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Priors answer 10 frequently asked questions about door knobs

June 22, 2013

Brass Door Knobs Richmond Beehive
written by Vicki Bale


Brass Door Knobs Richmond Beehive

Brass Door Knobs Richmond Beehive Large


We hope this will help your understanding of door knobs and the terminology we use on our website. They can be a bit complicated, so here we have taken some of the most common questions we are asked and attempted to answer them below. We are always available to deal with any queries by phone or e-mail and would rather sort these up front to ensure you have the right items for your needs. Postage costs are becoming increasingly expensive, so let us help get it right first time.

1. Are door knobs sold in pairs?

Yes they are sold as pairs and many door knobs only work as pairs. The exceptions to this are centre pull knobs and cupboard knobs which are sold as single items.

2. What size door knobs do I need?

If you have standard size doors (1980 x 760mm), or close to standard size doors, most door knobs would be around the 50mm diameter. We sell larger door knobs up to 75mm in diameter for external doors and large internal doors. Pairs of door knobs do not generally go above 75mm in diameter as they need to be set back far enough from the edge of the door so your fingers do not get jammed between the door knob and the door frame. Of course size is down to your choice and aesthetics. If you are uncertain of the size, we suggest you make a paper cut out and stick this to the door, but remember to consider the projection as well.

3. Can I have one style or finish on one side of the door and a different one on the other? e.g. Bathroom one side (chrome) and landing the other (brass).

This can only be done if the spindle bar and method of fixing is the same. Generally if it is the same item in a different finish this can be done. If you want to mix styles you would need to ask us.

4. What do I need to make door knobs turn?

Door knobs are all supplied with spindles and the spindle needs to go through a latch. The latch is generally set into the edge of the door, so you only see the facing and retaining plates. Door knobs rely on the spring in the latch to make them spring back into position. We sell a heavy duty latch which is one of the best selling items we do.

5. Can I fit door knobs using my existing latches?

This depends if the latches have a deep enough set back ie distance between the edge of the door and the centre of the spindle hole. If you have taken door handles off the doors, they require a shorter set back and so it is unlikely that door ┬áknobs will fit. The set back required for door knobs is normally about 80mm, but this will vary according to the door knob diameter. A common fault with fitting door knobs is that incompetent fitters use short latches. This means you will catch your fingers between the knobs and the door frame – a real sign of shoddy workmanship!

6. What are Rim Door Knobs

These are door knobs which are to fit a rim lock. A rim lock is a surface mounted box which sometimes contains just a latch or a lock and a latch. Rim locks and latches are used as they are decorative and also where doors are too thin to house a mortise latch (one which fits into the door edge). Rim knobs normally have the backplates loose ie not fixed to the rest of the door knob and you generally only use one backplate on the non rim lock side of the door. Some door knobs in our range can be adapted to fit both mortise and rim locks eg wooden door knobs. Others fit only mortise fittings ie latches set into the door.

7. What are Mortise Knobs

These are door knobs which fit a mortise lock or latch i.e. fittings set into the edge of the door. Mortise knobs generally have the backplates fixed to the the door knobs and the spindle bar is plain and 8mm square. However some door knobs are adapted to fit both mortise and rim locks. e.g. Brass door knobs Richmond Beehive, all our wooden door knobs.

8. What is a Centre Door Knob?

A centre door knob or door pull is a single door knob. These do not turn. They are bolted from the back of the door and are generally used in the centre of external doors. These are often the grand centrepiece of a panelled front door. As they are not turning or fitting near to the edge of the door, they can be made larger than pairs of door knobs. Our largest ones are 100mm diameter.

9. What is a Cupboard Knob?

A cupboard knob is designed as a single knob. They are generally smaller in diameter than door knobs or centre knobs and are bolted from the back. We have sizes from 20mm diameter up to 50mm diameter in several different finishes and lots of styles. These act as pulls only and do not turn. They are used on cupboard doors, drawers and furniture.

10. Can I use one knob from a pair as a pull knob?

It may be possible, but backplates must be fixed. On our website a suitable door knob will say mortise only. There will always be some play in a mortise knob as it has been designed to turn. We are able to get some made in a fixed position. If we do this then you do not have the bolt appearing on the rear of the door. It is best to talk to us on this one.

Please find some photos of our door knobs below. Our range is best quality, traditional. From Left, Art Deco Centre Knob, Brass Rim Knob Cottage shown on a Large Iron Rim Lock, Iron Door Knobs.

Art Deco Centre Door KnobIron Rim Lock

Iron Door Knobs













Leave a comment


    mike jenkins says:

    I have 2 customers right now that are interested in center door knobs. I understand that they are really decorative and more of a pull. So what do most customers then use for a latch and a lock when they use a center door knob?

    Thank you.

    Mike Jenkins

    Vicki Bale says:

    Hello Mike
    You can use a lock which has a pull on it like a night latch or a Yale/Chubb lock. There will be other brands in the US. You can also put a pair of knobs with a latch as well. The choice is yours. If you need anything else e-mail me on vicki@priorsrec.co.uk and I will answer immediately.