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What Is Door Handing & How Do You Determine Door Handing?

Have you ever tried to install a new lever or handleset, only to discover that it is upside down? It is likely that you purchased the wrong handing. In some cases, this can be easily rectified, while other times, you’ll have to return the hardware to the seller or manufacturer and get the right one.

Choosing the correct handing at the beginning will save you time and hassle, but how do you know which one you need? In this article, the team at Access Residential Hardware explains the concept of door handing and how you can determine the correct handing for your next door installation or replacement project.

What is Door Handing?

When we’re talking about door locks and levers, handing refers to the direction in which the lever points when it is installed on the door. Generally speaking, there are four possible alignments for door handing:

  • Left Hand Door Handing: This is your door handing type if you use your left hand to open the door, and it opens away from you, into the door or passageway.
  • Left Hand Reverse Door Handing: If you use your left hand on the lever and the door swings toward you as you open it, you have a left hand reverse door.
  • Right Hand Door Handing: You have a right hand door if you opened it with your right hand and did not have to move. (In other words, it swung away from you.)
  • Right Hand Reverse Door Handing: A right hand reverse door opens toward you when you use your right hand to open it.

Door handing affects what door hardware you need. Before making a purchase, determine your door handing so that you receive hardware that fits your door and operates and looks as it should. When the handing is incorrect, your hardware could be installed backward or upside-down, delaying the project.

How to Determine Door Handing

To determine which handing is required for a handleset with a non-turning lever or interior lever, follow these steps.

Step #1: Face The Door From The Outside

Face the door from outside. If the door has a lock, stand on the side of the door where you would use a key or keypad. In order to determine an interior door's handing, stand on the side of the door that you would typically enter. Make sure you face whichever side of the door you will be standing on when using the door hardware.

Step #2: Examine the hinges

From where you are standing, do the hinges seem to be installed on your left? That means you have a left-handed door. Right-hand doors have hinges to your right.

Step #3: Go Online

Depending on the door hardware option you want, fill in either the left or right hand when placing your order. Select the left-hand option if your hinges are on your left. If the hinges were installed on the right, select the right-hand option. You will receive the correct door hardware and it will operate, look, and function exactly how you want it to.

Pro Tip:

For doors that require two non-turning levers, you will need one right-hand lever and one left-hand lever. If you have French doors, for example, this may be the case.

How to Change the Handing of Your Door Levers

You may have accidentally reversed the handing if the curve of your lever doesn't look right after you've purchased and installed it. Certain types of keyed levers can be flipped using a special pin tool.

Below are the steps you would follow with certain levers.

  1. Find the pin tool that came with your lock.
  2. With the tool inserted into the small hole on the lever base, gently pull the lever away while depressing the pin.
  3. Take both levers off and exchange them.
  4. Reinstall the lever, ensuring the retainer pin aligns with the small hole on the base. The lever will snap into place.
  5. Pull carefully on the lever to ensure security

With certain levers, such as those that do not turn and those that curve the wrong way may require you to purchase a replacement. If necessary, check with the retailer where you purchased the door hardware about returns and trade-ins.

Door Handing When Replacing an Existing Door

When replacing an existing door, stand sideways in the opening, facing the jamb where the door latches, with your back to the hinges. It's a right-hand door if the open doorknob is on your right side. The door is left-handed if it's on your left side.

Door Handing When Installing a New Door

The rough-in phase requires you to pay attention to the room layout to determine the door swing direction. A typical interior door swings into the room toward the nearest perpendicular wall. Once you examine the room layout and confirm which direction the door will be swinging from, you’ll know whether you need to purchase a right or left handing door hardware set.

Are All Door Levers Either Right Or Left Handed?

No. You only need to be concerned about handing when choosing the following:

  • Non-turning lever with a curve
  • Handlesets with a lever that’s curved on the interior

For example, when you order the Emtek Athena Lever, you must select right or left-handed hardware at the same time you choose other options, like oil-rubbed bronze or flat black finish. However, some types of hardware are more versatile and can be changed to suit the required door handing.

As stated earlier, certain levers (interior privacy and passage, as well as those opened with a key) include a pin tool that allows them to be flipped in either direction. In the same way, straight levers, such as the Yale Marcel Rosette with Nils Lever, have universal handing. You don't need to choose right or left hand hardware in these cases.

We Have Door Hardware for All Handing Requirements

Once you know what handing you need for your new door or to replace an existing hardware set, the next step is to locate a trusted provider of interior and exterior door hardware. If you’re replacing your levers, you’ll want access to a company with a wide range of hardware shapes, styles, and finishes.

At Access Residential Hardware, we offer world-class hardware brands such as Baldwin Estate, Baldwin Reserve, Emtek, Schlage, and Yale. We also sell a variety of styles, from brushed stainless steel and dark bronze to flat black and satin chrome. To learn more about our interior and exterior door solutions, call 866.752.9002 or fill out this online contact form and a representative will contact you shortly.