Not Thinking About Door Hardware


Out of the Office

There are days when I don’t think about door hardware at all. I know this is hard to believe because it’s such a fascinating product, but it’s true, sometimes we get away from it all and spend some time doing something fun. This last weekend my brother and I took our kids on a backpack trip into the peaks of Northern Utah. We had a great time and honestly I could have used a day or two longer in the mountains to forget about my worries.

Door Latch Comparison

Ever wonder how the latch mechanisms compare from brand to brand? Most people probably think very little about their door latches and how they are made, but I’m a door hardware geek, so it interests me. First of all, let me describe the three most common types of door latches today. I’ve included an image of how they look on the edge of your door so you can compare to what you have.

Drive in Latch

Drive in Latch

Drive-In Latch

The drive in latch is the easiest to install. You don’t have to chisel anything out of your door, just tap the latch into the hole (make sure the latch is placed in the correct direction) and you can install the knob or lever. If your door is already prepped for a larger faceplate, these won’t work. How do you know? If the edge of your door is smooth with just a 1″ hole for the latch, drive in will work. If the 1″ hole has a rectangular indentation around it where some of the door material has been removed, you’ll need one of the following types of latches.

Pros: Super easy to install. No door prep other than bore hole and cross bore.

Cons: Not quite as solid as larger faceplate styles, don’t look quite as nice.

Rounded Corner Faceplate Latch

Rounded Corner Faceplate.

Rounded Corner Faceplate Door Latch

Rounded corner faceplate latches are pretty common. Door shops will often use a router jig to remove the material around the crossbore (latch hole). Because they are using router bit, the corners are rounded. Doing this takes a little more time for the door shop, but in looks nicer on the door than a drive in latch does. The larger faceplate also keeps the latch solidly in place as it’s position is held with 2 mounting screws, whereas the drive in latch can shift in the crossbore if it is not snug enough.

Pros: Door shop can prep the doors so the install is easy. Looks nicer. More solid than drive in.

Cons: If your doors aren’t prepped, you need power tools, jigs and some experience to do it.

Square Corner Faceplate Latch

Square Corner Faceplate

Square Corner Faceplate Latches

Square corner faceplate latches are standard on most higher end door hardware brands. These are generally installed the old school way using a nice sharp chisel and hammer. If done properly, a nice square corner faceplate latch chiseled  carefully and at just the right depth looks the best. If you have rounded corner faceplates you can replace them with square corner by chiseling out your corners, but they usually look the nicest if you are starting from scratch, rather than retro-fitting. I personally like this look the best because it is nice and clean and I like square corners.

Pros: Nice and Clean lock. More secure on the door than drive in. Can use these to replace rounded corner or drive in.

Cons: Take a little time, patience and skill with a chisel to prep the door.

Now that we’ve covered the main types of latches, lets get into the different brands and what type of latch they are packed with from the factory.

Schlage Latch

Schlage Latch

Schlage – The nice thing about Schlage latches is that they design them so that they are compatible with all of the most common latch designs so they are an easy replacement.  The Schlage latch shown here has the faceplate attached (packed with both square corner and rounded faceplate) but you can remove it and use the latch as a drive in instead. A great replacement lock. Schlage latches have adjustable backsets.

Kwikset Latch

Kwikset Latch

Kwikset – Shown here is the drive in option on their latches. Kwikset also packs their latches with all three options, drive-in, rounded faceplate and square faceplate. Also a great replacement lock because of the flexibility of their latches. Kwikset Latches have adjustable backsets.

Weiser Latch

Weiser Latch

Weiser – Also similar to the Schlage and Kwikset latches because they will accomodate however your door is prepped. Weiser was recently purchased by Kwikset so they may be packing identical latches soon. Weiser latches have adjustable backsets.

Sure-Loc Latch

Sure-Loc Latch

Sure-Loc – Sure-loc latches are basically drive in latches with a removable rounded corner faceplate. You can request a square corner faceplate latch as well, but they are not packed from the factory with this type as the drive in or rounded is the most common. Sure-Loc latches have adjustable backsets.

