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How To Choose And Install Door Hardware

Aug 16, 2023

We never used to work with designers —my dad was more of a classical type of guy – neutral colours and minimalist design. But in the last couple of years, we’ve had the chance to work with many designers, and I have to say their input has been so valuable to our projects. What I think is great is their attention to detail especially in the finishing touches, which includes everything from paint colours and furniture pieces to the door hardware.

Door hardware for both your interior and exterior door really brings everything together.

So what do you need to consider when choosing door hardware? Here’s a guide on picking and installing your front door and interior door locks and hardware.

Choosing the right door hardware may seem trivial, but it’s not, especially when it comes to your exterior door hardware. Exterior door hardware protects you and your family from unwanted guests. It also helps provide privacy and protection from the elements.

Exterior door hardware should have reliable locking mechanisms, strong handles, and castings that can withstand the rigours of family life.

When it comes to your interior doors you have more flexibility with more choices and selections available.

While style plays a big role in your selection, you will also need to consider the different functions within the home. For example, if you’re looking for security for your wine cellar so your kids can’t get in, or privacy for your home office.

You may also need specialized door hardware depending on your door style, like if you have a swing door (inwards or outwards), a double door set-up, or a sliding barn door.

When selecting door hardware there are several factors to consider:

There are also a few additional factors you want to keep in mind when choosing door hardware/locks for your exterior doors, like:

Your door hardware can have several different functions:

Love this matte black Schlage lock we installed on one of our recent projects

Deadbolt door locks are standard for most exterior front doors because they are one of the most secure types of key locks available. The vast majority of homeowners trust traditional key locks for this reason —plus, these locks require no wiring, no Bluetooth, and no internet connection. This makes them impossible to hack without physically tampering with the lock.

Deadbolts come in single, and double-cylinder styles, and are rated according to their strength from Grade 1 to Grade 3. A Grade 1 is the highest and provides the most security.

I personally prefer smart locks, and I know my dad and brother do too —they’re just so much more convenient and secure.

You may have heard us tell this story before, but a couple of years ago, a contractor who had been fired returned to the house unannounced. He never returned the key he had, and he opened the door and came inside at 10 pm, with four girls sleeping in the house. That is SCARY for parents, I have two daughters and this just frightens me.

Since then, we have been installing smart locks on our projects. That makes it easier for the homeowners to just delete the access code instead of hunting down a key.

Smart locks are a good option, if your Wi-Fi is secure, you change your passcodes and passwords frequently and use the security features listed by the manufacturer.

Some homeowners may prefer their front door and hardware to be more neutral and balanced with the overall look. However, from my experience a lot of homeowners want their front door to be a focal point so your door hardware should reflect your style and overall design of the exterior of your home. After all, this is the first impression people have when they see your home. I for one love a good bright door!

If your home’s exterior and door have warm earthy tones then oil-rubbed brass or bronze, polished brass or antique brass can work well and complement this colour palette. A warm colour palette works well with traditional and classic looks.

If you’re going for more of a contemporary or modern look, I recommend something more like stainless steel or brushed nickel. These finishes work really well with modern black, white or bold colour doors, and complement modern architecture.

Red exterior door will look very striking using chrome, brushed nickel or matte black hardware.

I love matte black door hardware. I think it provides a wow factor and contrast when paired with any brightly coloured front door. This is a look that will definitely make your home stand out! My red door and matte black hardware are my favourite features in my house.

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Door knobs, just like handles, are used to open doors. However, knobs (typically circular or oval) lend themselves to more traditional styles and are easy to use with a twist of the knob.

But be mindful that they can be more difficult to maneuver for young children and older adults with grip challenges, so be mindful of this when selecting your door knobs.

Lever door handles are becoming increasingly popular compared to knob door handles as they are easier and more convenient to use, especially if you plan to age in your home.

Door handles also work very well with modern and contemporary designs.

Most door handles and knobs are made of metal and are typically composed of brass, while higher-end models come in chrome or stainless steel. High-quality door knobs and handles’ internal components are made of corrosion-resistant steel and nickel plating that can hold up to heavy use.

Schlage Offers a Wide Range of Door Hardware Finishes

And these are only the colours. They also offer a great variety of styles and trims to suit any interior design style —like the Camelot if you’re looking for a more traditional style, or the Greenwich for a more contemporary feel, or something like the Kinsler for a more modern look.

