When considering handles for exterior doors you need to look at the type of lock and the finish of the handles. Not all handles are suitable for exterior use particularly tho se with a degradeable finish such as chrome or brass. These finishes are ideal for the interior but handles for the exterior need extra protection such as Resista or PVD finishes. They are more expensive but they will last longer and will not discolour or degrade against the elements. Some manufacturers guarantee PVD finishes upto 25 years!
Exterior door handles can also come in several lock types and sizes. The most common is the mortice lock found on timber type traditional doors. This is quite a substantial key and the door handle is designed to allow the shank of the key to work through a slot in the door handle. In the case of a uPVC door the handle is somewhat different where the backplate has a specially formed 'light bulb' shape cut through it to accept a euro cylinder. These are normally a standard size. Great care is needed when replacing uPVC door handles as the cylinder fits through a lock case and therefore the screws, cylinder and screw positions must be replaced exactly. To help you do this use the HandleStore uPVD Door Handles Wizard.
Interior door handles are much more popular and varied in design than their exterior counterparts. The cost varies considerably depending on the material used and the quality of the finishing. It is very hard to know where to start as there are so many to choose from. Do remember the distinct difference between internal and external as the finishes may not be upto the weathering elements. This is particularly the case with polished chrome which can tarnish very quickly wihout special coatings to protect them. Hoppe Resista finishes are good for the external elements as is PVD.
When replacing uPVC door handles there are a vast number of differing sizes that have been used over the last 30 years. In some cases the lock sizes are no longer available and this can lead time to the door being replaced in some cases. The most popular size is the 92mm PZ door handle and is now really the norm for pvc door locks.
A lot of handles now come in from China and to be fair they are much better quality these days. Many European and US manufacturers have invested heavily into Chinese factories and take a great deal of involvement in implementing their quality standards to ensure they meet the standards we expect. That said there are a number of quality door handle manufacturers in the UK and Europe, particularly Italy who produce some fabulous styled quality handles. These are branded and much sought after by architects, interior designers and the public alike. You get what you pay for and door handles is no exception.
Author: George Mitchell