Door handles are a part of our homes that we often overlook. We use them constantly throughout the day without thinking anything of it, and unless our handles break or we decide to get new ones, we can easily forget about them.
There are many door handle parts, which can be immensely helpful to know when looking for or installing new handles. So, from spindle to strike plate, we are here to help you understand your door handles' components, what they do and what they are.
Each handle is different. Whether you opt for a Lever-on-Rose, a Lever-on-Backplate or a Door Knob, however, they each share similar main components: the lever or knob, the latch mechanism, the strike plate, and the door lock, should your door require one.
Our article will offer you expert advice to guide you through the main door handle parts. Regardless of which you choose, we will aid you with your understanding of your handle and how it works.
The Lever or Knob
When considering a door handle, the most prominent feature is the lever or the knob you use to work the handle.
Found on lever-on-backplate and lever-on-rose door handles, levers open the door by being pushed down. Within each handle is a spring mechanism, which returns the lever to an idle position, keeping the lever straight. When used, this spring mechanism allows the handle to reach a certain point before stopping; this prevents the handle from becoming overworked and losing its smooth functionality.
In contrast, the turning action allows the door to open for doorknobs, and there are two styles of doorknobs to choose from, sprung or unsprung.
Like lever-on-backplate and lever-on-rose door handles, sprung door knobs also include the spring mechanism to return the door knob to its original position.
Unsprung door knobs, however, do not. Instead, their mechanism operates on a turn and release mechanism. This mechanism allows the door knob to rotate in either direction. However, it will not return to its neutral position automatically. Therefore, individuals with restricted movements in their wrists should opt for an unsprung doorknob, which is easier to operate.
Regardless, the lever operates using a spindle with all lever-on-backplate, lever-on-rose handles and door knobs.
What are spindles?
A spindle is a metal rod, usually made of steel, that connects two handles or two door knobs on either side of a door.
How does a spindle work?
The spindle fits through a square aperture found within the backplate or rosette of the handle. It passes through a matching hole within a tubular latch or mortice lock fitted within the door.
When you use the handle or turn the door knob, the spindle rotates to operate the latch within the door. This movement retracts the latch bolt and allows you to open the door.
Backplates and Rosettes
Securing the door handles or door knobs to the door is the backplate or rosette. The backplate or rosette (also known as a rose) is visible as the plate sits flush to the door's surface, where the lever or knob is mounted.
Backplates and rosettes are designed to hide the internal mechanism of the door handle or door knob; however, they will both function very differently.
Lever-on-backplate handles are a more traditional style of door handle. Used within homes and commercial buildings for many years, door handles with a backplate continue to be popular today.
These handles have three assorted styles:
- Lever latch (blank backplate)
- Lever lock (with a keyhole or euro lock)
- Bathroom lock (with a built-in thumbturn)
Lever latch handles are used on internal doors that do not require a lock. In contrast, lever lock handles will have a cut-out keyhole in the backplate used with a sash lock to secure the door.
Bathroom door handles are the most unique. With a specific bathroom thumbturn included with the door handle, bathroom door handles for use in conjunction with bathroom locks. The thumbturn allows the door to lock from inside but open outside using the release mechanism.
When looking to replace a handle, a lever-on-backplate door handle would be best to cover any screw holes or marks left by the previous handle.
A lever-on-rose door handle is a more distinct, modern style of handle. Often with a round shape, these handles offer an utterly flush fit to the door's surface, with any fixings, screws and the internal handle mechanism covered. As a result, these handles supply a much cleaner, smooth look.
Ideal for use on any internal door, you can incorporate matching door furniture should you require. Considering the requirements of your room is essential, you may need to purchase a lock, thumbturn or latch depending on your room.
- For any doors that do not require a lock's security, such as your living room or dining room, you will only need to fit these with a tubular latch. A tubular latch will sit in the side of the door, keeping the door closed when the latch bolt is seated within the strike plate on the door frame.
- You can install a traditional keyhole lock in combination with a sash lock for doors that will require locks. For a cohesive, neat door furniture design, protect your keyhole with an Escutcheon Plate.
- For a bathroom door, you may wish to lock this door without a key. For these doors, it would be beneficial to purchase a thumbturn and release lock to use in combination with a bathroom lock.
A tubular latch is set into the door and is not visible, except for the latch bolt, which you will see protruding from the edge of the door.
A tubular latch allows the door to be opened and closed using the door handle or knob. When you use the handle or turn the door knob, the spindle turns to operate the latch within the door. The latch bolt then retracts, and you can open the door.
But what is a tubular latch, and will you need one?
What is a tubular latch?
A tubular latch is a crucial component when installing your handles but can often be forgotten or overlooked. It is a steel tube that contains a spring-loaded follower and latch bolt. The latch bolt is sometimes known as a 'tongue' as it is a triangular piece of metal that connects to the strike plate located in the doorframe.
