A number of different items may be meant by the term door hardware. These are essentially the mechanisms of a door – the accouterments that adorn a door in a functional sense, above and beyond its basic form (i.e. a rectangular piece of wood, metal, or other material in a frame). Let’s take a look at some of these common pieces of door hardware:
Locks and Latches
Door locks come in a huge variety and this variety gets even greater if you look at how they have evolved through time. The basic principle of most locks is a bolt of some sort. This bolt need only be some sort of bar, cylinder, lug, or other contrivance that extends from the swinging part of the door into some kind of receiving area on the frame. This simply stops the door from swinging open.
This basic idea leads to locks of all types – ordinary keyed locks, hand operated dead bolt locks, simple latched locks, and so on. These all employ this same sort of locking mechanism. Even the ordinary latch that is turned by the door handle and fits into the latch plate is a kind of bolt, and on many ordinary keyed locks the handle is prevented to from turning when the door is locked so that this latch or bolt stays where it is, holding the door shut.
Handles are directly related to locks as noted above. Turning the handle generally makes the latch come out of the latch plate, allowing the door to open. Handles are often of the common circular shape or have some other form such as straight, bar-like handles and so on.
Hinges are also an essential piece of door hardware. They, of course, allow the door to swing. They are mounted on one side of the door and on to the frame. Generally made of steel, brass, or some alloy, they need to be strong to support the weight of the door and to keep it swinging accurately and smoothly.
The foregoing are the main types of door hardware. These are all a door needs to function in a basic sense. There is, however, the possibility of adding other types of hardware to a door. For instance, one could conceivably add a door sweep at the bottom. This is most often a thin piece of aluminum with either a piece of rubber or a brush like fibers of some natural or synthetic material that prevent drafts from coming in under the door. These are very handy for drafty exterior doors and are often included with screen doors. They are usually screwed to the front of the door or otherwise affixed.
Other pieces of additional hardware common to find are racks and hooks. Racks and hooks allow items to be hung on the door. Like the other pieces of hardware mentioned, they come in all shapes and sizes. They are often purchased by the end user of the door and screwed into place.