In the regular column in the September GGP Magazine, Jayne Sullivan, DOORCO’s Operations Director looks to the trends the company is seeing in hardware for its prepped doors. Obviously hardware choices determine the security, legal compliance and functionality of a door, but in parallel with the increasing importance of design, it’s the hardware that adds the finishing touches aesthetically.
DOORCO preps for any lock, hinge, letterplate or door handle configuration. We are totally impartial and led by demand from our customers, so we won’t be naming any names in this column!
Getting a handle on it
The first and foremost important aspect of a door – for practicality and aesthetics – is the way you open it. We are prepping more and more doors for hardware every month. As a recent example in July, 80% were prepped for a separate handle, and the majority were for Lever/Lever handles from various manufacturers. This may only be one month, but looking back over last year, the results are very similar. Where we prepped for a handle, the top 5 choices were identical (which make up over 84% of all the handle prepping across both periods). We posed the question to customers and the feedback was the same – Lever/Lever handles are still the most popular choice.
Putting the focus on locks, we prep for a wide variety, but the majority are multipoint systems. A big change in trends here is the growth of smart hardware, or at least locks that are “ready” for smart (we don’t know if these functions have been activated after installation). Last July, smart locks represented nearly 5%; in July 2020, over 16% & rising to top position on the lock trends chart.
Letters through the door
The largest proportion of doors we prep do not have provision for a letter box – around 35% in both periods. Whether it is for additional security, to reduce heat loss by removing the need for a letter flap or for aesthetic reasons, it seems many are moving away from in-door letter boxes. When we look to those we do prep for letterboxes, there is a definite correlation between handle and letterplate manufacturers, suggesting homeowners are looking for a more suited door furniture.
Keeping a spy out
It seems that only 7.5% of our customers’ customers need a spy hole in their door.
As suggested in previous columns, we are seeing an upward trend in contemporary door design, so we would expect to see the styling of hardware following the same trajectory. We’ve already reported an increase in the number of doors being prepped for a handle, suggesting a move away from more traditional door knobs. When it comes to the style of handle, we may continue to see increasing demand for contemporary pull handles, but when it comes to practicality, pull handles are no rival for the “all-in-one” Lever/Lever; the design of which is becoming more and more contemporary, with some good-looking suites of door furniture on the market.
The move is likely to be towards more advanced locking systems, which use fingertip or retina scanning to activate the lock. Smarter hardware that talks to an app and tells you if your door is open or closed has been growing in popularity since it was first launched at the last FIT Show. Pre-lockdown demand was steady, but post-lockdown we’ve seen a significant rise. We are also seeing increased demand for key-less security. Many of the products that offer this functionality are still Lever/Lever handles, although there are also handle-less options available too.
When it comes to doors, design is a personal choice, but security cannot be compromised. Thankfully in our industry, this is commonplace, so we don’t have to compromise on either.
We’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you have a favoured lock, handle or suite of door furniture? Are you seeing an increase in enquiries for smarter hardware for doors? Please get in touch via social media – @doorco_official on twitter, DOORCO Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook or @DOORCOUK on Instagram.