Door Hardware--Auxiliary Door Locks Articles
Door Products Review: Door HardwareDoor hardware provides builders with options for every budget.
- By Jeffrey Lee
- Source: BUILDING PRODUCTS Magazine
- Publication date: 2007-08-27
John Carter strives to catch the eye of prospective home buyers. The owner of Unity Construction Group in Nashville, Tenn., builds about four spec homes a year in the $1.5 million-to-$2 million price range, so he needs to use products that are both unique and that will appeal to the widest variety of buyers.
"The people that look at these homes are pretty particular," he says. "If I was just using run-of-the-mill stuff, they'd probably turn around and walk out of the house." He says that door hardware is one of his most important choices. "It's like jewelry on the home," he says. "If they don't see what they like on the hardware, they say 'What other corners did he cut?'"
Lucky for Carter and for builders and designers at every price range, there's never been a better time to find door hardware that is unique and appealing to consumers. From bamboo looks to fleur-de-lis patterns, hardware can add a touch of individuality to doors.
At the high end of the spectrum, manufacturers continue to innovate with new styles and finishes while competition is driving more stylish options into lower price points. The result? More choices for everyone.
The range of choices is perhaps most impressive in finishes. In an industry where shiny brass once made up about 75 percent of the market, consumers are turning to warmer and darker colors that offer more character. "Polished brass is dying very, very quickly," says Mike Slack, director of product marketing for Baldwin. He sees the trend moving toward new rustic or contemporary styles, each with their own appropriate finishes.
On moderately priced door hardware, nickel metal has supplanted brass and chrome, says John Simpson, new business development manager for Marvin Windows and Doors. Finishes like satin nickel work well with contemporary styles, have a warmer look, and complement stainless steel appliances. PVD and lifetime finishes are also available on nickel metals now, making them a good option for long-lasting wear.
Meanwhile, living finishes, which change and age over time, are popular for the individuality they offer, says David Bearden, a custom home builder in Nashville. "Buyers are much more into the finish then ever before," says the partner in Compass Development. "They are wanting to understand how oil-rubbed bronze is going to operate, how it's going to hold up."
When it comes to size, there's a three-letter word to describe most new door hardware: big. "The designs we've come out with are all larger," says John Pelka, vice president of marketing for Hickory Hardware. "Houses are getting bigger, kitchens are getting bigger, doors are getting bigger. You don't want to be lost on the door." He says rustic hardware ties in very well with larger doors. But on the coasts and in the cities, he observes a renewed interest in contemporary design.
"This is the strongest contemporary market I have ever seen," agrees Udo Topp, vice president of sales and product manager for Nobilus, formerly Stone River Bronze. While contemporary will never top traditional styles in America, he says hardware is following the trend of plumbing toward modern designs. "If someone's looking at contemporary faucetry, they probably want contemporary hardware," he says.
In fact, matching door hardware to the style of the home is becoming more desirable than ever before. "Door hardware is an accent or an accessory of the home," says Minu Youngkin, communications manager for Schlage. "People want it to match their home décor, and show their personalized touch."
In addition to more styles, finishes, and bigger sizes, prices are dropping for bioelectric and electronic hardware, meaning this could—finally—be the year that technology-driven hardware catches on. "The price is coming down rapidly," Kearns says. "It will be a mainstream option in the not-so-distant future."
Convenience and security are driving consumer interest in electronic hardware. "It's about no more keys to hide, lose, carry, or forget," Youngkin says. Electronic locks, such as Schlage's keypad lock, can even offer temporary access, so a housekeeper could use her code from 8 to 12 on Fridays, or a contractor could have access on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Even better, the newest electronic locks don't sacrifice fashion for function, says Cheryl Kramp, assistant marketing manager for Kwikset. "When people remodel their home, they want the newest and greatest technology," she says, "but they want to stick to the elegance of what a front door handleset should be portrayed as."
