Whether you are starting out from scratch or renovating, there are some ‘key’ things you need to consider when approaching the selection of your door hardware.
This is a very important first step, especially in terms of resale and the effect a good choice can have on the value of your house. Stand back and examine your residence from the outside and then the inside. What’s the style of the house? Modern, contemporary, Tudor, Hampton or a mix…? It may even be one style on the outside and a different style inside. That’s OK, so long as you know prior to making your selection. To help you with deciphering it all, we have put together a slide showing house styles and the types of handles that match. You can view this here. Getting this right is a huge step in making the right choice.
What will it need to match in with?
Design trends in recent years have very much focused on this point. In the past, what was in other rooms didn’t matter. Now it does! If you are using chrome in the bathroom, you may consider a two-tone finish on your internal door handles. Such as the handles pictured here. You will see that the touches of chrome tie your bathroom furniture in with the door handles making a forceful but subtle statement. Alternatively, your cabinetry might have a Hampton feel, meaning that you may choose a Hampton style lever such as the one pictured here.
All materials are not equal. Consider your environment, are you near the coast or a particularly windy or damp environment. There are all kinds of materials but in this instance a micronized finish or a brass product is the best. You can learn more about micronized finishes here. Also consider the use – If it will be subject to a lot of use and heavy traffic, the stronger the material the better. A good guide is to check out the warranty. A good warranty should be at least 10 years on the finish and 10 years for the mechanical warranty.
The type (round or lever)
Whether you go for a round handle or a lever handle will almost certainly come down to two things. The look you want, and who will be using it. Round handles a mostly used in period homes that suit that look. However, lever handles are available for those period type homes too so its up to you. Remember that lever handles are much easier to use, and often round handles are very hard to turn, especially if you are carrying shopping.
The door thickness and weight
Doors are getting bigger and wider, and they are also getting thinner in some instances. Therefore, you need to know the weight and thickness of your door. There are some handles that suit thick doors and others designed for thinner doors. Also, if the door is heavy, you need to ensure that the lever handle is strong enough to handle it – no pun intended! Light weight cheap handles such as you can buy from a super store just won’t cut the mustard in these applications.
What is the Function?
This is an important one. Does the room in which the door is need a privacy function or just a latching function? If privacy is needed, there are two options. Integrated or separate. Integrated is cheaper but separate is far superior both in reliability and aesthetics. Separate privacy is also much easier to operate. You can read much more about this here.
There are numerous types of metal plating finishes available today – far too many to list. There are flat finishes such as mat with black being a current favourite. There are the newer antique finishes that deliver the unique aesthetic of an aged finish for the discerning hardware connoisseur. These are intended to simulate the natural and inconsistent qualities that come with tarnish and age, Antique Brass and Antique Nickel finishes are the result of carefully handcrafted process that have been thoroughly refined.
Once again, consider the other rooms in the house. It’s fine to have black handles on the doors and chrome in the kitchen if that’s what you like – the main thing is consider it. As mentioned earlier, its more common to match cabinetry throughout with the door furniture.
Some of the most common finishes used and specified in Australia today can be found here.
In 2020, two really popular finishes are Brushed Nickel and Graphite Nickel. Brushed Nickel is a softer tone than satin nickel and interfaces very nicely with stainless steel. Graphite Nickel is a gunmetal like appearance and is a 2020 architectural favourite. You can view these finishes here.
Combined kit or separate
There are several components required to make up a complete door handle. There’s the latch or mortise lock, there’s the fixings and then there’s the handle itself. Be aware that some companies require you to buy these separately and others pre-make the kit so all you have to buy is one box with everything you need in it. That also effects the price – kitted boxes are less expensive.
Installation or DIY?
Generally speaking, a lever with a latch is fairly simple to fit if you are handy and know how to use a drill! However, 89% of all door handle problems arise from poor installation. If you can afford it, you are better to get a carpenter to assist, especially if it’s a mortise lock. Just remember that your door handles are touched more than anything else in your house so it’s worth the extra little bit to do it properly. You can read more about this here.
Why is this number 10? Because you need to have considered the other 9 before you set your budget! If its worth doing, its worth doing properly, remember – its an investment not an expense.
Other articles you might find helpful