Who Installs Door Hardware?
By Tony Gouverneur, May 2 2016 09:23PM
When a homeowner decides to spend big money dressing up their doors with designer handles and mortice locks, they are always presented with this one BIG question.
Who do I call to install the door hardware????
A locksmith, Builder, Carpenter or Handyman? This is where things can and do go horribly wrong!
First let's cover the basics of each of these trades.
* Locksmith, an expert at metal work. They pick locks, cut keys, configure key cylinders, create master key systems, install mortice locks, rim locks etc into metal doors and gates.
* Builder, an expert at building and construction. They can be supervisors, carpenters or bricklayers and are great at managing large teams of trades people.
* Carpenter, an expert at wood work. They are usually multi skilled but some just specialise in wall framing, roof framing, doors/windows, stairs, fix out, decks and pergolas.
* Handyman, a jack of all trades. Multi skilled in all types of building and repair work but not usually an expert or specialist in any certain trade.
From my 20+ years of experience being a licenced Builder and Carpenter, I have always noticed a lack of skill and knowledge from trades people, when it came to fitting door hardware. Even hanging timber doors correctly was an issue, but that’s another story.
Take for instance, the hardware on an external pair of rebated french doors.
* 6 hinges have to be neatly installed for the 2 doors to be hung correctly.
* The inactive door has a flush bolt fitted, top and bottom on the face or edge
* Flush bolt strike plates have to be fitted correctly to prevent the door from rattling.
* A big mortice lock and rebate kit has to be fitted into the active door’s rebated edge.
* A rebated striker plate has to be fitted into the inactive door’s rebated edge.
* Then finally the handle set, lock cylinder and escutcheons get fitted.
Let's say in this example, the doors have already been hung. This job could take a trade person 4-5 hours to fit all that door hardware but there would still be problems with it. The bolts would be hard to use, the doors would rattle and feel loose when locked up, the handles would be stiff and not spring back on their own, the cut outs would be rough looking etc.
I see a lot of new doors get damaged from bad attempts of installing bolts, locks and handles. Holes often get drilled in the wrong position and have to be patched up. This is terrible if you have to patch a stained door! If you want example photos to look at, I have plenty on display here www.thetidytradie.com.au/dodgy-installations
So now you want to ask me, which trade professional would I recommend?
1st choice - Fix Out Carpenter
2nd choice - General Carpenter
3rd choice - Residential Locksmith
4th choice - Handyman
Be careful though. Just because someone is a carpenter, it doesn’t mean that they have a thorough knowledge and experience with all the high end locks and handles. Because this type of installation work is such a small part of building a large detailed home, they may only install door hardware once every 6-12 months. An ace carpenter should be able to do a nice neat job without too many problems.
Locksmiths have the most experience when it comes to locks, but they tend to lack the carpentry skill of neatly cutting into timber doors and frames. They also charge more than a carpenter.
Handymen can install most things but don’t expect a neat finish. They generally are the cheapest.
If you find someone who says they are confident at installing your investment quality door hardware, ask to see photos of their work first. Look for testimonials on their website or other review sites.
Too many tradies say “yeah yeah yeah, I can do it, no worries!”
Then it all turns bad and you pay their invoice at the end because you don’t want any confrontations. Trust me I know how it works because I get the calls to go and fix it up all the time.
I have met a lot of people who were quite happy to spend thousands of dollars on architectural door hardware, yet they were let down and disappointed by the way someone had fitted it. In saying that though, I do get pleasantly surprised seeing doors with new hardware fitted perfectly, so there are good installers out there!
“Architectural handles & locks should be a pleasure to use, when installed correctly.”
Hopefully this article answered the BIG question for you and helps lead you to finding the right installer for your next project. Good luck and I wish you all the best!
The Tidy Tradie - Lock Carpenter
0414 559 970