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Changing Door Hardware

November 27, 2013 Categories: Home Renovation Tips

Entry Door

In this post, you'll learn ...

  • What options you have for updating your front door.
  • How to measure for door hardware placement.
  • What to expect when changing door hardware.

Changing Door Hardware

Entry Door with natural stained wood and brass door handleFirst impressions are everything. That’s not just in regards to you. It’s also in regards to your home. Often your home’s first impression on anyone will be made when they walk up to your door. Take a look at it and tell me what you see. If it looks rather bland or you notice chipped or tarnished hardware, then it may be time to take action.

Not only is changing door hardware easier than most think, it can also change the visual appeal of your home’s whole entrance way. Not to mention, it’s generally one of the most inexpensive upgrades to boost your curb appeal.

Obviously, the most common door “hardware” would be your knob/handle and lock. Replacing these can cost anywhere from $25-$500 – depending on your taste and budget. And if you are a weekend warrior, this is up your alley. It’s a great project for the weekend, and can be done with one or two people.

The primary element to make your job easy is to find a handle and lock assembly that fits your existing drill outs. This will make the replacement fast and easy, plus it will give you some guidelines to use as you navigate your way through picking new door hardware.

With our first focus being on locks, there are two primary options you can choose from: tubular and mortise. Tubular locks install in two holes, are more widely available and less expensive. Mortise locks install in one hole, are sturdier and usually require a locksmith to install.

When choosing a lock it is important to make sure the setup is the same as your old lock. Check the strike plate on the lock set to make sure it will fit in the existing impression of the door jamb. By ensuring it will fit smoothly, you will avoid having issues later with your door, strike plate and jambs.

Knobs and handles are easier to adapt to existing doors than levers. They can be adapted to left or right swinging doors. Entry sets that include levers, however, are a bit more complicated. If you find yourself wondering if your door has a left or right swing, just take a look at it and find where the door hinges are. If they are on the left, then the door has a left swing. If they are on the right, the door has a right swing.

One of the first steps of this door up-grade will be determining hole placement. To expose the holes in the door, remove the interior lock hardware.

Measure from the center of the knob hole to the center of the lock hole - this determines your “spread.” Your replacement set has one piece of exterior escutcheon that holds the latch and lock cylinder, the spread needs to match those holes exactly. Now is the time to check.

pewter entry door hardwareNext you need to measure to get your “backset.” This means measuring from the inner edge of the door to the center of the knob and lock holes. This measurement should be 2 3/8 or 2 ¼ inches in most cases.

If that all sounds a little bit complicated then don’t worry. Let’s try and go over this step by step and in a little more detail.

Removing your old entry set comes first. Start by taking out the mounting screws that hold the interior knob and locking hardware to the exterior handle and lock cylinder. Unscrew the faceplates on the door’s inner edge to remove the dead bolt and latch bolt. You can then replace the existing strike and latch plates in the door jamb with the ones from your new set.

After replacing everything you just removed, you’ll have a new dead bolt and latch bolt in place. This should make it incredibly easy to slide your new handle set in. The handle should fit and slide right into the existing exterior holes being exposed. The posts for the handle’s lock cylinder and thumb latch should slide right into the latch bolt assembly as well as the dead bolt assembly.

Once you have the exterior door hardware on, you’ll need to secure the interior door hardware. Again, your new set should fit rather easily if everything has been measured correctly. Fit the new lock over the projecting cylinder post and place the new knob’s spindle and rosette assembly onto the thumb latch post. If these terms sound unfamiliar, do not worry. Most of the knob/lock/handle assemblies should have everything clearly marked and labelled for you.

Take your interior knob and put it on the spindle and tighten its setscrew. You’ll also have a mounting screw to insert that will steady the base of the handle. Your set should also come with a decorative cover for it.

Finally, if you are installing a new knocker, you’ll need to drill holes for your knocker and kickplate. This will be rather self-explanatory once your see your kickplate and knocker hardware. Make sure they are tightly fastened, in addition to your handle set. If these items are loose, they will become looser and looser over time due to extended and excessive use.

A new knob and lock can give a door personality. By choosing your own set, you can ensure that your door has the exact hardware you want and it’s installed to last a while. Knobs and handles come in so many different styles for a reason: these items are crafted to match your home’s personality. You might want something sleek, something eye catching, something quiet.

First impressions truly are everything especially when it comes to homes. Breathe some fresh air into your entrance way by changing door hardware and adding the exact personality you want and envision.

Realizing that maybe it’s not the hardware that needs upgraded, but the door itself? Stanek Windows offers an extensive selection of ProVia fiberglass and steel entry doors custom made for your home. Check out our entry doors online today or schedule a free and convenient in-home estimate. We will bring everything to you.