Doorknobs are doorknobs, right? You grab them, turn them, and the door opens. That’s all there is to it. Wrong! Doorknobs are actually intricate mechanisms that ensure doors stay open or closed until activated. This means you can’t just buy any old doorknob for each room of your home. You have to plan.
Doorknob mechanisms work because they have a latch that reaches from inside the door into a hole in the frame around the door. This mechanism is there to safeguard against the door being blown open by drafts or so that it can’t be opened unless the knob is turned. When the knob is turned, the latch moves into the door and stops the block. Many doors, both interior and exterior, are enhanced by adding locks to the same knob mechanism. When the lock is in place, the handle can’t be turned.
With interior doors, there is generally a button in the middle of the knob that has to be pushed or twisted. Depending on the style, the outside of the same door will either not have any unlocking mechanism or a keyhole. The ones without keyholes usually have a small hole that can be used as an emergency release in the event someone gets locked out of the room. If the door is external, you might have a lock on the doorknob as well as an additional lock above the doorknob, with it’s own mechanism that can only be worked by a key on the outside and a latch on the inside.
While regular doorknobs that must be turned are standard, there are plenty of other options to consider. You might choose a different lock for aesthetic purposes, or you might choose to change the style to help an elderly family member who can no longer grip a regular doorknob strongly enough to use it. If this is the case, a lever-style handle may be a better choice.
Lever style handles have the same mechanisms as the traditional knob, but they’re operated in a different manner – namely, but pressing down on a lever instead of turning a handle. This is a lot easier for those with disabilities, or for children, because they don’t need to use as much physical force thanks to the laws of gravity. Those with arthritis, who have trouble gripping things, will find these a lot more user-friendly.
Keep your entire family in mind as you work to change your home’s doorknobs – inside an doubt.