How to Buy Front Door Hardware and Accessories

First impressions matter. 

When you’re looking to buy new front door hardware, you’ll have plenty of choices. Though it can be hard to narrow down the selection, it’s worth taking the time to find one that reflects your style.

How can you choose the right accessories that are functional, match your home’s aesthetic, and express your personality at the same time? The answer lies in understanding the different types of door hardware available.

Whether you’re buying a new Milgard door or looking to upgrade your current one with a replacement, you’ve come to the right spot. 

Let’s take a look at some of the gorgeous looks that you can create today. The smallest touches can add up a significant difference!


Determining Your Functional Needs

While it’s important to find the right door hardware in a style you love that complements your home, let’s begin by discussing function over form.

Determining the layout and functionality of your hardware is one of the crucial parts of the shopping process, and it’s helpful to take care of it first.

Once you know the type and style of hardware you’ll need, then you can get to the fun part of shopping for specific colors, finishes, and special touches!


The Door’s Location and Purpose 

Your front door hardware should correspond to its function. That means knobs, levers or locks that you’d use on an interior bathroom or closet door won’t work here.

Instead, you’ll need exterior door hardware designed to hold up against time and weather. Keep that in mind as you search for the right accessories to complete your setup. From knobs and levers to locks and hinges, you’ll need ones specifically designed and rated for outdoor use. 


Understanding Door Hardware Functionality

There are four main types of door hardware functionality. These include:


♦ Keyed

♦ Dummy

♦ Privacy

♦ Passage


Let’s take a look at the differences between these options. 


Keyed Hardware

Keyed hardware is primarily used on exterior doors, including your front door. It locks with a single cylinder deadbolt to offer maximum security and protection. 

Dummy Hardware

Do you plan to have two exterior front doors that swing open? We offer a range of Milgard doors and Milgard replacement doors designed to work in pairs. This type of entryway is both elegant and inviting!

If so, there will be one functional knob or lever, and another that works as a dummy knob. Non-turning and Inactive, this is used on the non-locking side of your double doors. In addition to front doors, you might also use this kind of hardware on your dual-door interior closets.

Privacy Hardware

This gear is generally y reserved for bathrooms and bedrooms, where privacy is required.

These locks come with a privacy pin that most homeowners keep right above the door. You’ll push the pin through the middle of the knob to release the lock. If you don’t rest the pin near the door, make sure everyone in the family knows its location to prevent a lockout.

Passage Hardware

As its name implies, passage hardware is simply meant to provide passage from one room to the next. Mostly used on interior doors, these are non-locking, but they do turn. 

milgard door colors

Door Handling Requirements

Once you’ve figured out the kind of door hardware functionality you’ll require, the next step is to determine your handling needs.

In other words, in what direction does your door open?

If your door is currently in place, take a look at it from the exterior. Where are the door hinges?

If they’re on the left side,  purchase “left handling” hardware. If they’re on the right side, select “right handling” hardware.

Note that you’ll always make this selection by looking at the door from the outside. In most cases, the door will open away from you at this position. Though this is the case for most front doors, side doors, and interior room doors, it isn’t a hard rule.

For instance, some pantry and closet doors are designed to open toward the user.

Handling Hardware Considerations

Once you know your handling needs, you can now shop for specific knobs, locks, and levers that fit your style!

While every manufacturer will have its array of different options, there’s one innovation that’s changing the game.

In addition to physical handling accessories that you have to twist, squeeze, or pull, there are now smart handles that are more secure and easier to use than ever before.

Consider the SmartLock handle system on our Milgard Tuscany Doors, for example.

Available as both a window lock and door handle, this line features sleek, ergonomic designs that are a cinch to operate. It’s also accessible to all ages and makes it easier for the senior population to age in place. 

In place of cumbersome maneuvers, this handle operates with a single touch. Its hidden lock mechanism works to unlock, close, and open the door, exceeding all lock and grip combination standards required by state code.

In addition to functional touches, you can also have fun with this step by choosing different handle finishes to make your door unique. Choose from brushed nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, or another finish to create a custom door that won’t mimic every other one on your block. 

Figuring Borehole Arrangements

Are you buying a brand-new exterior door that doesn’t have any boreholes drilled into it? Or, are you just looking to purchase new hardware for a door that already has drill holes?

The answer will make a difference in the accessories you select.

New doors will either come blank or with pre-drilled boreholes. If you plan to buy the latter, contact the manufacturer first to get accurate measurements before you begin shopping for hardware. 

