The main question to consider when buying, installing, or maintaining any door hardware is to ask: How will it be used? In other words, what type of door is it being attached to (exterior, interior, front door, bedroom door) and what is its overall purpose (safety, style, utility)? Many times when something goes wrong with an entryway, homeowners blame the door itself. But a door is only as dependable as its components and most problems occur when the inner workings don’t match up to the exterior function. So when on the search for new door hardware, be aware of these 5 simple tips to help in your selection.
- Safety First: Locksets are probably the most crucial part of any entryway. You always want your locks to be state of the art (keyless lock systems have grown in popularity) but more importantly they have to be durable. In other words, don’t go for high-tech models (keypads, card-swipes) if they require a lot of maintenance. If a lock isn’t reliable, then it’s worthless. For traditional exterior doors, go for a single cylinder dead bolt, which requires a key outside and uses a thumb-switch inside. If you have glass porch doors, then you may want to go for a double cylinder, which requires a key for both the inside and out. This way, even if a burglar breaks the glass, it’s still difficult to gain entry.
- The Latch: Along with security, it’s always important to consider your handle. Many times interior doors will use simple handle-locks. These door knob locks are easy to bypass because they use simple mechanics—a simple hairpin can be used to unlock it. But since these locks are only there for privacy’s sake, they’re vulnerability is actually an asset: if somehow you get locked inside a room, it’s easy to be rescued. But when it comes to door knobs, the crucial thing to keep in mind is alignment. In other words, does the door open and close easily. Occasionally check to make sure your latches are catching properly. Remember, a door is only as effective as its upkeep.
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- The Looks: Make sure to match all your door hardware throughout the house. Though you always want to put function ahead of form, you also want to keep an entryway looking good. A very popular trend, for both the exterior and interior, is to get retro. Nostalgic products, such as glass door knobs or brass handles, are timeless and never go out of style. These little accents can really enhance the look of a home. And since the entryway is the first thing people see, spending time and money on beautiful door decor will ensure that guests get an appropriate first impression.
- Attachments: It’s not just about latches and hinges. Door hardware can take on all kinds of components. For added protection to your walls, invest in some kick plates and spring door stoppers. To brighten up the entrance, buy an address plate or door knocker. In the bathroom, install a hanger or two for those wet towels. There are constantly new decorations being invented. For instance, if you have elderly guests, then door-levers may be better than handles. Or for handicap residents, remember there are always new innovations in automatic openers.
- Maintenance: If a door is to remain functional, then you have to make sure all the inner (and outer) workings are running smoothly. Never leave a lock broken (and if you can’t fix it yourself, call a locksmith). Make sure you doors open and close smoothly (if they drag, call a handyman for help). And if there is a squeak in your hinges, don’t use chemical lubricant as they may remove the quality finish or specialty coating. Simple soap and warm water will often do the trick, but always consult the manufacturer to seen which maintenance option will work best for you.
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