A guide on door handles: Understanding the Different Types and Materials

Are all door knobs universal:

Throughout your lifetime everyone will have to change a door handle at some point, at this time you will need to know what type of door handles to buy and the shape to get. This could lead to you thinking are all door knobs universal or do you need different types and sizes of interior door handles. 

Unfortunately, door handles are not universal, however, there aren’t many different types for you to choose from. There are three you will need to think about when buying a door handle. These are the backset, and the hole diameter which is also known as the cross-bore this is where the door knob goes, and also whether the door knob is for interior or exterior use as they will get damaged easily if they aren’t used correctly.  All door knobs are different in their compatibility with other door backsets, cross-bores, and other locations. 

Backset length affects door knob choice 

The backset is the distance between the edge to the centre hole where the handle goes, most interior door handles have a backset between 2-3 inches. If you’re changing the door handle on your door you will need to measure your hole to make sure the new backset will fit it as they can be different sizes. 

If there isn’t a pre-existing hole in your door knob you will need to make one yourself before installing the door handle, to do this you will need to purchase a door knob kit to do it. If the backset is the wrong length it can cause some problems with the latch bolt, this is the part that moves when you turn the knob. Using a backset of the wrong size can mean the latch bolt will either be too long or too short to reach the doorknob. 

Keyed entry knobs provide extra security

Most people grew up with lock and key entry doors, they are the most secure and hardest to pick. They are much more resistant than a privacy knob which can easily be opened with a bobby pin. It is very easy to pick an interior door knob, also an exterior is much harder and takes more time as you need a certain key to fit the lock. They give you much more security and it is less likely someone will be able to break into your house with an exterior door handle. However they can be damaged or broken but they are more resistant than a normal price knob, they don’t need replacing often and stay in good condition. 

There are various types of door handles available, each with its own unique style, functionality, and materials. Here are some common types and materials used for door handles:

  1. Lever Handles: Lever handles are one of the most common types of door handles. They feature a lever that is pushed down or pulled up to operate the latch mechanism. Lever handles come in a wide range of designs, from traditional to contemporary, and can be made of materials such as brass, stainless steel, chrome, or even wood.
  2. Knob Handles: Knob handles are spherical or round-shaped handles that are typically used on interior doors. They are available in different materials such as brass, glass, ceramic, or porcelain. Knob handles can be found in various styles, including vintage, antique, or modern designs.
  3. Pull Handles: Pull handles are long, horizontal handles that are commonly used on entrance doors, sliding doors, or large cabinets. They provide a firm grip and are usually made of durable materials like stainless steel, aluminium, or wrought iron. Pull handles come in a variety of finishes, including polished, brushed, or matte.
  4. Flush Handles: Flush handles are embedded into the door surface, creating a sleek and seamless look. They are often used on sliding doors, pocket doors, or cabinet doors. Flush handles can be made of materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, or even wood.
  5. Backplate Handles: Backplate handles feature a decorative plate that attaches to the door, with a lever or knob extending from it. These handles add an elegant touch to traditional or vintage-style doors. The backplates can be made of materials like brass, bronze, or wrought iron, while the lever or knob can be made of various materials.
  6. Materials: Door handles can be made from a wide range of materials, including:
    • Brass: Brass handles offer a classic and elegant look. They are durable, corrosion-resistant, and can be finished in different ways, such as polished brass, antique brass, or satin brass.
    • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel handles are known for their modern and contemporary appearance. They are highly durable, easy to clean, and resistant to rust or corrosion.
    • Chrome: Chrome handles provide a sleek and shiny finish. They are easy to maintain and are commonly used in contemporary or minimalist designs.
    • Glass: Glass handles offer a unique and decorative touch. They can be clear, frosted, or coloured, and are often used in combination with other materials like brass or chrome.
    • Wood: Wooden handles add warmth and a natural feel to doors. They can be carved, stained, or painted to match different interior styles.

In conclusion, door handles are an essential component of any door, providing both functionality and style. They come in a wide variety of types and materials, allowing homeowners and designers to choose handles that best complement the overall aesthetic of the space. Whether you prefer the classic elegance of brass, the modern sleekness of stainless steel, or the unique charm of glass or wood, there is a door handle to suit every taste. Beyond their visual appeal, door handles serve a practical purpose by allowing easy access and operation of doors. Lever handles, knob handles, pull handles, flush handles, and backplate handles offer different mechanisms and grip options to suit various door types and user preferences.

The choice of door handle material is crucial as it determines the handle’s durability, resistance to wear and tear, and overall maintenance requirements. Materials like brass, stainless steel, chrome, glass, and wood each have their distinctive qualities and contribute to the overall look and feel of the door. Ultimately, selecting the right door handle involves considering both form and function. It is important to choose handles that not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the door and surrounding space but also provide a comfortable and reliable grip. By understanding the different types and materials available, individuals can make informed decisions to create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere in their homes or other architectural spaces.

Click here to read about the time I learnt how to use a countersink tool to fit some drawer knobs that were too short!