Weslock Latch

Weslock Latch

Weslock – Weslock latches in my opinion are the nicest latch for the money in the pricepoint their door locks are in – competing with Schlage, Kwikset, etc. The latch is heavy duty and adjustable by snapping off the end of the latch. Weslock packs their door hardware with a latch and both rounded and square corner faceplate. Drive in latches are available upon request, but not standard.

Emtek Latches

Emtek Latch

Emtek packs their hardware with standard square corner faceplate latches. Rounded Corner faceplate latches and drive in latches are available upon request. Emtek latches are not adjustable so you will need to specify 2 3/8″ or 2 3/4″ backset when you order.

Grandeur Latch

Grandeur Latch

Grandeur, Nostalgic Warehouse and Baldwin all use latches that are very similar to Emtek’s Latch style. All are packed with square corner faceplates as a standard. You can request the rounded corner faceplate latches or drive-in. All of these brands require you to specify the backset upon ordering.

There are many other brands of hardware out there which may have different latch styles, but hopefully this give you a good overview of the main brands. Most faceplates are 1″ wide and 2 1/4″ tall. The most important thing is that you double check what you have before you replace it. If you have ordered locks with the incorrect backset or latch type, we can just replace the latches for you rather than returning them all.

Why is Determining Door Handing So Confusing?

Door handing is something a lot of people struggle with and something we have a lot of calls about because people often order the incorrect handing. Many of the problems seem to lie with the difference in the way carpenters determine handing and how we do. It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult, the door hardware industry as a whole determines door handing differently than carpenters do – we have to in order to get you the right setup. Customers usually side with their builder, probably because they’ve already been working with them for months before they finally need door hardware. I think it’s great that they trust their builder, but the way door handing is determined for carpentry is a bit different than it is when you order door hardware. So while the carpenter is adamant that he knows how to determine door handing, he may be right [for carpentry] but when ordering door hardware, you should trust the people that do it every day. Why?

When a carpenter is hanging doors all he has to worry about is the swing – right or left. When you order door hardware you need to know the swing, but you also have to know which side of the door the lock will be on. This makes things seem a little more complicated but it’s actually quite easy if you just follow some simple rules.

Follow These Steps:

step 1 Stand facing the door on the outside – If it’s a locking door, stand on the side of the door where you would insert a key (or unlocking tool if it would be a privacy lock). For interior doors you would stand on the side of the door you enter from – i.e. in the hall if a hall closet, in the bedrooom if a door opens to a bath, in the kitchen if a door opens to the pantry.
step 2 If the hinges are on the left, it’s a left hand door. If the hinges are on the right, it’s a right hand door.

Door Handing Image

To make things a little easier, Schlage and Kwikset have designed their levers to be reversible so you don’t have to worry about specifying handing when you order, but most of the other brands you do. It’s really pretty simple if you just follow these simple steps above.

Keyless Door Locks

In the market for a new keyless lock? There are several types of Keyless locks available on the market today so it’s worth a look to see which each type of lock offers. We have several brands and styles available, most of which are for residential or light commercial use, including marine grade keyless locks. We do also have commercial options available upon request.

Keyless Deadbolt from Emtek, Schlage and more.

Keyless Deadbolts

Keyless or Electronic Deadbolts – Keyless deadbolts are quite popular and available from major brands like Emtek, Schlage, Weiser, Kwikset and even in mechanical versions from Lockey. If you want a keyless deadbolt with a remote key fob (like you would have for your car door locks) we have those available too from Lockstate. Keyless deadbolts allow you to enter your home with a combination entered into the keypad, or you can bypass the keypad with your key if you have it available. Keyless deadbolts allow you program (and re-program) multiple combinations so that different people can have access but not necessarily have the same code. These keyless deadbolts do not require any special electrical wiring, but the electronic deadbolts are battery powered. The batteries do last quite a while and most will have an alarm that sounds upon entry to let you know when the batteries are getting low. The main thing you need to be careful about with a keyless deadbolt is that if you have a keyed door knob or lever below the deadbolt that gets locked… you’ll be able to unlock the deadbolt with a code, but you’ll need a key for the doorknob below. To prevent this you can install a passage / non-locking function knob or lever that is always open.

