Choosing your Ironmongery

The finish touches to a home make a huge difference, not only in its final appearance but also in its functionality. The door furniture or ironmongery is, at times, overlooked at the design phase which can be a costly mistake from the security point of view or result in a finished product that does not meet the end users` aesthetic requirements.

When a house is designed from scratch one of the sets of drawings that are produced is the door schedule. Depending on the sophistication of the doors being installed this `drawing` could be a line of text or it can be a detailed specification of all the features of the door and will generally include a drawing of the door which will give the client an idea of what the door will look like in its finished position. Typically there are two different door types to consider – internal and external – but this may well be extended to include wardrobes, built in cabinets, shelving systems and other access panels. The information that needs to be included will be the door material, opening type and size, hinge types, opening direction, glazing, handle types, locking mechanism, door stops, door closers, ventilation requirements, fire ratings, smoke seals and finally the door finish including paint, varnish or stain. Some of these requirements, such as fire ratings, smoke seals and automatic closers are statutory and are required for building regulation approval. Other information will depend on the door location, its material and its intended use. This list does not yet include the door linings or architraves and the specifications of those. As one can see there is a lot that goes into choosing a door and consultation with a professional may help.

In a lot of cases the door is not a new one and the house is being renovated so a new door type is necessary. The list of requirements may differ slightly but it is a good idea to use this list as a checklist to make sure you have most of the aspects covered when deciding on the finished product. If you are looking at changing the external door think about adding a peep hole. These are great for security and do not rely on electronics that may fail. Another consideration, possibly the most important, is the user. If there are children in the house that can reach the handle but not the peephole then there is the risk they are opening the door to strangers. A door chain that is out of their reach may help with this. If there are disabled people in the house then handle height and type need careful selection. Door opening direction and hinge types are also items that must be selected firstly for their practical implications. For instance, an inward opening door into a tight area may restrict the usability of the space. There is also the locking mechanism. Some of these can be complex affairs with different handle positions for locking and unlocking. Sometimes a simple Yale lock will be sufficient while other times you will also need a latch and cylinder lock. It may seem a bit daunting but once you get the hang of it, it is not that difficult and ultimately your piece of mind is worth it.

Internal doors possibly have less practical considerations than the secure external doors but in this instance aesthetics are the most important aspects. Who wants to spend money on a beautiful oak finished door only to have it ruined with a cheap handle? There is little point in having an expensive door on a cheap hinge that will warp with the weight and lead to floor scratches and opening or closing problems. Internal doors often have fire ratings so there will be specific requirements for hinges and closers that need to be met. However, there are as many types and finishes of these, from brushed stainless steel to brass and chrome, to complement any finish of door. One more practical issue to consider is that children`s fingers are vulnerable in the presence of door closers so choosing one that is not too violent may be the best selection.

Many consider that choosing your door handle is all that is necessary to complete your door. As door handles are often the most prominent visual features this is entirely understandable and should be carefully considered. However, there is much that goes into getting your ironmongery right and time spent on the issue will be time rewarded.

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