If you’re replacing the hardware on an existing door, be sure to measure its drill holes first. You’ll need to find pieces that fit into the existing holes. Understand that hole sizes differ between manufacturers, so it’s necessary to take your time with this step. 

There are two main borehole measurements to take. Let’s take a look at each one. 

Backset Spacing

The backset of your door refers to the distance from its outer edge to the center of the borehole. In most cases, backsets will measure either 2 and 3/8 inches or 2 and 3/4 inches.

If you measure the backset yourself and it isn’t either of these two measurements, contact our customer service team. We can provide you with accurate dimensions so you can make an informed purchasing decision. 

Borehole Spacing

Most front doors are equipped with locks and deadbolts. As such, these will require two boreholes, with one located on top of the other. In addition to measuring the space between the two boreholes, you’ll also need to measure the width of each borehole itself. 

If your door comes pre-drilled to industry standards, each of the two boreholes will measure 2 and 1/8 inches wide. Moreover,  there will be 5 and 1/2 inches from the center of one borehole to the center of the next. 

While these measurements hold true for doors with standard borehole formats, some door hardware doesn’t follow these exact metrics. For instance, some accessories require smaller boreholes than others. Keep this in mind as you shop around for the perfect gear.

Know Your Keying

Today, there are myriad smart home tools and technologies that are changing the way homeowners secure and protect their property.

To that end, you might select a keyless door lock to keep your front doors in place.

This type of lock allows you to lock and open your door without using a physical key. Locks range from ultra-advanced to the simplest models and most even enable remote access and control via a smartphone app! With most models, you’ll enter a unique numeric access code on a keypad to operate the lock itself. 

. Choose one that fits your budget and meets your family’s needs.

If you prefer to go the traditional route, make sure you understand the kinds of physical keys your new hardware supports. This is highly essential f you’re purchasing multiple sets of door accessories,  and you want them to all work with the same key. In that case, you can contact the manufacturer to enable that functionality. 

Window and Glass Door Features

In addition to the locking and turning mechanisms, you might also choose to spruce up your new or existing front door by adding aesthetic touches of glass. 

Is your current door a solid wood model? You might love it, but prefer to let in a little more light. In this case, you can choose a new, ornately carved Milgard door that includes glass panels in place of some of those wood slabs.

To save on heating and cooling costs, look for a model that features low-E window glass. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) attributes around 25% to 30% of your home’s heat gain or heat loss to non-efficient windows, including those in your doors. 

Standing for low-emissivity, this kind of glass minimizes the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light that passes through your glass and into your home. Its thin, transparent coating reflects heat and helps keep your interior temperatures consistent, without blocking any valuable light. 

This is only one of the many upgrades you can make to increase the energy effectiveness of your exterior doors. You can also invest in a new insulation core that can help lower your utility bills and improve your carbon footprint at the same time. 

Navigating Varieties of Style

In addition to our lines of Milgard doors, we also offer Masonite doors that are stately, sturdy and classic in design. Ultimately, finding a style that matches your design preference will take time and consideration. 

To make it easier to shop for front door hardware, make sure the actual front door you choose is one that reflects your aesthetic. Some of the different types you can purchase include:


♦ Classic doors

♦ Panel doors

♦ Craftsman-style doors

♦ Expo doors

♦ Artisan doors

♦ French doors


Once you nail down your favorite style, there are also different construction types to consider, including:


♦ Fiberglass

♦ Vinyl

♦ Aluminum


Each has its advantages, so think about the features that are the most important to you.

If you prioritize energy-efficiency, fiberglass and vinyl models are made with insulated glass. For a traditional look with a range of different stain colors, a vinyl door is ideal, and If security and durability are key, you can’t beat commercial aluminum doors.

The kind of door you choose can help dictate the finish, style, and size of the corresponding hardware you’ll need to complete the look. For instance, an oil-rubbed bronze lever looks stunning against a dark-grained, wooden Craftsman-style door, while a bronze knob might look best against a white vinyl front door. 

The Perfect Backdrop for Your Front Door Hardware

Front door hardware might be the icing on the cake, but a gorgeous exterior begins with a beautiful door.

Are you building a new home and looking for the perfect interior or exterior entry? Or, are you upgrading an existing home and seeking to improve and modernize its appearance?

Either way, we’d love to help.

We offer a range of doors and windows from some of the top brands in the industry. From French doors and patio doors to bifold and sliding models, we have it all.

Contact us today to learn more about our inventory and services. If you’re in the San Diego area, we also offer two showrooms where you can see your options in person!