The manufacturer's teardrop-shaped deadbolt is meant to look like a traditional lockset, but is activated by swiping a fingerprint across its subdermal sensor. It may take time for consumers to feel comfortable with a fingerprint scanner on their door, but it's a lot safer than leaving a key under the mat.
Builders take varying approaches to hardware, says Sam Marano, president of Bird Decorative Hardware and Plumbing in Charleston, S.C. Some give homeowners a budget; others just charge a 10 percent markup on whatever their homeowners select. The trend in community developments, he says, is for builders to offer selection centers with hardware packages at different price levels. But, he says, "I still think builders generally do a poor job of hardware allowance." He says a good guideline is to allow 1 percent of the value of the home for hardware. "Very rarely is that in place."
Upgraded hardware can be a strong selling point. That's the approach that Pulte Homes took when it upgraded the hardware in all of its homes to zero-maintenance, bright chrome lever handles. "It's one more differentiator for our salespeople to sell," says Tom Lutz, national commodity director for Pulte Homes. He says the company simplifies the home-buying process by upgrading at the beginning. "We should be able to configure a house that will meet [customers'] needs and their styling requirements at the cost level they're comfortable at," he says.
It may not be new, but it's probably new to your customers: lock bumping, a lock-picking technique that crooks can use to defeat a lock using a simple blank key with the grooves filed down to the lowest level. It has gained a great deal of public attention in the news media in recent years, and word of it has spread quickly on the Internet. A bump-proof lock probably won't stop the most determined burglars, but your customers may ask you about installing a more secure lock on their front door.
Several manufacturers, including Schlage and Medeco, are advertising bump-proof locks, and others should introduce them this year. Electronic locks are unaffected by lock bumping. And Master Lock is one manufacturer that offers a deadbolt that can disengage the cylinder from the latch by pulling on the handle from the inside, making it impossible to pick or unlock, even with a key.
Check out a news report on lock bumping at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr23tpWX8lM.
Halliday & Baillie
Halliday & Baillie. The HB680 Sliding-Door End Pull was designed to be both functional and timeless, according to the manufacturer. The small faceplate and narrow backset make the product appropriate for both wooden and aluminum cavity sliders, pocket doors, shutters, and fly screens, the maker adds. Sitting completely flush in the door end, it features a push-button D-pull with a smooth release action. 800-769-7305. www.hallidaybaillie.com.
Cifial. Exposed-screw interior door hardware has the same general design as the manufacturer's existing concealed-mount hardware except for its easy-mount exposed screws. This addition to the company's interior door hardware range adds options for builders outfitting multiple homes, according to the manufacturer. The Stone Mountain Lever & Rosette in distressed bronze is pictured. 800-528-4904. www.cifialusa.com.
Weiser Lock. The Powerbolt-1000 keyless home access system is a touchpad electronic deadbolt that offers fast, easy entry during bad weather and safe, quick entry at night. The system can store up to two easy-to-change, four- to eight-digit security codes. The deadbolt also includes a low-battery indicator light, and an anti-tarnish finish is available. 800-677-5625. www.weiserlock.com.
Nobilus. Fleur de Lis bronze hardware, pictured in the exterior mortise/deadbolt knob handleset, is also available in lever-by-lever configurations, in swinging or sliding French doors sets, and in interior hardware. The manufacturer, formerly known as Stone River Bronze, uses a ceramic molding process instead of typical sand casting, allowing for extremely precise design representation, the maker says. 435-744-0400. www.nobilusluxury.com.
Sun Valley Bronze
Sun Valley Bronze. The Bamboo collection celebrates Asian design and illustrates how this influence meets today's demand for harmony at home, according to the manufacturer. The maker adds that Asian design's spare lines and rich materials lend themselves to both contemporary and traditional interiors, and can even blend the two. The collection includes grip handles, cabinet knobs, towel rings, push plates, and levers. 866-788-3631. www.svbronze.com.
