The risks of buying and fitting cheap door hardware

on 29 July, 2016

Taking the cheapest route with any product or service is more often than not an example of false economy. Most people know that generally, the cheaper the product, the more likely it is you will have to fix or replace it sooner. When it comes to door hardware, you don’t have to make the false economy of choosing lower quality hardware to help reduce costs.

Scrimping on hardware and ironmongery can be a waste of money in the long run due to the costs of replacements and having to carry out service calls. If you fit cheap low quality products you are also consequently increasing the risk of them becoming hazardous and dangerous, and ultimately compromising the safety and security of the building.

It’s a good idea to always purchase ironmongery from well-known trusted brands as these will offer very high quality durable products. Poor quality hinges are perhaps the biggest cause of failing doors or locks as they are vital to the functional well-being of the other door hardware, as well as the fire integrity and security.

Safety should be a number one priority and low quality or failing door furniture is a particular problem if the door is on a fire exit route. Any weak point in the door could allow fire to spread easier.

Poor quality hinges can cause the door to drop from its original position, subsequently causing locks, handles, strike plates and other hardware to become misaligned. Not only would this mean buying new hinges, it could mean replacing other door hardware such as the door closer as it is put under increasing strain, reducing its ability to operate effectively. You may even have to replace the door itself if it drops low enough (sometimes just a few millimetres) to catch the floor, which could also become damaged. High quality hinges should be able to support the weight of the door and last for the entire lifetime of the door.

Security is no place to skimp on quality. It takes a quality door lock to deter burglaries and home invasions. Door hardware material should

differ depending on use, however, when it comes to locks and strike plates, the material is very important and the cheapest products are often made from materials which should be avoided. An example of this is aluminium. Opting for the higher priced stainless steel lock is a no brainer as it is three times stronger, more resilient to dents and scratches, and has a melting point twice that of aluminium.

Cheaper products that sustain high usage will never have the life span of better quality products. In environments such as public buildings where security products have to endure heavy use, it is false economy to fit items which will need a replacement after a few months. Cheap electric strikes are okay for low-abuse, low-traffic applications, such as interior doors and cabinets, but for high use or external doors, what you really need is a grade 1 commercial strike.

As well as functionality, when it comes to architectural ironmongery, if you want something that is going to look and feel the same for the next few decades, then it is worth spending the money on it now. Cheap brass, for example, will fade to a yellowy colour, whereas high-quality brass will turn a deep gold. Poor quality finishes are a false economy as they will soon tarnish and functionality of hardware such as hinges may be reduced.

To conclude, the saying: “You get what you pay for,” absolutely applies to architectural ironmongery and other door hardware, and it’s important to realise that value for money does not necessarily mean choosing low priced products. Trying to cut corners will result in frustration, weaker security, and greater costs later on down the line.

Phil Chantler is director of Architectural Ironmongery company, Stronghold Direct.

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