Choosing an Entryway Set For the Home – Buying Guide For Single Or Double Doors

An entryway set is an important feature of the front door not only because it sets the tone for what visitors can expect inside but because it is a crucial focal point of design. Most home entryway sets are chosen to reflect the architectural style of the home itself. Understanding how to choose a new entryway set can seem like a daunting process with so many options available but it can be made simple by understanding a few fundamental questions:

Is it for a Single or Double Door?

A single door typically requires a single knob and deadbolt set. Depending on the style of entryway set these could be two separate pieces that function separately from each other or one larger piece installed onto the door. If they are separate pieces a passage style doorknob is typically used and a single cylinder deadbolt is installed above it to secure the door. Multiple deadbolts can be keyed the same.

A double door system will typically utilize one active knob and one dummy knob for the non functioning door. The active door will use a system similar to the single dummy set up while the inactive door will be secured at all times (sometimes by an interior surface bolt) and a non functional doorknob will be installed. The non functional knob is referred to as a double dummy style knob and although it will appear the same as the functioning knob it will not turn or operate a latch mechanism.

What Backset is needed?

The backset refers to the distance from the center of the bore hole to the edge of the door. Not all doors have the same backset measurement so it is important to measure this distance before choosing a backset size.

For exterior doors a standard backset is 2 ¾ inches – this is in most cases however not all so measure carefully.

For interior doors a standard backset is 2 3/8 inches – once again this is in most cases but not all so measure carefully.

The backset length (if the door was drilled correctly) should be the same for the deadbolt.

What does center to center distance refer to?

Entryway sets with the deadbolt and knob on the same plate will include a center to center measurement – this refers to the distance between these two pieces on the door. If you are replacing an existing set measure the distance from the center of the existing deadbolt to the center of the existing knob to obtain this number – the same size will need to be used.

What Finish should be used?

The variety of finishes available depends entirely on the manufacturer – some offer as few as three and some offer as many as fourteen. Matching existing finishes from other manufacturers can sometimes be problematic because finishes can vary slightly. If available use a finishing guide to determine which finish will best match your existing hardware. If all the door hardware is being replaced in a new color try to select hardware from a single manufacturer to ensure a good match.

Using the same finish on different items on and near the door will help to create a common theme and a more complete look for the front door of your home. Door knockers, mail slots, kick plates and door bell buttons should be coordinated within one theme and finish.

Tips and Suggestions

There are a wide variety of options available for entryway sets in stores and online. Choose a style that is compatible with any existing holes to avoid the need to re-drill or replace the entire door. Remember to search for high quality materials such as solid brass (not plated) or iron to ensure strength and durability over time. Cheap and thin metals will dent and scratch more easily and need to be replaced.

Not all companies offer custom centers or keying multiple sets the same so be sure to ask before making a selection if these options are available.

An entryway system is a beautiful way to update any front door and add new value to your home. Choose a style that reflects the personality of the home itself and the home owners and have fun. It can be a frustrating process with so many options but taken one step at a time it will have a rewarding conclusion.