Hickory Hardware. Available in eight new design families, Designer collection door hardware features custom-made quality and several new finishes that best highlight the character of each design, according to the manufacturer. The collection features the company's most popular designs, including the Empire-styled Ribbon and Reed design family, the 17th-century-France-inspired Richelieu, and the simple, contemporary Studio family (pictured). 877-556-2918. www.hickoryhardware.com.
Valli & Valli
Valli & Valli. Reminiscent of a lightning bolt, the H 352 features bold, sharp angles that are softened by the handle's subtle, elegant curves, according to the manufacturer. Designed by Odile Decq and Benoit Cornette, the sleek, contemporary design is part of the maker's Fusital collection. Made of brass, it is available with a chrome or satin chrome finish. 877-326-2565. www.vallievalli.com.
Hoppe. A new generation of multipoint locking systems, the HLS 7 series has an anti-back drive feature that prevents locking points from disengaging from the outside for added security. A new handle lock-out feature allows users to activate the multipoint lock from the exterior of the door by lifting up on the handle. 888-485-4885. www.us.hoppe.com.
Nostalgic Warehouse. The manufacturer's new exterior handlesets are available in four designs: egg and dart, meadows, Victorian, and New York, which is pictured with the "S" grip. The handlesets are available in five finishes, and are made of solid forged brass. The maker says it offers lifetime finish and mechanical warranties with its handlesets. 800-522-7336. www.nostalgicwarehouse.com.
Schlage. Designed to give consumers the freedom of keyless entry for every member of the family as well as guests and service providers, the manufacturer's electronic keypad locks and deadbolts securely lock doors until a user enters his or her valid four-digit access code, using the specially designed, easy-to-read keypad, according to the manufacturer. 800-847-1864. www.schlage.com.
Kwikset. SmartScan, a residential biometric keyless entry system, eliminates the need for a key or key code, utilizing only a fingerprint scan. The battery-powered deadbolt is activated by swiping a valid fingerprint across its subdermal sensor. Programmable with more than 50 user fingerprints, SmartScan also has a special timed "lock out feature" that allows homeowners three levels of access options. 800-327-5625. www.kwikset.com.
Master Lock. Designed for homeowners who prefer the convenience of keyless entry, NightWatch has a dial combination deadbolt for residential applications, according to the manufacturer. Operated like any three-digit dial combination lock, it combines the keyed entry security of a deadbolt with the keyless flexibility of a safe lock, the maker says. 800-464-2088. www.masterlock.com.
Yale. New Oval and Traditional rosettes are available in all YH Collection From Yale knob or lever selections. The decorative accents are marked by graceful, stepped-bevel edges, according to the manufacturer, and are available in eight designer finishes: polished brass, antique brass, antique nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, satin nickel, satin chrome, gun metal, and textured black. 800-542-7562. www.yalelock.com.
Baldwin. Boulder, a new product introduced in the manufacturer's Images collection, reflects the rugged style and hard finishes of the mountains, according to the manufacturer. With simple, basic shapes that fit and feel good in the hand, it is finished in colors that evoke the earth and the forest, the maker adds. 800-437-7448. www.baldwinhardware.com.
Door Jamb Armor
Door Jamb Armor. The Door Jamb Armor system reinforces doors' weak points to deter intruders. The Jamb Shield sleeve wraps around the lock side of the door jamb to prevent kick-ins, the Hinge Shield fits around existing door hinges, and the Door Shield reinforces the lock and knob area of the door, the maker says. 888-582-2294. www.djarmor.com.
Weslock. The Molten Bronze line is made from solid bronze using a sand-cast molding technique, creating a rustic look with natural pitting of the surface. The line features entry handles, deadbolts, keylocks, passage, privacy, and dummy functions. Finish options include oil-rubbed pewter, sandstone, and a unique rust finish (pictured). 800-575-2658. www.weslock.com.
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