Keyless Door Knob and Lever Handles

Keyless Doorknobs and Lever Handles

Keyless Doorknobs and Lever Handles – If your door only has one bore hole for a knob or lever a keyless doorknob or lever is the best for you. We have many variations of the keyless levers and knobs. These will all allow you to program multiple combinations, but some have added features that may be desirable for your application so I’ll explain a few here.

Schlage Flex Locks – Schlage makes a keyless lock called a flex lock which allows you to set the door to automatically lock behind you and require a keycode for entry. It also gives you the flexibility of setting it as unlocked so you are required to lock the door as you leave. The Flex lock is a great choice for a home office or business where you want the lock to remain open during certain hours, then locked after hours. Emtek keyless levers also work in this same manner, though they are not called Flex locks.

Schlage Auto-Locks – These keyless locks will always lock behind you when you leave. These types of locks are great for homes where you don’t want your forgetful kids to leave the door unlocked when they leave.

Another type of Keyless Lever we carry is the Lockey Double Combination keyless lock. These locks are mechanical so they do not require batteries or electronics. The double combination means that you have to enter the combination to enter or exit the building.

And finally one of our more popular electronic Locks is the Lockstate Resort Lock. The Lockstate Resort Lock is a great keyless lock to have on your office, or vacation home because it allows you to do multiple things that a normal keyless lock won’t do. With Lockstate software (sold separately) you can program codes only valid for certain dates. For example if you want a customer renting your vacation home to only have access from Friday at noon to Sunday at 6 P.M. you can generate a code for him that will work during those time periods only and then be invalid. You can also set up permanent combinations and with the software be able to track who entered the building and when. This tracking ability is very handy for apartment manager, business owner or anyone who wants to be able to know who was in the building at certain times. The Resort Lock is available in the standard RL2000 series and a heavier duty RL4000 series for commercial use. You can run multiple Resort locks with only one software license.

Keyless Handlesets

Keyless Entry Handlesets

Keyless Entry Handlesets bascially work the same as the keyless deadbolts. The lower portion is the same as any other handleset, but the deadbolt has been replaced with a keyless deadbolt. There aren’t a whole lot of styles available for these, but we’ve had many customers purchase a keyless deadbolt to replace their current handleset’s deadbolt. You could also buy a new handleset and replace it’s deadbolt with a keyless deadbolt to get the style you want (sorry, we can’t sell handlesets for less without the deadbolt portion- they are packed from the manufacturer with the deadbolt).

Keyless Mechanical locks from Lockey

Keyless Mechanical Locks

Keyless Mechanical Locks do not require batteries and are available in many different styles for different applications from businesses to sliding doors to gates. Be sure to check out the many different Mechanical Locks from Lockstate and Lockey.

In summary, there are many different kinds of keyless locks available. They all share the convenience of not having to carry a key, or pass out keys to those you want to grant access. Hopefully this information has helped you narrow down your search to find the keyless lock that will work best for your application.

I Can’t Remove My Door Knob

Having problems removing your old door knob to replace your knob or re-paint your door? You probably have a concealed screw mounted door knob. Door knobs require mounting screws on one side of the door to hold the inside and the outside halves together. Generally the manufacturers will put the screws on the inside half of the knobset because it is usually seen less than the outside half – for example if you walk down a hallway you will see the outside half of all of your door knobs, but you won’t see the inside half unless you are inside the room or closet. Another reason the mounting screws are on the inside half is so that when you are using a locking function knob it is more secure. If you had a locking doorknob with mounting screws on the outside, someone could easily remove the screws from the outside and take apart the knobset for entry. In this article i’ll show you how to remove your door knob in just a few simple steps. It’s quite easy to do, though maybe a little confusing for the first timer without a little help.

