When it comes to handles or knobs, this decision comes down to personal choice, as there are no other right or wrong suggestions. The biggest difference between knobs and handles is the way they look on the door. You will also note some difference in the mechanics required for opening and closing. If you are replacing handles or knobs you might not even have a choice as the hole in the door will be made for one or the other.
Material and Finish
Door handles exist in a great variety of materials, designs and finishes. The decision you make should be in line with what looks best for your doors. Some of the most popular options for braced, ledged or cottage doors feature a black iron finish. Panelled doors look best in brass, especially if you have residence 9 windows. Other interior designs may call for other materials and there are many available for your selection.
The Lock or Latch Mechanism
Door handles must be installed with a lock or latch system. This makes your first consideration, “do I want a lock or latch to secure my door”. If your door is fitted with existing latches or locks you may only need to find a suitable replacement. If you would like the added security of a lock, you will need to consider the lock itself which can add some thought to the adjustment.
If you are looking for insurance grade security, you will need the 5-lever slash lock as Euro lock or one of the multi-point locks with an espagnolette. These are the type of locks that are typically featured on interior doors and bathrooms. This is because there is an emergency release that can be applied to open the door in case of emergency.
Once you know the type of functionality you would like from your lock, you can then select the best back plate.
Backset of Latch/Lock
A doorknob needs a much deeper backset than a door handle. The backset is the distance between the door to the center of the hole which houses the spindle in a secure position, preventing it from opening. The standard distance is between 44 to 50 mm. Doorknobs will need a deeper set of 80mm to 100mm.
If you have existing locks and latches, this is a point where you will want to take even greater care. The rule of thumb is that door handles are best replaced by other door handles. This is because the holes that have been made will not allow the additional holes needed for the doorknob. If you have doorknobs already installed, you will want to replace them with other door knobs. This is because the back set is at too great a distance to accommodate door handles.
Replacements for door handles can be made with doorknobs, and vice versa, nevertheless the process is full of challenges that only an expert woodworker would be able to surpass, and this with difficulty.
Sprung vs Unsprung Door Handles
Spring is applied in door handles to return the handle to the horizontal position after being engaged. This spring is located in the handle, latch or lock. Some of the older types do not feature a springing mechanism and most of the modern varieties do. You can tell which are which as the type with no spring will not return to the horizontal position after being engaged without being connected to a lock or latch. If you don’t have the spring type, you will need a latch or clock with a heavy-duty spring to take over this action.
Door Handle Types
a) Deep Backplates
A door handle can be set into a deeper backplate that can cover the lock hole. This will eliminate the need for a keyhole cover. You will also notice how these options feature elegant designs and generally feature a tidy look. There are many different backplate options which can be applied to various key types.
b) Small Backplates
These function in the same way as most conventional door knobs. The backplate you choose can be round or square and always look decorative. You may need a keyhole cover for this option.