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DOOR HARDWARE - How to Select an Interior Doorset

Having trouble determining if you need a Conversion, Mortise, or Rim Lock entry set? Choosing the right hardware for your exterior door is easy; just follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Examine your door

If you have an existing vintage or newer door, look for any holes on the face of the door or cut-outs along the edge. Measure the dimensions of any opening, the backset (distance from the edge of the door to the center point of the hole the doorknob spindle passes through), and the door's thickness. It is also useful to measure the width of the door stile (the vertical member on which the door hardware is mounted).

If you have a new door, determine whether it's a slab door or if it is pre-bored with a pair of standard 2 1/8" holes. Also note the door's thickness. Doors that are pre-drilled will typically require conversion entry sets; be sure to check if the backset is 2 3/8" or 2 ¾". If the door has not been drilled you have a wider range of hardware options from which to choose.

Step 2: Determine the Function

Interior door sets come in three functional options: Passage, Privacy and Dummy. To determine which type you need, simply establish what you want the door to do. Passage sets are for doors between two rooms that do not need to lock (e.g., kitchen, den, walk-in closets). Privacy sets are for bathrooms or bedrooms, where locking is required. Dummy sets, which have no latch and do not turn, are typically used for shallow closets.

Step 3: Select a type of door set

If your doors already have round or rectangular cut-outs, select the type of door hardware below that most closely corresponds to these openings. Doors that have had no prep work are suitable for any type of door hardware. Simply choose a set that compliments the style and era of your home.

Conversion Door Sets: Most doors post-1940, New Construction

conversion drilled door

If your home was built after about 1940, or you are building new home, chances are you need a conversion door set. Conversion door sets, which feature a small cylindrical latch mechanism, are designed for doors 1 3/8" – 1 3/4" thick and drilled with a 2 1/8" bore. As the most common and popular type of door hardware available today, conversion sets come in a tremendous variety of styles and designs. You’ll find everything from crystal knobs with Victorian style escutcheons to rustic iron lever sets.

conversion doorsetconversion doorset

When ordering a conversion door set, be sure to measure and specify the correct backset (distance from the edge of the door to the center of the 2 1/8" bore). Most modern doors have a 2 3/8" backset, although exterior doors and some larger interior doors may have a 2 3/4" backset. If your doors are not pre-drilled, measure the stile width to determine the backset you need (as close to center as possible).

The locking mechanism for conversion/tubular latch sets is a small pin on the interior side of the door, adjacent to the knob. A small hole on the exterior plate or rosette allows for emergency release of this lock. For exterior doors, use a passage set in conjunction with a standard deadbolt, rather than a privacy set.

See all Conversion Entry Door Sets >

Mortise Lock Sets: Doors ca. 1860-1940, New Construction

mortise drilled door

For many, mortise locks are the key element in creating an "old house" look. Popular from the last third of the 19th Century through the 1930s, these skeleton key locks have a charm and substance that is hard to beat. Mortise lock sets are available in a wide variety of designs, from ornate Victorian to crisp Art Deco.

Mortise lock sets are defined by the box-type lock that is installed into a deep pocket or "mortise" in the edge of the door. Generally, the mortise lock houses both the latch and dead bolt in one unit. Most mortise locks are secured with a skeleton key, although privacy locks with thumb-turns for bathrooms and bedrooms are available for some sets. Knobs are threaded onto a spindle and tightened in place with set screws. Unless noted, mortise locks are reversible.

mortise doorset mortise doorset mortise doorset

To insure that your new mortise lock will fit your old doors, check the inside dimensions of the pocket, the backset of the knob (the distance from the edge of the door to the center of hole the spindle passes through), and the dimensions of the cut-out for the face plate. The size of the mortise pocket and the edge cut-out can easily be increased with a hammer and chisel if needed. If you have new doors slabs your installer will mortise the door to fit the lock of your choosing.

See all Mortise Entry Lock Sets >

Rim Lock Sets: Doors pre-1900, New Construction

Rim Lock drilled door

Rim Locks are surface mounted door sets that were common in the 18th and 19th centuries. The cases may be simple, painted iron or ornately patterned brass. Knobs for rim locks are typically black, white, brown or mineral-swirl porcelain, or plain round brass.

Rim locks are ideal for 19th century restorations or for un-drilled new doors when an early vintage look is desired. They are also a good choice for thin (less than 1.25") or plank type doors. The visible box portion of the lock is mounted on the interior of the room, while the exterior side of the door will simply have a knob with rosette and a keyhole cover.

Rim Lock doorset

The latch "keeper" is mounted to the door frame on the inside of the room as well. Often the moulding surrounding the door will have to be notched to accommodate this piece. On out-swing doors the latch keeper will have to be mortised into the door jamb in order to function properly.

Rim Lock doorset

Rim locks are typically secured with a skeleton key, although some locks may additionally have a "privacy" catch. Such locks are identified as privacy rim locks. For exterior applications, rim locks are generally paired with a standard deadbolt for added security. Unless noted, Rim locks are reversible. Simply remove the case lid and flip the latch over.

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Pocket Door Hardware: Doors ca. 1850 – present, New Construction

Rim Lock drilled door

We offer two varieties of pocket door hardware: mortise-type locks for restorations and vintage-style new construction, and integrated pull/latch sets for more contemporary applications.

Mortise pocket door sets are available in both skeleton keyed and turn-piece type lock mechanisms. The edge pull is integral with the lock and is activated with a push button on lock face plate. If you have a pair of doors meeting at the middle, you will need a dummy mortise lock for the passive door.

If you desire a vintage look for single or double pocket doors that do not have to lock, use a pair of reproduction recessed pulls without keyholes for the face of each door together with a simple edge pull or a dummy mortise lock. When selecting a decorative face pull, be sure to note its projection from the face of the door; some wall pockets may not provide sufficient clearance for pulls over 1/8" thick.

Rim Lock doorset Rim Lock doorset

For a more contemporary or mid-century look, we also have one piece pocket door sets for single doors. These modern sets combine an edge pull and two face pulls in one unit. They are installed in a rectangular cut out along the edge of the door. Privacy sets for bathrooms will have a simple turn piece that can be released from the exterior with a screw-driver.

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