First, on the inside of the doorknob, find the little tab on the shaft part of the knob. Some brands have more of a circular button, some have a rectangular tab like this one shown. Either way, it’s just a small piece of metal sticking out (or sometimes flush with the surface).

Once you find the tab, depress it with a flat screwdriver, paper clip or something small enough to fit in the hole. Once the button is depressed you will be able to slide the doorknob off of the base mounting assembly as shown.

Once you have removed the knob, you will be able to remove the rosette (backplate). Don’t try and remove the rosette beforehand because it won’t come off with the knob in place. To remove the rosette, find a little slot along the edge of the rosette(backplate) somewhere. They are generally positioned to be on the bottom of the rosette so they are not visible, this one worked out well for photos since it is right on the side. To remove the rosette, all you have to do is gently pry with a flat screwdriver between the little slot and edge of the rosette as shown.

Be careful not to scratch up your door or hardware. When you pry on the rosette it should pop off the base plate. The rosettes are held in place with a little ridge on the inside of the rosette that keeps it snug on the base plate. Some brands may not have a slot and will instead twist off the base plate. If your door has been painted you may have to use a little more force than usual to remove the rosette as it may be stuck to the door.

Once you have removed the rosette, you can now remove the base plate that holds the two sides of the knobset together. Usually you can just loosen the two screws as shown in the image and twist the base plate a bit to remove.

The outside half of the knobset is completely assembled so you only have to do this on the inside half. To reassemble, follow the same steps in reverse. Most of the major brand locks like Schlage, Kwikset, Weslock and Weiser that builders use and major hardware retailers sell will have this type of concealed mounting style so many of us have these in our home. They are pretty simple to install and uninstall once you understand how they work.

Have a different kind of knobset and still having problems removing it? Contact us and we’d be happy to help in any way we can.

What is a backset?

Not sure what a backset is? Wondering how to determine your backset? It’s really pretty simple. The backset is how far back from the edge of the door the hole is drilled for your doorknob to mount through. See the diagram below:


What is backset?

If you don’t have any hardware on your door, just measure from the edge of the door to the center of the bore hole (the large hole where the door knob assembly is mounted). See image above for help. You should have either a 2 3/8″ backset, or 2 3/4″ backset. The most common backset is 2 3/8″ but 2 3/4″ is quite often found on exterior doors especially.

Already have doorknobs mounted on your door? No problem, just measure from the edge of the door to the center or highest point of the rounded plate behind the knob itself, like this:

2 3/8" Backset

2 3/8\

2 3/8″ Backset shown above is 6 little marks past 2. Shown below a 2 3/4″ backset is 12 little marks past the 2.

2 3/4\

When you measure your own knob, there may be a slight variation. Just pick the one that is closest (within a couple marks on the measure tape). The variation can be caused by how deep the installer cut out the hole in your door to install the latch (part that slides in the cross bore hole and pops in and out to hold the door closed).

You can get 2 3/8″ or 2 3/4″ backsets for most any brand these days as they are standard backsets. Schlage, Kwikset, Weiser, Weslock and Sure-Loc use adjustable backsets, so as long as you have on of the two backset measurements you can adjust to fit what you have. If you are ordering Emtek, Taamba, Linnea, Nostalgic Warehouse, Grandeur or Baldwin brand locks you will need to specify one backset or the other.

Have a 5″ Backset? We can get 5″ backsets for Schlage and Kwikset brands, just give us a call to order.

Have a 2 1/2″ Backset and a box in your door instead of a standard latch? You need a mortise lock.

Make Your Own Modern Door

I don’t know these guys, and I generally don’t blog about doors so much as door hardware but…. I just like these modern door kits Crestview Doors has come out with. A great, simple solution to make an other wise boring door that much better. Or, if you’re building new.. why not start with a slab door and make the look you want, there is a good chance I will very soon. I’m glad I found these guys.

Just one of the many door kits available at Crestview Doors.

They have a lot of different styles that I like. I think the hardest for me would be deciding on the modern door hardware to install on my new door.

