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What You Need to Know Before Buying Interior Door Hardware

Function, Handing, Backset, and Door Thickness

When ordering new interior door hardware, it might be hard to figure out exactly what you need. For decisions on whether to choose a lever or knob, see our piece “Lever or Knob?” Other selections you may need to make include door handing, backset, door thickness, and if you need keyed, privacy, passage, or dummy hardware. Some of this is briefly covered in our post on exterior hardware for your entryway, but we’ll touch on it here again.

Handing is usually only required for levers, but may be required in other circumstances. Handing helps ensure the lever functions the correct way and is oriented properly, especially with curved designs. The easiest way to determine handing is to first stand outside the door to the room or closet. If the door swings into the room to your left, it is a left handed inswing door. If it swings to your right, it is a right handed door.  However, as seen in the diagram, if the door swings away from the room to your left, it is a left handed outswing door, and vice versa.

The door thickness is as straightforward as it sounds, with most doors being 1-3/8” or 1-3/4” thick. The backset is simply how far the center of bore hole for the hardware is from the edge of the door where the latch will be, typically 2-3/8” or 2-3/4”.

Finally, let’s talk function. A keyed lockset can be locked with a keyhole on one side and a manual thumbturn on the other. This can be used anywhere you need locking doors that require a key. Privacy, on the other hand, is only lockable from one side and requires no real key. This is the function used for indoor rooms that require some level of – you guessed it – privacy. Most commonly, a privacy set is used for bedrooms and bathrooms. Passage sets securely latch the door in the jamb but do not lock. These are often used for closets, pantries, basements, and laundry rooms. Finally, a dummy is simply a non-operable knob or lever mounted on the face of the door only. These can be used in order to have matching door hardware anywhere a latch mechanism isn’t needed, such as on ball-catch doors. Dummies are frequently seen on double doors, closets, bifold doors, and pantries.

Other options to consider on Emtek products include a 28 Degree Latch and Concealed Fastenster (CF) Mechanisms. The 28 Degree Latch requires less rotation of the handle to activate the latch.  The illustrations below show the handle position of a standard latch as compared to a 28 Degree Latch.  The CF Mechanism upgrade provides concealed screws (or fasteners) on the interior side of the rosette.  The CF Mechanism Upgrade is also supplied with the 28 Degree Latch.