Door Hinges, Knobs, Locks and Stops

Learn about the four basic types of hardware.

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Without interior door hardware, doors are just slabs of wood (well, fiberglass or metal, too). When choosing hinges, doorknobs, locks and doorstops, consider both form and function. Here are some basic tips.

Hinges or Tracks?

Swinging doors hang on butt hinges, the two-plate hinge you most commonly see. But if a door is larger or heavier, it might be sturdier on a pivot hinge, which has a rod that turns on openings in the floor and the top of the door frame.

Sliding doors glide on tracks at the top and bottom of the door, while pocket doors recess into a compartment in the wall.

Locks: Type and Function

There are two types of lock, cylindrical and mortise. Unlock them with a key or use an electronic locking system, which lets you operate your locks from a keypad and your smartphone. Cylindrical locks are housed in the doorknob. Mortise locks are seated in a hole drilled in the door, which makes them more secure.

Interior doors typically don't have locks, unless they're privacy locks, the little pushbutton or dial-button on the door knob.

Trim options come in three styles: levers, handles or doorknobs. If you're incorporating universal design, consider levers, which are handicap accessible (you can buy ones that are ADA compliant). Basic finishes come in chrome or brass, but you can also find matte, satin and brushed finishes in bronze, pewter and colors like black or white.

Doorstops keep doors from damaging furniture or walls. These rubber-tipped weights or springs are installed on the back of the door. You can also use a hook or magnets to keep a door in place, or go old-school and prop a door open with a heavy decorative object.

Next Up

How to Choose a Back Door

It's your second-most important door. Choose it well.


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