Key Stuck in Your Door Lock? Key Won’t Turn?

We’ve had customers ask us from time to time what might be wrong with their door lock if the key won’t come out of the cylinder after trying to unlock the door. There are a number of reasons for this to happen, so I thought I’d mention some of the possibilities here – maybe someone could benefit.

If your lock is brand new:
Keyed cylinders are spring loaded with a series of pins that allow the cylinder to be turned if the correct key is inserted. There is a chance when the lock was re-keyed (assuming you had some door locks keyed alike or keyed to existing locks) the person who did the re-keying didn’t get the pins completely seated in the key cylinder. This will sometimes allow the key to be inserted, but then difficult to remove. If this is the case, it will be better to have a locksmith take a look at it to get it keyed properly. If you have purchased the lock from let us know and we can get the problem resolved. This doesn’t happen very often, but we’re humans and sometimes make mistakes. Luckily, this is a mistake that can be resolved. Before we go to the trouble of replacing or fixing the key cylinder, be sure to check one more thing…

If you take the two halves of the lock off the door, on the inside of the keyed cylinder you will see a little set screw holding the cylinder in place and there is a thin piece of metal (referred to as a tail piece) connected to it. The tail piece connects the two halves of the lock so that when you turn the cylinder the mechanism is activated and unlocked/locked. Sometimes this set screw is not completely tightened (probably because the person rekeying the lock was in a hurry and just didn’t get it tightened properly). Sometimes if you have an existing lock, this set screw can loosen over time. In either case, just give it a couple of turns to snug it up and then try working the door lock again. Keep in mind that every brand is slightly different so this might not be the fix for every brand. I snapped a quick picture back in the shop to illustrate what I am talking about – this is a Schlage lock shown. Many brands are assembled in a similar fashion.

Schlage Door Lock - back view

Back side of a Schlage Deadbolt.

If Your Lock is Older:
You could have a loose set screw inside the lock as I just described so you may want to check that first. Other possibilities might be:

– Worn Cylinder/Pins
In this case, there is no easy fix unless you have the proper tools and parts. I would suggest taking the lock into a locksmith as they will have the know how, tools and parts necessary to fix the issue. If possible, remove your lock and take it into a locksmithing shop. They will charge you a lot more if they have to come out to your house, usually it’s fairly inexpensive if you just take the lock in.

– Dirt and Grime
Yep, could just be dirt and grime inside your keyed cylinder. Locks are installed with the keyed cylinder outside so over time dirt and grime can get their way into the lock.  You don’t want to go overboard with lubricant. Try and find a good dry lubricant to start with, if that doesn’t work you can use a little wd40 or something similar. Just squirt a little in the cylinder and work the key back and forth inside the cylinder to get the lubricant back into the pins. I’ve also heard you can insert a thin piece of wire along the bottom of the keyway to try and jar loose pins that may have jambed up. I haven’t tried this myself so I couldn’t tell you how successful it might be; and you could make things worse if you’re not careful. But, i guess you could feel like James Bond picking a lock, so if you like that kind of thing, give it a go.

Around here its just a few bucks to have the cylinder rekeyed, so I’d recommend just taking the lock into a locksmith and getting it done right. I just know i’d be the guy that monkeys with the cylinder for a couple of hours in attempt to make an old cylinder work a little better when it would have taken me 15 minutes to stop by a locksmith. And a few bucks later I’d have a new cylinder without issues. But, i like to save a buck just like the next guy so I’ll leave that up to you.

5″ Backset

A 5″ Backset isn’t super popular, but we do have customers asking for them quite often. we only have a 5″ backset available for Schlage and Kwikset brand items and these latches will not work with other brands. You’ll want to verify what brand of lock that you have before ordering. Check out the 5″ Backset options below. We have included some images of what they look like and links to the pages where you can order them.

Schlage 5″ Backset Deadbolt Latch
Kwikset 5″ Backset Deadbolt Latch

Schlage 5″ backset Deadlatch
Kwikset 5″ Backset Latch