The Schlage Greenwich lock offers more contemporary timeless feel

When choosing the door hardware finish for your home, not all the hardware needs to be the same finish and style. Instead, select complementary finishes and design features for a cohesive overall look.

It’s important to also consider the material quality of the hardware. For example, stainless steel and satin chrome hardware are the most popular choices for exterior doors and high-traffic areas because of their durability. These finishes will last years without any deterioration.

Remember that different hardware finishes require different levels of maintenance. For example, matte or brushed finishes tend to be more forgiving than polished finishes, which can reveal fingerprints and require frequent cleaning. However, some of the distressed and oil-rubbed finishes if not properly maintained will degrade.

Select a colour and finish that corresponds to the amount of maintenance you can provide.

If you’re unsure what door hardware to choose for your home, check out this style selector by Schlage Locks.

We’ve been working with Schlage for years and I have to say I’m very excited about their newest Schlage custom door hardware. It has a unique core mechanism that allows you to easily change the style, finish and functionality of your door hardware with a simple switch of the cover plate.

This is brilliant because it provides homeowners with a wide range of knobs, levers and trims, to create the perfect look for your home.

Hardware that offers a custom look is perfect for elevating any room and we use it on every one of our shows. We love it, and so do our designers.

This allows homeowners to update or change the hardware as needed. Like when a kid’s room becomes a teenager’s room and privacy becomes an issue, a locking pin can be easily added without replacing the entire hardware. This is perfect because I know when my girls grow up and they want to have their own spaces, it’s such a simple addition —and it doesn’t cost me any more money.

Handles can also be changed to knobs or different finishes without having to change the whole hardware set. You can even have a completely different look on one side of the door than the other.

For example, if your powder room has a unique theme the door hardware on the inside can complement that style while the exterior of the powder room can remain the same style as the rest of the home.

We talked about smart locks being a great choice for your home’s exterior doors if you want more convenience, enhanced security features and remote access.

Remember, choose a trusted brand with updated firmware that follows best security practices. We trust Schlage to do just that, that’s why we’ve been installing them on our projects for years.

Most models today come with a variety of features that include:

Here’s another great feature and why we trust Schlage smart locks and install them on all our projects. They use encryption techniques, with features, like access control options (keypad entry and fingerprint recognition), in both retrofits and full locksets. Plus, they are easy to install. They can also be retrofitted to existing deadbolts – great for DIY enthusiasts.

And because I love smart homes, I love how Schlage smart locks can be easily integrated into your current smart home system. They are compatible with smart home platforms like Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant so you can even unlock your door with voice command when your hands are busy and full after a day running errands.

Here’s another added convenience feature. You can install the Schlage Home app on your phone and lock and unlock your smart lock from anywhere in the world. This will give you total control over your lock and peace of mind that you know who’s coming in and out of your home while you’re away.

Here are some other great features:

Set up unique codes for friends and family – up to 100 unique codes can be programmed

The latest smart door lock from Schlage is the Encode Plus. It has all the great features of the Schlage Encode but now is compatible with Apple Keys. This means you can lock and unlock your door by tapping your Apple Watch or phone on the lock. How simple and convenient is that?!

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Changing your door hardware is relatively simple and updating it with new hardware is an easy way to give your home the lift that it needs. Just remember to ensure the door is properly drilled and aligned with your new hardware.

When purchasing door hardware, it is essential that you check to make sure your door is the correct door thickness. Fortunately, most door thicknesses are standard and prepped with a thickness of between 1 ¾” to 2” thick. However, most manufacturers provide extension kits to accommodate these circumstances.

It’s also important to determine your backset measurement. This is the distance between the door’s edge and the centre of the borehole for the doorknob, lever, or deadbolt. The two most typical backset dimensions are 2 3/8″ and 2 3/4.” The latch or bolt size on your door hardware should be compatible with the backset dimension.

Many types of door hardware feature an adjustable backset, making it simple to adapt to your existing doors because matching the backset of the door to the hardware is essential for a secure door.

So, your doors are prepped and all ready for your new hardware to be installed. Next, gather your door hardware, tape measure and screwdriver. It’s best to use a screwdriver and not an electric drill, unless you are familiar with its power, as it can easily strip the screws and damage your hardware.

Replacing your door hardware is fairly straightforward and some manufacturers make it super easy, but let’s review the breakdown of a typical door hardware installation.

As mentioned previously, most doors come with the standard holes to accommodate most locks, however, if you were changing a dummy handle to a latch set you will have to drill some additional holes.

