Checked and updated on January 17, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
The quick answer
The door handle height is typically specified by the architect in the joinery plan. In most cases, handles and knobs should be installed at a height of 34 to 48 inches from the finished floor. This may vary slightly depending on the size and design of the door, as well as the room where they will be installed.
Many homeowners and designers also opt to have all the door handle’s in a room at the same height as each other. The only expectation to this is door handles that give access to an area that contains water such as a pool, more on this below.
Doors are among the most important elements in any home decor. For this reason, many homeowners, builders, and interior decorators spend a lot of time and considerable effort deciding on doors that will perfectly complement the home or office’s design.
But few people give as much thought to the handles and knobs, which are just as important as any other fixture in a living or working space. In particular, careful consideration must be given to where handles and knobs are installed on the doors.
Doorknob height will affect not only the look and feel of interior spaces but also its safety and accessibility.
What is the standard height for door handles?
Installing door handles and knobs at the correct height is important for two reasons. First, they have to be out of reach of young children. Secondly, they have to be convenient to use.
Apart from these considerations, door handle placement should also conform to international regulations. According to the International Building Code 2012, the standard door handle height is at least 34 inches from the floor or 48 inches at most.
Swimming pool door handle height?
The exception to this is when the door is the entrance to a swimming pool, in which case the height of the door handle should be above the finished floor. But of course, you need to follow what’s specified in the design specifications.
Ideal wardrobe door handle height
There is usually a lot more leeway with regard to the standard doorknob height for wardrobes and cabinets. Most builders and interior designers simply place cabinet handles at the same height as doorknobs.
This creates consistency in the elements of the room and makes the design more cohesive. Most people find that placing the cabinet handles much higher or lower than the door handles results in a seemingly awkward room design.
Aligning the cabinet handles with the height of the doorknobs requires careful measurement. The spot where the handles will go should be marked off and measured twice to ensure accuracy.
Taking the extra step of measuring everything again ensures that you only have to drill once and not have to fill in any unsightly holes afterward. For door handles installed in place, setting up a Dewalt cross line laser will help you keep all your handles and the exact same height.
Best deadbolt height
There aren’t really any strictly defined rules regarding where deadbolts should be placed. Of course, deadbolts should be installed where they are easily accessible and where unlocking them won’t pose any difficulties. Keep in mind that part of the door might have more meat and be a better placement area for your lock.
Apart from these considerations, deadbolts can be installed pretty much anywhere you, please. Deadbolts can be placed above or below the doorknob or handle, although they are most commonly installed above the handle. This would place them at a height of 48 to 78 inches from the finished floor.
In some cases, you will have no choice but to place the deadbolt in a specific spot on the door. This is especially the case when the door is positioned too close to a corner or is in an otherwise awkward position.
Whether or not the door is placed in such a spot, it is almost always a good idea to go for a keyless touchpad door lock like a schlage keypad lock. This is a lot more convenient than a keyed lock this will help you avoid fumbling around for keys when you need to open the door.
Best tools to install a door handle
The quickest way to install a door handle is to use a door handle installation kit, otherwise, you can use the right sized hole saw in your Makita or Dewalt cordless drill. Every door handle should come with a paper template in its packaging, you simply fold it over the door mark the holes that need to be drilled, and drill them with the right sized drill bit.
For the latch plate on the edge of the door, first, mark it from the template and then use a craft knife to cut the edge. Use your drill to lightly create the corner edge, then use your best set of wood chisels to finish it off by taking off a slice for the required rebate.
If you haven’t got the best set of wood chisels yet have a read of my Two cherries chisels review.
Best commercial door handle height
There are slightly different considerations when installing door handles or knobs for commercial establishments. In particular, consideration will have to be given to accessibility for disabled or differently-abled people. These are subject to regulations outlined in the International Building Code.
There may also be regulations governing the height of door handles for commercial establishments in your federal, state, and local codes.
In most jurisdictions, the standard door-knob height for commercial establishments is 34 inches to 48 inches from the floor. This ensures easy access to people with disabilities and also allows unobstructed access to wheelchairs when the door is open, without the handle getting in the way.
Should doors open outwards towards the exit
Not all doors necessarily have to open outwards. In most jurisdictions, however, in the country, any building that could have a large number of people inside like commercial buildings, and apartments should have a fire exit plan, that goes alongside the architectural plans and specifications in a new build.
This fire exit plan should specify that all doors in main areas open outwards in the direction of exiting a building in case of the event of an emergency. All other doors that don’t fit this category should not have anything that would hinder a quick exit in case of an emergency.
When should doors open inwards?
Why doors should open in the direction of the exit
The importance of outwardly opening doors in crowded areas will never be forgotten after the sad event of the Iroquois Theatre fire, the happened on December 30, 1903. The theater was thought to be absolutely fireproof but the fire that started on the inside ended one of the worst single-building fires in history.
A simple thing such as doors not opening outwardly towards the exit was a contributor to the deaths that happened. The building was well over occupied to start with, and when the curtains caught on fire, in people’s reactive panic, everyone was getting pushed up against the exit.
Because of the pressure of screaming people, no one at the front of the door was able to actually open the exit, on this day 575 lives were lost. There were also other problems such as only one exit. This is why fire exit plans these days specify outwardly opening doors in crowded areas.
Therefore, a client or builder should challenge any design with an inwardly opening door towards an exit in a building that could hold a crowd.
The optimal placement of doorknobs and handles is essential for convenience and accessibility. They could also help ensure safety when there are children in the home. While there is a bit of leeway with regard to the typical door handle height, due consideration must be given to these concerns, as well as conformance with federal, state, and local regulations.
But for a basic DIY job, just match the height of other doors in the house, to keep things looking the same.
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