When you operate the door handle, the latch bolt retracts to open the door and springs back into place to 'latch' the door and keep it closed.
The simple steel casing ensures that the tubular latch is straightforward to install. In addition, it eliminates the need for extensive joinery work, which other latch types may require.
Our tubular latches are available in many sizes and finishes, ensuring abundant options. However, with the most significant effect on your handles' operation, you should consider which tubular latch you need.
When to use a tubular latch:
You will require a tubular latch for the installation of any door handle which does not require a lock, such as your living room, dining room or kitchen.
Assorted sizes of tubular latches:
We stock two varying tubular latches, 64mm and 76mm, in various finishes.
Our range includes complementary finishes to our range of handles, allowing you to choose a matching style and incorporate cohesive door furniture into your home. Thus, if you invest in polished chrome handles, we stock a matching chrome tubular latch.
When deciding which size you will need, consider an essential factor: whether you are using a lever door handle or a doorknob.
- We recommend using a 64mm tubular latch for lever door handles in a matching finish.
- For door knobs, we recommend using a 76mm tubular latch in a matching finish to allow for more room to manoeuvre the doorknob.
A strike plate is a metal plate that you will fix to the doorjamb. When you close a door, the latch bolt will extend into the central hole of the strike plate and will hold the door closed. The strike plate will help guide the latch bolt into place and keep it there until the door opens again.
Strike plates protect the doorjamb from any friction caused by the latch bolt and increase the security of the doorjamb as they are often of a softer material, such as wood.
This piece helps guide the latch into the hole in the door jamb without turning the knob or lever. Instead, it keeps the door in place until the knob turns or the lever operates, releasing the latch.
Door locks are essential to maintain the safety of your home, whether you are in or out of the house.
Although an important choice, each door lock offers differing functionality. Thus, understanding your door lock and door lock parts will increase your knowledge of the lock style you will require for your door.
There are three main lock types for interior doors, each with entirely different purposes and functions. These include:
- Keyhole locks
- Euro locks
- Bathroom locks
Traditional Key Lock
Each interior door leads to a different room with additional requirements and needs. For example, you may find that you will want to lock your door with a key for some spaces.
For a keyhole lock, your door handle will have the traditional keyhole cut into the front.
With a traditional keyhole lock, you will need to invest mortice locks to place inside the door. A mortice lock uses a bolt, a latch, and a pair of handles to operate a door as a combination of a latch and a deadlock.
The lock will fit into a slot in the side of the door and will connect to the corresponding slot in the doorjamb, where the strike plate sits.
A Euro lock may be another consideration for adding a greater level of security to your doors.
A euro lock is cylindrical and will need to pair with a Euro Profile Lock. For a euro lock, your door handle will have an enlarged keyhole shape cut into the front, allowing for the euro cylinder to sit within your handle.
Euro locks are an ideal lock type for high traffic areas. They are highly secure, including hardened steel anti-pick pins in their bolt to deter unwanted entry; without a key, these locks make gaining access to your home difficult.
Easy to replace, by simply replacing the cylinder, euro locks are the ideal addition to any door, including external doors, which will need a greater level of security.
For your bathroom, you will want to protect the privacy of your household whilst using this room and thus, will need a suitable lock. Whilst used for bathrooms, thumbturn and release locks can be used on any internal door if required.
A bathroom lock comprises a latch that you will operate using the handle and a bolt you will operate using a thumbturn attached to the door instead of a key.
The installation of a door lock for your bathroom has many benefits. With the ability to unlock the door easily from the outside in case of an emergency and the easy to manoeuvre thumbturn, bathroom locks are ideal for any home.
Backplate: The plate to which the door handle secures.
Bathroom Lock: A specific lock that is ideal for any bathroom. It operates using a bolt that moves when you use the thumbturn. You can use this door lock style with all handle styles; however, you must purchase a separate thumbturn for a Lever-on-Rose handle.
Escutcheon: A plate that covers a keyhole cut into a door.
Latch: A spring-loaded bolt, which operates by turning the handle. A latch mechanism keeps the door closed but not locked.
Lever: A horizontal metal bar that moves when you apply pressure. A lever is a mechanism you push down to open or close a door.
Spindle: A metal bar that you insert through the latch and handle. The spindle connects the handles on either side of the door and allows the latch bolt to operate.
Strike Plate: A metal plate that you will fix to the inside of the door frame. The strike plate holds the latch bolt in place when a door is closed.
Thumbturn: A locking mechanism that does not require a key to lock the door by simply turning it.
Thumbturn & Release: A lock mechanism allows the door to lock from the inside without needing a key. However, you can also unlock it from the outside in an emergency—the ideal lock choice for bathrooms.
Tubular Latch: You require a latch mechanism for door handles that do not need a lock to open and close the door.