As a result of homeowners' increased attention to entry-door hardware, manufacturers are seeing a wave of new trends. Considering that a handleset is the first piece of art the Joneses see, “Now it's more important to become innovative, to have different finishes and different looks,” says Minu Youngkin, residential marketing manager for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, of which Schlage is a brand.

Omnia Industries' Metro stainless steel handleset is designed to be paired with the company's stainless steel levers. The dead-bolt lockset is resistant to corrosion, weathering, and staining, the company says.
Omnia Industries' Metro stainless steel handleset is designed to be paired with the company's stainless steel levers. The dead-bolt lockset is resistant to corrosion, weathering, and staining, the company says.

In many regions of the country, this emphasis on individuality means that many homeowners are saying goodbye to brass. John Kufner, general manager for entry products with Therma-Tru Doors, estimates that demand for brass has declined by more than 50% during the past five years at his company. Instead, homeowners are choosing living finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze, which patinas over time, or brushed nickel, representing a move toward a more rustic look, says Dave Koester, brand manager for Weather Shield Windows & Doors.

Finishes are also being perfected to better withstand the elements. Lock manufacturer Baldwin, for example, offers a tin nickel PVD finish on its handles for coastal areas, one that works to prevent corrosion and rusting, notes Mike Slack, director of lock products for the company. Slack says that there's a desire for bath accessories and light fixtures to mimic the look of the entry door and the kitchen cabinets.

While brass is becoming a thing of the past, knobs are also fading in popularity as homeowners turn to levers. “Everyone has a knob. Everyone's seen a knob,” says Thom Mack, a buyer specializing in hardware for Architectural Products by Outwater. “With levers, it's another design element.”

This story first appeared in BUILDING PRODUCTS magazine.