There’s more to choosing the right door handle than just going to the hardware store and picking one out. Not only will you be choosing the style of door handle, you’ll also need to pick out an appropriate lock set and additional items as required. Whether you’re shopping for a front or interior door, there are three main things to consider: look, feel and cost. We’ll go over the most common types of door handles and how to lock in the right door handle choice for your home.
Types of Door Handles
Most people will use the terms door knob and door handle interchangeably. When talking to your neighbour about your new door hardware this interchangeable terminology is fine. However, when you’re dealing with a door expert, it’s important to understand the differences so you get the handle you actually want.
The most common item you think of when it comes to the hardware on your door. The term door knob is used as a bit of a catch-all, but door knobs are classified as a round or square knob that requires a tight grasp and a twist of the wrist to operate.
Due to the physical requirements of knobs, they do not meet handicap ADA Barrier Free/Accessible Design requirements. While this is not required in homes, it’s something to consider when designing yours. Door knobs can also be more difficult for people with arthritis to use.
A much better option for those who may find traditional knobs difficult to use. Lever handles are easier to grab and are an approved device meeting Accessible Design requirements. As we age, dexterity becomes more challenging, and gripping and turning door knobs can become an unpleasant but necessary task. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time and aging in place, consider updating your handles to levers now so there are no accessibility issues in the future.
Most commonly found on entry or front doors, handlesets do not have a lock on the handle itself and instead come with a matching deadbolt. Handlesets require you to push down on the thumb latch to open the door, which can be uncomfortable for those with mobility limitations.
When purchasing a handleset, you will also have to consider what kind of lock looks and functions best with it. Usually these sets are sold together, but some stores offer options to mix and match.
How to Choose the Right Door Handle
There are three main things to consider when choosing your new door handles; look, feel and cost. Each one plays a different but important role in the selection process.
While small, door handles can really impact the overall look of your home. Today, there are so many options when it comes to door handles that you might feel overwhelmed. Think about your door handle as another accessory in your home and not just a piece of hardware. Consider the overall look and theme of your home. If your home is modern and sleek, a vintage looking brass knob will not fit the overall look you’re trying to achieve.
Another design element to consider is the doors themselves. Will your home use the exact same door throughout, or will you have different doors depending on the floor or room it’s being used on? If you have the same doors throughout your homes, you’ll probably want to use the same door handles to create a uniform look. However, there are no rules when it comes to designing your home, so if you really want a different door handle on each door, go for it.
How the door handle feels in your hand may sound like a silly thing to consider but it’s actually quite important. You will likely be using this handle countless times every day so you want to ensure it feels good in your hand. Do not purchase a handle that causes you discomfort or you find tricky to use. Consider who will be using the door and if there are any physical limitations to take into consideration.
A common issue homeowners run into when replacing or upgrading their doors is the additional costs they were not aware of. A misconception about purchasing doors is that they already come with handles, latches and hinges. This is not the case. When you buy a door, you’re just buying the door itself. You will separately have to buy the rest of the pieces, collectively known as door furniture.
Handles, latches and hinges are not always sold together so you may need to buy them separately. If you’re updating your doors and not starting from scratch, it’s likely that you’ll be able to use the existing furniture with your new handles. If you are designing a new build home or are adding doors to a room in your home for the first time, you will have to buy and decide on the style of these pieces as well.
Now that you have a better idea of your options and what elements are needed when purchasing a new handle for your door, you can confidently make a decision knowing you’re well prepared. When you’re ready to makeover your doors, use HomeStars to find a door installation company near you.
Cover image courtesy of Southern Living.