More in Doors

A Lock on Style

Entry-door hardware that says keep out in the nicest way possible

small tout
Photo by Lisa Charles Watson
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Time was, the lock on your front door was the only thing protecting your house. Home security is a lot more sophisticated these days, but even in an age of motion detectors and hidden cameras, an entry lockset is still your first line of defense against intruders. It's also the first point of contact for those you welcome inside, which is why a lockset remains the most important piece of house hardware you'll ever buy.

Manufacturers know it, and so today they offer a nearly limitless array of options in styles, finishes, and materials right for any exterior. Cast brass, bronze, and steel are the popular choices, able to stand up to any weather and look good doing it. But you can also find zinc, aluminum, even pewter. You can have a handle, a lever, or a thumb latch; a keyed knob or a deadbolt; a hand-rubbed oil patina or a shiny lacquer coating.

So how do you choose? Take a look at our lockset lineup on the following pages, and let that be your key.



1. Craftsman

This Arts and Crafts—style mortise lockset, perfect for a Craftsman bungalow, is cast in bronze with a hand-rubbed oil finish. A swinging cover keeps debris out of the keyhole and hides the lock's workings from view.
$1,365; baldwinhardware.com

Time was, the lock on your front door was the only thing protecting your house. Home security is a lot more sophisticated these days, but even in an age of motion detectors and hidden cameras, an entry lockset is still your first line of defense against intruders. It's also the first point of contact for those you welcome inside, which is why a lockset remains the most important piece of house hardware you'll ever buy.

Manufacturers know it, and so today they offer a nearly limitless array of options in styles, finishes, and materials right for any exterior. Cast brass, bronze, and steel are the popular choices, able to stand up to any weather and look good doing it. But you can also find zinc, aluminum, even pewter. You can have a handle, a lever, or a thumb latch; a keyed knob or a deadbolt; a hand-rubbed oil patina or a shiny lacquer coating.

So how do you choose? Take a look at our lockset lineup on the following pages, and let that be your key.



1. Craftsman

This Arts and Crafts—style mortise lockset, perfect for a Craftsman bungalow, is cast in bronze with a hand-rubbed oil finish. A swinging cover keeps debris out of the keyhole and hides the lock's workings from view.
$1,365; baldwinhardware.com

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Lock Styles

 

Lock Styles

lock 1
Photo by Lisa Charles Watson
2. Victorian Era
A modern reproduction of an 1885 pattern called Windsor, these exterior handles are used with a mortise lock to secure a double-door entry. An antiqued lacquer finish completes the period look.
$650; houseofantiquehardware.com

3. Lever Handle
Though it looks delicate, this satin steel mortise entry set is tough. Because the steel is infused with zinc, the metal won't rust, even if the finish is scratched. Based on a French design, it's unusual in that it has a lever on the outside, instead of the more common knob or thumb latch.
$500; lbbrass.com

4. Beaded Edge
With its intricate beaded design and serrated "piecrust" edge, this oval brass mortise knob set has a traditional Colonial Revival look. Eight stages of hand polishing and buffing bring out the shine, and a tough-wearing lacquer coating seals it.
$684; vonmorris.com

5. Egg Knob
Clean, simple lines give this white-bronze mortise handleset a contemporary feeling, but soft edges and a satin finish lend it warmth. Sealed with a clear paste wax, the surface will retain its bright appearance.
$1,384; svbronze.com



6. Living Finish
One of the most popular finishes these days is oil-rubbed bronze, which will naturally darken with use and age. This mortise entry set is made using the "lost wax"method, in which a wax model creates the mold for casting, then melts away.
$1,145; stoneriverbronze.com

7. French Accent
The reed-and-ribbon design on this forged brass mortise lockset was inspired by Versailles and wouldn't look out of place in your suburban chateau. The antiqued finish is sealed with a lacquer coating for protection.
$318; emtek.com

8. Thumb latch & Deadbolt
Tubular locksets, though generally less expensive and easier to install than mortise versions, don't have to look low-budget. This one, with a thumb latch and separate deadbolt, is made of brass with a finish meant to evoke oil-rubbed bronze.
$308; schlageaccents.com

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Lock mechanisms

 

Lock mechanisms

variety of locks and knobs
Photo by Lisa Charles Watson
The most common (and least costly) locking mechanism is the cylindrical tube latch, contained within a 1-inch-diameter housing that fits in a hole bored in the door. It's commonly used in combination with a deadbolt. Both are relatively quick and easy to install. At the other end of the spectrum is a mortise lock, which comes in a metal case that gets recessed into the edge of the door. These require special tools and a skilled installer. Because of the sturdy metal housing, mortise locks are more expensive, but they're also much harder to tamper with or damage. Any lockset, regardless of type, will provide a measure of security, but as hardware maker Eric D. Morris says, "The lock is only as secure as the door and jamb around it."
 
 

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