Buying door furniture – things you need to know.
Priors specialise in period style door and window hardware in a wide variety of finishes for all types of historic or modern properties. Here is Vicki Bale‘s advice for selecting door and window furniture suitable for a period home.
Q. What types of finishes are available for door furniture?
A. Our internal or external door furniture is cast in solid brass. Brass can be plated to create other finishes: polished nickel, polished chrome, antiqued and satin. We also have black ironmongery finished with beeswax or powder-coated (painted). For internal use, we also have wood, porcelain and glass door knobs in lovely colours.
Q. How do you decide on the correct finish for your property?
A. There are two routes:
1. Go with the established finish for the period of your home.
2. Go with what you like!
You need to take more care if you live by the sea, where you should consider unlacquered brass or plated finishes.
Q. When would you choose unlacquered brass door hardware rather than lacquered brass?
A. Personally we would always choose unlacquered, because we specialise in period fittings and brass was traditionally unlacquered. Lacquer was introduced to suit modern life, as the brassware does not need to be polished. The downside is that lacquer breaks down and once this happens, brass is ruined. If you buy cheap brassware or you live by the sea, a lacquer finish will soon fail. For more on this subject visit our blog: www.priorsrec.co.uk/blog
Q. How do you decide on the scale and finish of a front door knob and letter plate?
A. You can look at similar doors in your street as a guide and you can also make paper templates to stick to your door. Sometimes this decision is made for you: for example, if you have existing holes in the door from an old letter plate. If you have a new door and there are no limitations to the size of the letter plate, it may be practical to select one with an opening that will allow an A4 envelope to pass through.
Q. For internal doors, handles or knobs?
A. It is purely a personal choice. In our market – period ironmongery, door knobs are far more popular.
Q. Would you need to change the locks on internal doors if you change the knobs?
A. This is tricky to answer, as it may be site specific and locks/latches can be complicated. Generally, if you have door knobs on the doors and you want to change them for other door knobs of a similar size, the locks are not normally a problem. Locks and latches need changing if you are swapping door handles for door knobs. This is because door knobs need more space between the edge of the door and the spindle hole, so you don’t trap your fingers.
Q. How about the hinges?
A. Butt type hinges are used for panelled doors of all types. Hinges should match the metal finish of door knobs or handles. If you have planked, cottage style doors T-Hinges would be the norm.
Q. What is a rim lock?
A. This is a surface mounted box which contains a lock, a latch or both. Rim locks were sometimes plain and sometimes decorative, depending on the era. The alternative is to have the lock or latch mortised into the edge of the door, so you don’t see it.
Q. Should window hardware match door furniture?
A. Not necessarily, but it does look visually pleasing if it all matches.
Q. What important facts should you consider when selecting cupboard knobs for bedrooms or kitchens?
A. Think about what finish will go with the style and colour of the room. You may want to tie-in with the finish of your door knobs or match other metal surfaces. We have a wide range of designs from plain to decorative. Consider the style, then think about the size you require. There’s a variety of sizes from 25mm-60mm diameter. We recommend making a paper template to see what looks best on your cabinetry. For more extensive reading on this subject, read our blog post: www.priorsrec.co.uk/blog
We also have lots of images of cupboard knobs on Pinterest.