handles & locksets
Sun Mountain distributes a variety of architectural hardware components, including handles and locksets, from leading manufacturers including Emtek®, Rocky Mountain Hardware®, Ashley Norton, Longleaf and Nobilus. Several elements you should consider when choosing handles and locksets include:
Type of Metal
Door handles and locksets are most commonly manufactured in three metal materials—bronze, brass, and steel. Bronze is typically offered in two finishes—silicon bronze (an alloy of copper, silicon and zinc), and white bronze (an alloy of copper, manganese, nickel and zinc). Bronze will oxidize over time, changing color, sheen and texture. This "living finish" is referred to as the patina. No cleaner, wax, or polish can stop the oxidation process, but a high-quality clear floor wax can protect the finish. Change in bronze patina is not covered under warranty by any manufacturer, except for a few companies that offer a "lifetime" finish.
Brass is also a common metal used in the production of handles and locksets. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. After production, it is generally coated with a lacquer finish to prevent tarnishing. The lacquer coating can preserve the bright finish of the metal for up to several years when the hardware is exposed to outside elements, and indefinitely when positioned indoors. After the lacquer has deteriorated, it is recommended that the lacquer be removed and the hardware be regularly polished to maintain a bright finish. Un-lacquered brass will weather more attractively than brass with deteriorated lacquer. When freshly polished (and un-lacquered), brass is similar to gold in appearance, but becomes a reddish color with ongoing exposure to the outside elements.
Steel is less common in the production of handles and locksets than either bronze or brass. However, steel is an excellent material for a weathered, rustic appearance, when the hardware will not be exposed to outside elements. When exposed to the elements without a protective coating, steel will rust and deteriorate quickly. For this reason, steel handles and locksets are often powder-coated for protection.
In choosing door handles and locksets, it is important to consider the function or specific use of the hardware. Exterior and interior uses are reviewed as follows:
Exterior—Three types of exterior or "entry door" handles and locksets exist: cylindrical, mortise lock and multipoint. With the cylindrical lock, the door handle (the grip, knob or lever) is separate from the deadbolt cylinder and requires entry via a key inserted into both the deadbolt and the keyed lever or knob. A more elegant type of lockset is the mortise lock, typically found in higher-end homes. This mechanism integrates both the locking and latching mechanisms into a single cartridge-style lock. With the mortise lock, both the door latch and the deadbolt are operated by inserting a key into just one slot. Mortise locks also feature a special interior emergency release which allows operation of the door latch and deadbolt simultaneously from inside the home, in the event of a fire or other emergency. Lastly, multipoint locks contain a mechanism that latches the door at several points over the entire height of the door, instead of only at a single point near the handle. Sun Mountain strongly recommends multipoint locks for very tall (8’ and over) entry doors, especially in double door applications.
Interior—Interior handles and locksets are typically divided into three functions: passage, privacy and dummy. Passage handles and locksets are non-locking, but with operable handles. They are typically used on doors that do not require security or privacy such as closets, laundry or utility rooms, pantry, mechanical rooms, etc. Privacy hardware sets also have operable handles, but can be locked by a push button or thumb turn on the interior side of the door. These handles and locksets can be unlocked by an emergency release key from the exterior side, and are typically used on bedroom and bathroom doors. Dummy sets have inoperable handles on one or both sides of the door, and are typically used in conjunction with ball catches or flush bolts. Most interior locksets are cylindrical, although interior mortise lock sets do exist and can be found in the highest-end homes.
Sun Mountain can assist in specifying handles and locksets, by ensuring that each set matches the appropriate swing and function of each door being installed. Whether you purchase your hardware from Sun Mountain or from another supplier, we can still machine and prepare each door to ensure accurate fit and easy lockset installation.