Door Hardware 101 – Your Guide to Purchasing Door Hardware

Door Hardware 101 – Your Guide to Purchasing Door Hardware

When purchasing door hardware for the exterior or interior doors of your home, it helps to have an in-depth understanding of the differences between each type. 

Mortise lockset, usually used for exterior doors, is made to be inserted into a rectangular cut-out in the door edge.

Other than their functional purposes, hinges, door knobs, and levers similar hardware components may help add significantly to a door’s aesthetic value.

A lot of finishes and styles of door hardware are available, from beautifully ornate brass hinges and locksets toclassy brushed-chrome door knobs.

 If you are planning to purchase for new door hardware, selecting the best one for you can be quite overwhelming. Here is a guide to help you buy door hardware that’s appropriate for your taste as well as your needs.

Because doorknobs must open, close, and lock doors on a daily basis, it’s crucial that they work smoothly, securely, and efficiently. Moreover, because they can attract attention to a particular part of your home, knobs should be chosen with a special eye toward style and quality.

Prices for door knobs and other door hardware run from about $30 to $800 or even more. Even in door knobs, you get what you pay for. Quality ironmongery are finely machined from top-notch steel and brass and are ornately plated with brass,  chrome, bronze, or similar finishes.

When choosing a new lockset, you must consider several variables.  You must choose whether:

1) It will be a mortise or cylindrical lockset.

2) It is for an exterior door or an interior door

3) It has a lock

Cylindrical vs. Mortise Locksets

Doorknobs, also known as locksets, are classified as having bodies that are either cylindrical or mortise.

A cylindrical lockset has a circular body that fits into a large hole drilled into the door and intersects with the latch bolt, which is then inserted in a second, smaller hole bored into the door’s edge.

This type of lockset does not have a security deadbolt, hence a second independent deadbolt lock must be installed to the door if security is crucial.


Mortise Locksets

A mortise lockset has a big, rectangular body that goes into a rectangular pocket cut into the door’s edge.

The rectangular body of this lockset has the workings for the knob or latch, lever handle, and deadbolt.

With a mortise lockset, the knob is usually linked with a deadbolt–unlocking the deadbolt also frees the latch. Lock buttons at the door’s edge engage or disengage the lock.

Interior Door Knobs

Interior locksets may be referred to as interior knobs, passage locksets, spring-latch locks, or tubular locks. 

Conventional door knob has a rounded body that fits into holes drilled into the door’s edge and face. This kind, with a thumb-twist knob, offers only a minimal level of security. 

The most usual type that has a push-button lock on one side, more often used on bathroom doors, is called a privacy lock. It is not meant to be used as an exterior knob. This kind of lock is generally easy to release from the outside by pushing a thin nail into the hole at the center of the doorknob. 

Interior locksets come in chrome, brass, bronze, and other finishes. Also, they may have round or oval-shaped knobs, or straight, curved, or ornate levers. 

Though some more traditional homes may have doors  installed with old-fashioned mortise-style locksets, almost all modern interior doors use cylindrical locksets since they’re easier to install.  

Exterior Door Knobs

Locksets for exterior doors are also called entry locksets, keyed locks, or exterior locks. These are heavier, sturdier, more durable, and its locks offer a higher level of security.  

Lever-style lockset has cylindrical gear. A door lever is easier to operate than a knob, particularly for the elderly and children. 

Exterior knobs typically come as a standard keyed entry set, an emergency exit knob, and a dummy set (a fixed knob that needs to be paired with an active knob). 

Entry locksets can be locked or unlocked from both sides of the door using a key, throw latch, or button, depending upon the type.


If you are concerned about security, be sure your exterior doors have deadbolts that are either part of the lockset or installed as a separate lock.

A deadbolt should have a minimum 1-inch “throw”, and be made of case-hardened steel.

A keyed deadbolt adds another layer of security to an exterior door. It is worth noting, however, that this can be a hazard in an emergency situation if you can’t easily find the key!

For a double-cylinder deadbolt, you need to use a key from both sides of the door. This is typically the safest type to use for doors with windows. When people are in the house, though, the key should be left in the interior lock for a quicker exit in case of an emergency.


Jaggu is a prolific writer who loves to write to various topics like interior designing, Home Furnishing tips and many more interesting aspects on Interior Designing.

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