All doors require hardware, including handles and locks of some sort. But it is your front door that will require the most careful attention, largely for security reasons, since this is usually the main access point to a house, and therefore your point of first defense.
When selecting hardware for the front door, you can shop at a general hardware store, at an outlet like Lowes or Home Depot (www.homedepot.ca) that also stocks doors. Alternatively you could source the hardware online, for example at www.hardware.ca. Here you will find a good selection of items from a variety of different hardware manufacturers.
What is front door hardware?
Door hardware is basically anything that is used to make it possible to open and shut your doors, and to lock them and make them more secure. Front door hardware includes:
- handles and handle sets,
- lock sets,
- door closers,
- door stops,
- a range of other security hardware.
Some reliable hardware suppliers include:
- Canaropa (www.canaropa.com), a homegrown Canadian company that has been in business since 1954.
- Richelieu Hardware (http://www.richelieu.com/ca/en/), that has at least 60 centers across North America,
- Rocky Mountain Hardware (www.rockymountainhardware.com) that specializes in handcrafted architectural hardware,
- Kwikset (www.kwikset.com) that makes solid forged-brass door and decorative hardware.
While not all doors are hinged, most front doors are, and so you will need suitable hinges to hang your front door with – that is if it isn’t supplied with hinges. There are various types of hinges, most of which are either made of mild steel or brass. The most suitable for front doors are spring hinges and five knuckle butt hinges.
Handles and lock sets
Handles range from round or tubular knobsets to those made in the form of a lever, known as leversets. Within each of these types there are a variety of styles and finishes, including satin-finish stainless steel, nickel, chrome, antique and polished brass, and bronze finishes. The best types have galvanized mild steel mechanisms and solid brass cylinders. Generally you won’t buy handles and knobs for front doors unless they incorporate some sort of lock. Even so, it is advisable to incorporate additional protection in the form of deadlocks and other devices.
Handlesets with a mortise lock are ideal for front doors, especially those that incorporate a brass deadbolt. Mortise locks are fitted into the door itself and often come ready fitted. Deadlocks can only be opened with a key and they cannot be forced by sliding something between the lock and the plate. Some have the lock and handle on a single plate, while others have a separate lock and handle with a latch. Both sorts are available in a range of styles and finishes.
Single cylinder deadbolts may also be purchased individually and used on their own, or in addition to a handleset for extra security and peace of mind. A particularly neat, elegant design (the Elegance Series manufactured by Dorex Hardware – www.dorex.com) features a brass deadbolt with a steel rod insert that fits into the door like a mortise lock. These have a handle on the inside of the door and a key hole on the outside. There are also one-sided dead bolts that can only be opened from the inside and not with a key on the outside. These are great for added security, specifically when you are in the house.
Another excellent security option is an interconnected lockset that has a deadbolt and a leverset, making it a great panic-proof exit device when you retract the latch and deadbolt at the same time.
Door closers and door stops
These range from chain door stops attached to the door to adjustable power door closers made in a variety of styles.
Good quality door closers are often made from tough, long lasting aluminum. Some may be concealed in the floor beneath the door, or overhead the door.
While security is paramount at your front door, if you have additional security, a gate for example, or carefully controlled access, you may want to keep your front door open in warm weather. For this reason a door stop might be worth considering when selecting hardware for the front door. Apart from good old fashioned wedge door holders, there is a remarkable choice of door stops including quite simple floor stops (that are mounted to the surface of the floor), kick-down door holders and magnetic door stops.
Other security hardware
Apart from vital locks, there are various other front door hardware items to consider. These include:
- a door knocker, which is only necessary if people are able to gain access to the front door unannounced,
- a door bell which may be fitted to the front door or a front gate, or even a garage door; ideally a bell should also have the option of an intercom so that you can talk to the caller,
- a door viewer, which is useful even if people aren’t supposed to gain direct access to the door (if you here noises you might spot a prowler),
- a security chain or latch so that you can open the door and talk to strangers – if you need to – without making it possible for them to gain entry if you don’t want them to,
- sliding door latches and slide bolts, of which there are many options in terms of both type, finish and color.
Can front door hardware be green?
If you are keen to build an eco-friendly home, you might be asking whether door hardware could possibly be green. The short answer is “yes”! But how would you know this fact?
Like all building materials that have a stamp of greenness (some better than others), door hardware does (or can) too. For example, the Idaho-headquartered Rocky Mountain Hardware is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) which has endorsed the fact that the company’s hardware products contain at least 90% recycled content, 50% of this being post-consumer recycled content and the rest pre-consumer recycled content. This certification qualifies them for up to two LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points.
Another green US hardware manufacturer, that conserves resources and strives to produce less waste, is Truth Hardware (www.truth.com). In 2009 they were awarded winning spot in the Door & Window maker (DWM) Magazine’s first annual Green Awards. They also won a Crystal Achievement Award from the publishers of Window & Door Magazine in a category, Best Product Literature for an interactive, web-based promotional catalog of their products.
Truth Hardware recycles all its scrap materials and corrugated products. They are also striving to be paperless and thoroughly energy efficient.
So when you begin selecting hardware for the front door, you might want to bear these particular manufacturers in mind.