Antique door hardware can add a touch of classic style to a home's entrance or an interior doorway. Vintage door hardware comes in many different finishes and materials, such as glass, porcelain, brass, and bronze. Choosing the look you want will probably be the easiest part. Finding antique door hardware that will fit the existing holes in your door, however, could be tricky. Aside from finding the right size, you will also need to determine whether you want — or need — to replace the hinges and the strike plate along with the doorknob.
Modern doors are typically cut with a hole suitable for today's hardware. A standard doorknob will generally fit in the hole drilled for any basic door model. Antique door hardware may not fit perfectly, however, requiring the hole to be patched and sanded. Door rosettes designed to help cover large holes can usually be found in antique finishes, which might eliminate the need for patching. Professional installation is often recommended for antique doorknobs, especially unusually shaped and unique ones.
Some antique door knobs may have large bases with old-fashioned keyholes. These will most likely require a more complicated installation than a basic doorknob. Depending on the set-up of your door, the knob and deadbolt holes might not line up, and some sort of drilling or patching could be necessary. If the antique door hardware fits the existing hole, installation should be straightforward. In most cases, you should not even need to replace the strike plate if you only want a different doorknob.
The strike plate can be replaced in a finish that matches the hardware to give the door a more overall antique look. Installation is important though — a strike plate that does not match-up perfectly between the door and the frame can keep the door from closing securely. Replacement usually is not difficult, but there are cases in which the hardware is thicker or thinner than the previous pieces. Sanding or patching the door and frame can help, but it might be wise to consult a carpenter for best results.
You may also wish to look for matching hinges to complete the antique door hardware set. During home renovations, often it's the small details that get overlooked, even though they can make a drastic difference in appearance. Hinges in a matching finish, especially hinges with old-fashioned end caps, can be a striking addition to the door. You will also most likely have a wide choice of the materials in your antique door handles, such as porcelain, cut glass, crystal, bronze, and brass.