Whether you had it installed when building in your new home build or you retro-fitted an existing home, you made a very conscious decision to use architectural door hardware in your hme.

You did so for a number of reasons. The security of solid materials is an attractive feature, as is the design of the piece, but it’s the finish of your door hardware that you notice every day more than any other aspect of it. Even if you feel you chose a handle and lock set for it design, think about that same design in a plain finish. Yes, it will still be a beautiful design, but the set simply wouldn’t have the character that attracted you to it.

A Bit About Door Hardware Finishes

When you learn more about the finishes available for door hardware, you can make more informed decisions about what works for you; and why.

1. The Material

The metals used in the construction of the locks, knobs and handles are one of the biggest determinants of their finish. Generally speaking, door hardware can be made with aluminum, brass, bronze, nickel, pewter and/or stainless steel, among others. Some of those metals, like stainless steel and nickel, offer only a few options for their finish, usually regular and brushed. Others, like brass and bronze offer a much wider variety of finish options.

2. ‘Living’ Finishes

A living finish is one that is designed to change over time as the hardware is handled and reacts to the environment. The distinctive lustre and look of brass and bronze finishes are revealed over time. Those who choose living finishes appreciate the ‘dynamic’ nature of the hardware’s appearance and enjoy watching the look evolve as time goes by.

3. Hand-Relieved Finish

The lustre, hue and appearance of hand-relieved finishes are determined in the final stages of finish development, which are done by hand. The result is unique look to every set, albeit imperceptible in some cases.

While there’s a lot more you can learn about door hardware finishes, including how to restore or change their look, the points listed above should at least give you an idea that, when it comes to the hardware choices you make, the finish is the thing.