How Does A Door Handle Work?

28 May 2020
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Did you know that a door handle is the most frequently touched object in your house? You’ve probably never given it much thought as to how a door handle operates.

Most of us take door handles for granted until the day when a door handle breaks, and you can’t get into a room. For something which may be used over a million times during its life span, the mechanism behind one is relatively simple.

At Door Stop, we thought we’d outline how a door handle works so the next time you reach for one, you’ll have a handle (excuse the pun) on what’s happening.

Different door handles

Door handles can be split into two groups, they either come on come on a backplate or rose. The way they operate is the same. A door handle fixed to a circular plate is known as a rose.

Most of the handles on a backplate include a keyhole just below the handle which will operate a sash lock. You may not need a backplate with a lock for everyday rooms such as a dining room or lounge.

How does it work?

A door handle controls the door by the manipulation of a latch which connects the door with its frame.

Every time you push down on a door handle, you are applying force. A spindle is a square metal bar that passes through the door connecting the handles together and operating the latch. When you push a handle the spindle, usually 8mm in width, rotates.

This turning motion rotates a cylinder which is connected to the latch. As it rotates, the energy transmitted retracts the latch bolt allowing the door to open. In most cases, the spindle is spring-loaded which means the latch springs back into the closed position when the handle is horizontal to keep the door secure when it’s closed. The latch’s position is determined by the handle.

You can find out more by watching this video by Jared Owen. If the door handle doesn’t return to its normal horizontal position, it’s usually because the spring has broken. Replacing a spring is relatively easy but you will need a pair of special pliers.

What about door knobs?

Door knobs operate in a similar way. There’s currently a trend for people to favour door handles over knobs. Handles are easier to operate with one hand and are far better for people with disabilities, especially those with reduced movement in their fingers and hands. Gravity also helps to pull down on a handle.

An Australian standard recommends that door handles are fitted at a height somewhere between 900mm and no more than 1100 mm above the floor.

If you’re thinking of replacing your doors and handles come and speak to the team at Door Stop. We specialise in doors and hardware for both residential and commercial properties. For expert advice and some inspiration, why not pay a visit to one of our showrooms in either Joondalup or Osborne Park?

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