weighty feel, sturdy construction, which pairs great with older or darker wood. If you’re looking for something truly special for your home’s door hardware, consider knobs made out of glass, porcelain, or crystal. For older homes or vintage restorations, glass, porcelain, or crystal knobs are sure to stand out and make a statement.
Finally, once you determined what materials you’d like to use for your doors, you can select the proper finishes that ties everything together! On your search for hardware finishes, you’ll find many different kinds like antique, matte, polished, brushed, burnished, and much more. When choosing a finish, it’s important to keep a streamlined look that complements all aspects and design choices of your residence.
Oil-rubbed bronze are known as “living finishes” because they will age and patina over time, revealing more color underneath the dark finish. These are great for people love appreciate a sophisticated look that only gets better with time. If you want to skip the aging process altogether, then the antique bronze finish is perfect for you. Pewter and brass with a bright finish are another worthy mention and pair nicely in any house but look especially great in Victorian style homes. These are just a few finishes to help you get started, but feel free to look around and find a finish that matches your decor goals.
Overall, there’s a lot that goes into door hardware so it’s important to understand all of the aspects involved before you purchase new locksets or handles. We hope that this guide for door hardware was helpful but if you’d like any more information or have any specific questions in mind, feel free to contact us. We love to talk everything vintage hardware related and would love to help out in any we can with our extensive antique hardware collection and expertise.