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Outfitting Your Door with a Stylish & Protective Kick Plate

Entry door with solid brass screw mount kick plate

We have all done it. Arms loaded with groceries, we kick the door open with our foot, leaving a scuff mark on the surface. Over time, scratches and dents accumulate, making it look worse for wear. The solution to this problem is a kick plate, a sheet of metal mounted across the bottom rail of your door.

Too often, kickplates are an afterthought, installed to cover unsightly marks. Given the wide range of materials and finishes available today, they can also be an attractive contribution to the exterior of your home. Along with the door set and hinges, a kick plate is an essential component of a well-accessorized front door.

Simple as they may seem, there are several factors in choosing a kick plate: material, finish, environment, mounting type, and size. Read about the options below to help you find just the right combination for your home.

Polished brass kickplate with matching brass entry set and knocker. Polished brass kickplate with matching brass entry set and knocker
Stainless steel kickplate with nickel entry set and door knocker. Stainless steel kickplate with nickel entry set and door knocker

Material & Finish Options

The first thing to consider when choosing a kick plate is the style of your home. Kickplates with a rough-textured surface go well with rustic or old-world inspired looks. Gleaming polished brass is typically paired with traditional styles. Stainless steel is more modern and goes well with mid-century or contemporary designs. While there are no hard and fast rules, choosing a kick plate that coordinates with the finish on your door set is a safe way to go.

The environment surrounding your door should also be a factor in what material you choose. A kickplate fully exposed to harsh weather conditions needs to be more durable than one protected by a covered porch. If you are on the coast, a kick plate resistant to corrosion is essential. Finding the right combination of finish and material for your unique situation is key to your new kickplate looking good and holding up for years to come.

  • Solid Brass. A traditional favorite, brass is durable and non-rusting. The bright polished and antique brass finishes are ideal paired with colonial or classically styled door hardware. Choose the satin nickel finish for a more modern look.
  • Steel. This hardworking metal is abrasion resistant and comes in a wide range of finishes. The brushed stainless and polished steel coordinate well with more modern hardware looks. The PVD “brass” finish is virtually impervious to weather and is ideal for harsh coastal environments. Weathered rust & weathered black offer a more rustic look for craftsman, romantic or mountain homes.
  • Iron. The rough, textured look of cast iron is ideal for English Tudor, Spanish or other romantic revival style homes. This black finish also pairs well with hand-forged colonial iron hardware.
  • Aluminum. Economical, light weight and highly corrosion-resistant, aluminum is a good all-around choice. The very popular oil-rubbed bronze finish coordinates with many styles of door sets and goes especially well with Arts & Crafts style homes.
Solid Brass. A traditional favorite, offered in bright polished, antiqued, and satin nickel-plated finishes. Solid Brass. A traditional favorite, offered in bright polished, antiqued, and satin nickel-plated finishes
Steel. A highly durable material with a wide array of finish options. Steel. A highly durable material with a wide array of finish options
Iron. The clear choice for rustic or old-world style homes. Iron. The clear choice for rustic or old-world style homes
Aluminum. The oil-rubbed bronze finish and corrosion resistance make it a popular choice. Aluminum. The oil-rubbed bronze finish and corrosion resistance make it a popular choice

How to Determine the Right Size

Determining the width of your kick plate is relatively simple. An easy rule of thumb is that the kick plate should be 2" narrower than the door itself. This keeps the kick plate from touching the jamb, which would prevent the door from closing tightly within the frame.

The above method will leave a narrow strip of door visible on either side of the kick plate. If you want the plate to run the full width of the door measure from outside when the door is closed, getting as close to the inside edge of the frame as possible. Another option is to align the kickplate with the width of the center panel or the entry set above. It is a good idea to create a paper or cardboard template to test out the size before ordering.

Standard kickplates are typically offered in a 6" or 8" height. For maximum protection, the height of a kickplate should cover most of the bottom rail. If you need a larger height or width, custom sizes are available by special order.

Kick plate sizing chart

Mounting Options

The method of mounting your kickplate is largely dependent on the material your door is made of. If you are purchasing kickplates for more than one door, you may need a different mounting option for each. Read below to determine which works best for your home.

  • Screw Mount - for wood doors. The most secure mounting option, wood screws at the corners and sides, hold your kick plate firmly in place. Predrilling for screws is required.
  • Magnetic Mount - for steel doors. A flexible magnetic sheet adhered to the metal plate keeps your kick plate in place. Over time the kick plate may slip out of alignment and need to be repositioned. Magnetically mounted plates are easily removed without leaving any marks.
  • Adhesive Mount - for fiberglass, wood and metal doors. Peel and stick adhesive on the back holds this type of kick plate to any door surface. Primarily intended for fiberglass doors, it is also a good option for wood doors you do not want mar with additional screw holes.

Kick Plates Beyond the Front Door

While a front door is the most common application for a kick plate, you can add one to any door that sees significant traffic. A kickplate on the swinging door between your dining room and kitchen, or on a spring-loaded door from your garage into the house, gives you a safe place to push the door open with your foot while your hands are full.

A kick plate can also be mounted vertically on doors or gates prone to damage from cats and dogs. When your pet scratches at the door to go in or out, they can do so without marring the surface. A kickplate narrow enough to fit onto a vertical door stile will generally need to be special ordered.

Residential dining room door with satin nickel kick plate Residential dining room door with satin nickel kick plate
Garden gate with kick plate to combat pet scratching Garden gate with kick plate to combat pet scratching

Kickplates are also a must-have in busy public and commercial settings, such as restaurants, schools, churches, government buildings and retail stores. The convenience of opening a door with your foot, as well as the wear-and-tear saved on doors, is incalculable.

Whether you are replacing an existing kick plate or adding one for the first time, you will find all the styles and finishes you need here. If you have questions or would like help with your selection, contact our friendly hardware specialists at 888-223-2545.