Custom Home and Remodeling Blog

Ideas & Advice

Browse through our thoughts on architecture, the building process, design trends, and living in your new or remodeled home. To receive the latest articles, just subscribe using the form that appears beside each post.

Tips For Selecting Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors

Posted by Alexa Lerner on Feb 21, 2022 2:02:45 PM

The Finishing Touch That Makes A Statement And Keeps You Safe

Entry hardware refers to the lock and handle installed on an exterior door leading into your home. In addition to providing safety and security, the entry hardware should visually enhance each door and complement the style of your home.

Accentuating your front door with the proper entry set can make a statement about your home, so make your selection carefully. For design continuity, the entry hardware on your other exterior doors (i.e., your garage door, patio door, basement door, etc.) should be of the same style and finish as your front door, and the look should carry through to the interior doors in your home, too. 

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior DoorsSafety Standards For Exterior Door Entry Hardware

There are three grades of security for locks as designated by the American National Standards Institute. Grade 1 is the most secure, while grade 2 offers mid-level security; both are typically used in commercial settings. Grade 3 is the least secure but is considered suitable for residential applications.

Locks with components that are forged are more secure than locks with die-cast components. Do not choose a lock for an exterior door with low-quality, stamped, plated-steel components because they can easily be opened with a screwdriver or credit card. Be sure to ask if the inside of the entry set you are considering is made from corrosion-resistant components like bronze or stainless steel that will withstand the test of time.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Safety and Standards

How Do You Choose The Right Front Door For Your Home?

Types Of Exterior Door Entry Hardware

Deadbolts can be paired with doorknobs or levers, or you can choose complete handlesets to achieve the look you want for your exterior doors. Be sure to select hardware that will provide optimal security for each specific entry point of your home.

1. Keyed Doorknobs

A keyed doorknob has a thumb-turn or push-button on the inside, and twisting the knob will disengage the latch. A keyed slot on the outside will allow you to lock and unlock the doorknob.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Knob with Lock

2. Keyed Door Levers

Levers are designed for easy operation and don’t require a twisting motion. Pushing the lever down disengages the latch. A push-button or thumb-turn allows you to engage the lock from the inside, while a key is required to unlock the handle from the outside.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Keyed Door Lever

3. Keyed Deadbolts

Deadbolts offer additional security when paired with a locking knob or lever. A single-cylinder deadbolt has a thumb-turn on the inside but requires a key on the outside to lock or unlock the bolt.

A double-cylinder deadbolt requires a key on the outside and on the inside to lock or unlock the bolt. This type of deadbolt is recommended when a door has glass near the lock for added security. In an emergency a double-cylinder deadbolt can be a safety hazard, so keep a key nearby in case you need it.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Deadbolt Lock

4. Keyed Handlesets

A handleset incorporates the knob or lever on the inside, the handle on the outside and the deadbolt in one attractive package. Some handlesets have a single plate that covers the handle and deadbolt, while others have a separate plate for the deadbolt and a matching plate for the handle. Handlesets are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes to complement any décor.

For double-entry front doors or for French doors that lead to a porch or deck, you will need a dummy handleset for the fixed or inactive door and a matching, working handleset for the active door.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Keyed Handlesets

5. Electronic Or Keyless Entry Sets

Electronic deadbolts have a keypad, touch screen, or keychain remote to operate the entry set. Some “smart” locksets are controlled via a smartphone app and can be integrated into your home automation system. Most models have a key slot for backup and are operated with a thumb-turn on the inside.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Keyless Entry

Types Of Keyed Entry Locks

Keyed entry locks are available in two types: tubular lock and mortise lock. They both use tumbler mechanisms to prevent the bolt from turning without a key, whereas a keyless entry set uses magnets rather than tumblers to move the bolt.

1. Tubular Lock

Tubular locks are the most common type of keyed entry lock used in residential settings because they are fairly easy to install and usually cost less than mortise locks. Tubular locks require one hole in the door for the placement of a deadbolt for security and a second, separate hole for the latch bolt. 

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Tubular Lock

2. Mortise Lock

With a mortise lock, the latch bolt and deadbolt are self-contained in a metal box that fits in one rectangular opening that is embedded in the edge of the door. A mortise lock offers additional security as it has a wider and thicker deadbolt than a tubular lock, and it usually requires professional expertise for installation.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Mortise Lock

Styles Of Exterior Door Entry Hardware

There are three predominant styles for exterior door entry hardware sets: traditional, transitional, and contemporary. Choose the style that works with the type of front door you have and that best reflects the architecture and interior design of your home. Traditional-style entry sets have more ornate details in the hardware. Contemporary-style entry sets have sleek and clean lines. Transitional-style entry sets are more detailed than contemporary sets but are not quite as ornate as traditional ones.

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Lever Handle and  Lock

Finishes For Exterior Door Entry Sets

The finish you choose for your entry hardware should be the same on every exterior door of your home and on interior doors as well. Choose a finish that will fit the style of your home and will withstand the climate in the geographic area where you live. There are many finishes to choose from such as:

  • Polished brass
  • Satin brass
  • Antique brass
  • Polished nickel
  • Satin nickel
  • Antique nickel
  • Polished chrome
  • Satin chrome
  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Aged bronze
  • Rustic pewter
  • Matte black

How To Choose The Right Entry Hardware For Your Exterior Doors - Finishes

At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury renovations and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.

Custom Home Guide eBook


Topics: Home Hardware, Guide To Choosing Windows and Doors For Your Home

Subscribe to Email Updates



Custom Home Guide - eBook