All hardware sets will come with templates that make it simple for you to mark your points and drill your holes. There are a number of doors and lock installation tools that can help make this process much easier that can be found at your local hardware store.

Next, comes the latch. The latch typically comes with a pre-attached rectangular faceplate. However, in some cases, you may need to adjust the area of the faceplate, to accommodate a slightly different shaped faceplate.

Mark the outline with a pencil and with a chisel remove some of the wood so the faceplate fits nicely and flush with the side of the door. Also, depending on the type of lock you choose you may need to make the latch hole larger.

After the latch hole and faceplate area are prepped your latch mechanism should slide right in, and fasten the screws to secure the faceplate.

Once the holes are prepped the door handle slides into the latch, and then the other handle will line up with the latch on the other side of the door.

Dummy sets have no latch mechanism and typically only have a handle on the outside of the door. However, if the set does have a latch another hole will be drilled on the other side of the door and the handle will be secured by screws on the inside of the door.

Here’s a quick demo on how to install a smart lock.

The most secure door locks are those that adhere to ANSI Grade 1. These locks are difficult to pick or break. However, smart locks are more convenient to use and can be locked from anywhere, but when it comes to security, they are fairly similar to regular locks.

They are just as secure as conventional locks because the majority of smart locks are compatible with a standard deadbolt.

Pro Tip: If you have a smart lock make sure you have a secure WIFI and router. To avoid getting hacked, choose complicated and lengthy passwords and routinely update the login code to increase the security of your router.

The past few years have taught us to be mindful of how we clean high-touch surfaces. Door hardware handles are one of the most highly touched surfaces in our daily lives so regular cleaning is essential, and I think is often overlooked.

Regular cleaning with soap and water, and wiping with a clean damp cloth after is recommended for all door hardware. If using a disinfectant, be careful to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as harsh or abrasive chemicals can cause damage to the surface of your hardware or protective coating,

Chrome finishes can benefit from applying non-abrasive car wax to preserve colour and prevent discolouration. While oil-rubbed bronze finishes evolve and wear over time, the colour will eventually wear down to a copper finish colour. However, wiping this surface with a little vegetable oil will help preserve this finish and make it last longer.

Most internal lock mechanisms are pre-greased and do not require ongoing maintenance under normal usage. However, tubular latches used in external situations should be lubricated with a manufacturer’s recommended lubrication once a year.

Occasionally, dirt and debris can cause malfunctions to the internal components, so a quick spray of canned air can help keep the lock clear.

It is recommended that every year you do a quick check of all your door hardware and tighten any loose hinges or fittings. Undo stress on hinges can cause doors to become loose, so pay attention to any signs of wear and repair immediately to ensure the door is safe and secure and closes properly.

Manufacturers’ guidelines are essential for the optimal functionality and longevity of the product, so it makes sense to follow them. Also, if you don’t there is a good chance that the warranty will become void.

Following the proper installation methods and guidelines will ensure your locks and door hardware provide privacy and protection and look great for years to come.

Most manufacturers have a limited lifetime warranty on door hardware, especially regarding the finish. Never use harsh chemicals or cleaners on oil-rubbed or distressed finishes. Doing so will void the warranty so BE CAREFUL!

Schlage stands behind its products and provides a limited lifetime mechanical and finish warranty. They also have a limited electronics warranty, dedicated resources, and customer support on all their products. Plus, door hardware must only be used for its intended residential purpose and should be appropriately stored, installed, maintained and operated for the warranty to remain valid.

We have a Schlage Smart Lock Installed on all our projects!

In the end, it comes down to preference. Whatever door hardware you select should match your own preferences and the design of your house. However, the hardware on your front door should primarily focus on security and convenience, while the interior of your home allows the opportunity to have more than one style. By mixing and matching your hardware, with different styles, colours and finishes you can create spaces that are uniquely you!

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The style of the home –Function of the doorMatching the door material and colour with the hardwareKnobs or leversQuality, durability and price.RELATED:Selecting a Front Door | A Guide27 Eye-Catching Ideas for Your Front DoorRELATED:A Complete Guide To Building A Smart HomeYour Safe Smart Home: Protecting Yourself from HacksREAD MORE:13 Best Home Products from 2022Mike Holmes’ Tips for a Strong and Secure Front DoorThe Ultimate Reno Guide: Top 10 Home Improvement Products In 2023