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Door Hardware Basics
Most door hardware will fit the following door preparation. If you have something different, please contact us so we can help you find exactly what you need.
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The first thing to note about most lever handles is that they are “handed.” They have to correspond properly with a right-handed or a left-handed door. If you buy a door handle that is handed differently than your door, then the lever will essentially be upside down. It will need to be pulled upwards instead of being pushed down like a properly installed handle. It is essential that you determine the handedness of your doors before you order your new handles. To figure out if your door is right or left-handed, stand outside of it and look at it. If the hinges are on the right side of the door, then it is a right-handed door. If the hinges are on the left, then it is a left-handed door. This will help you to order the right hardware for your home. However, if you want to keep this process a little simpler, brands like Schlage and Kwikset offer reversible handles. They will suit any door orientation and remove the need for your ordering to be hand-specific.
Determining door handing is easy based on the way the door swings. When ordering a lever for a door, because of the unique styling of some levers, if you install a left-handed lever on a right-handed door the lever design would be upside down. If you just don't want to mess with it, Schlage and Kwikset models are designed to be reversible, and you're only required to specify handing on dummy sets. You can read more on our door handing guide.
There are four primary types of lever-style handles: Keyed levers, passage levers, privacy levers, and dummy levers. Each of these has a specific function. Keyed levers should be used for exterior doors, or any doors that need to be securely locked. Keyed levers feature a locking mechanism with a key. Passage levers do not have a locking mechanism. These are often used in closets, hallways, or any doorway that does not require any locking. Privacy levers are handles that have a locking mechanism, but no key. These are often used in bathrooms and bedrooms, so the door can be locked from the inside for privacy. And finally, dummy levers are handles with no internal latching mechanisms. They are simply used to swing the door open and closed. You will typically find these handles in closets and pantries.Whatever your door lever hardware needs, we’ve got you covered! Just take some time to look through all the door handles and dummy levers that we have available. We’re sure that you’ll find something to fit your needs perfectly!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which way do lever handles go?
Lever handles come in a variety of styles, but those that are curved typically are meant to be installed so that the middle of the curve is up and then down on the end. However, if the incorrect door handing is ordered, the lever would curve down in the middle and up on the end. The lever will still work this way, but is not necessarily designed to be that way. We recommend becoming familiar with how to determine your door handing before ordering so you get it right the first time. Check out our door handing page for more information.
How do you determine the handing of a door lever?
Door handing for lever sets is different than the way it is determined for carpentry. To determine the handing of your door, stand outside the door facing it. If the hinges are on the right it is a right hand. If the hinges are on the left, it is a left hand. For a more detailed explanation of door handing, check out our door handing video
Are Schlage lever handles reversible?
Yes, all Schlage lever handles are reversible except for single dummy levers. You will need to specify handing when ordering dummy levers. If you plan to use dummy levers on both sides of a door, order one right hand and one left hand.
What is a passage lever?
Passage function levers are non-locking. They have a latch that keeps the door closed, but there is no lock mechanism so the door always remains unlocked. Passage levers are typically used on hall or closet doors that have no need for a lock.
What is a privacy lever set?
Privacy levers have a locking mechanism for privacy and are typically used on a bedroom or bathroom door. Privacy locks don't provide the amount of security that an exterior keyed lock would so they are not recommended for exterior doors. Some privacy locks have a turn button lock mechanism in the lever, while others have a push-button or push pin in the rosette. They are also shipped with a generic unlocking tool that can be used to unlock the door in the event of an emergency. There is a pinhole in the lever handle or rosette on the exterior where the generic unlocking tool is inserted to unlock.
What is an entrance function lever set?
Entrance lever sets have a key cylinder on the outside of the door and a push-button lock on the interior. Entrance levers are used on any door that needs the security of a key cylinder which are typically exterior doors. Entrance lever handles are often used in conjunction with a deadbolt for additional security and can be keyed alike other entrance levers and deadbolts of the same brand.
What is a single dummy function?
Single dummy levers are for aesthetics only. They have no latch mechanism and are single-sided and surface mounted to the door. These are typically used on double closet doors that use a ball catch mechanism at the top of the door, or on the inactive side of a double door (french door).
Are all lever handles reversible?
Not all lever handles are reversible. If we ask for door handing on our website when ordering, they are not reversible. If you don't want to have to worry about handing, take a look at Schlage, Kwikset, and Baldwin Prestige. Nearly all of these two brands are reversible (other than dummy function).
This is a subjective question that is more so based upon personal preference and the type of needs you have for your door hardware. While there are certainly more popular brands—Baldwin, Yale, Kwikset, and Schlage to name a few—what you need out of door hardware for will dictate the best brand for you. Some brands are more focused on commercial security instead of aesthetic value. Others believe in the power of keyless entry, while many brands focus on traditional and elegant keyed door locks.
The first step in choosing door hardware is determining your needs. Where will your new door hardware be installed? What level of security do you need? How important is the finish and style to you? Ask these questions to find the perfect door hardware brand.
Door handles have different types of names, some of which people use interchangeably. A door handle refers to a knob or lever. While knobs are round (though they can be square or other shapes too), levers open the door by pushing down.
As with all trends, what's popular one year may not be the next. For 2020, some of the most popular door handle finishes are Brushed Nickel, Graphite Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Matte Black, Silver, Matte Brass, and Copper. Essentially, homeowners and designers love warm colored metals. Anything matte, brushed, or antiqued is a great choice.
If you're not sure which way your lever handle is supposed to go, take a look at your door from outside the door. Where are the hinges? If they're on the left, it's a left-handed door, meaning you need to install your lever handle with the inside lever point to the right. If your hinges are on the right side of the door, it's a right-handed door. The lever handle will need to be pointed to the left on the inside.