Debating door strikes, door handles

Ron Dahlke holds the oversized door pull about the height we decided to mount it. The lower blue tape is approximately 36 inches up from the bottom of the door -- standard height for a door handle. The upper blue tape is about 54 inches up from the bottom. The door pull looks and functions better in this location.
Ron Dahlke holds the oversized door pull about the height we decided to mount it. The lower blue tape is approximately 36 inches up from the bottom of the door — standard height for a door handle. The upper blue tape is about 54 inches up from the bottom. The door pull looks and functions better in this location.

Not including earlier discussions, Ron and Steven, with help from carpenters Shane and Peter, debated what size door strike we need at which door — and where to install the oversized pull and smart deadbolt system on the front door.

Why? Working with architect Brett, Steven and Jacquela opted months ago for oversized trim around the doors. It’s not wide, but it is deep — standing more than one inch proud of the drywall. That aesthetic decision now cascades into a rude realization — standard-sized strike plates are not wide enough to protect the trim when the latch bolt slides across the painted trim. The bolt leaves a trail across the paint.

With Shane’s help, we sized the kitchen side door for strike plate 2.25 inches tall by 3 inches wide. Standard width is more like one inch. All the other interior and exterior doors — with the exception of the front door — need strike plates 2.25 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide.

Steven shopped and ordered these online from Amazon.

The front door is a different conundrum. According to Shane, the handle on a front door is normally mounted 36 inches up from the bottom of the door.

If we mount the oversized pull at that height on the door, the pull will appear way too low, located properly only for very short people.

We debated different heights for a while, shifting the pull up and down and calculating where to put the smart deadbolt above it. We decided that the top of the pull should be 54 inches up from the bottom of the door.

Ron wrote this decision down.

About three hours later, Ron called Steven to note that we forgot to compute into the 54 inches the fact that there is a step up from the porch to the front door — about seven inches.

That was yesterday.

Today, we used blue painter’s tape to mock up the potential positions on the OSB sheets that currently cover the front door. One at 36 inches, one at 54 inches.

54 inches is where your hand meets the pull comfortably. The smart deadbolt mounts a short reach higher, at just about eye height for adults. Jadin is already nearly as tall as Mom and Dad — so that height is going to work just fine.

We’re done.

Now it’s up to Shane and Peter to drill holes in the door to mount the hardware.

But we take away these instructions:

  1. Every small decision cascades into many more decisions that are complicated, time consuming, expensive, surprises to even experienced carpenters and builders, surprises that Steven could not anticipate or imagine.
  2. Every cascading decision comes with multiple complexities. Take a deep breath. Dive in. Talk it through. As many times as necessary. Use tape for mockups. Get as many hands and brains involved as necessary. Solve the puzzle. And the next puzzle. And the puzzles just don’t stop arriving.
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