jocave

Height of door handles

JC
5 years ago
Hi. Does anyone know where door handles should be placed? I asked the builder to put them on the cross rail of my four panel doors but came home to something quite different.

One door is 1980mm high with the centre of the handle at 1040mm from the bottom of the door and 1060mm from the floor when the door is shut. The other is 1965mm high with the handle at 1015mm from door and floor. Both handles are 80mm above the top of the cross rail and they both feel too high when I use them. Personally I think it looks weird.

Be great to get some views before I go back to the builder. Note there is supposed to be a lock below the door handle which will have the same sized round escutcheon as the handles. Don't know if that makes any difference.

Many thanks

Comments (45)

  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    They are in the correct position.
  • kmizzlee
    5 years ago
    Hi jocave

    No - this is wrong! Building regulations normally requires door handles to be no higher than 900mm from the floor level. I quite agree with you that the handles should be on the cross bar, and there should still be space for the lock. At the very least, the handles should both be the same height! It's definitely worthwhile having a discussion with your builder. Good luck! K :)
  • kmizzlee
    5 years ago
    Thinking about it some more - you gave your builder a clear instruction and he has ignored it. You should stand firm on this one and get them located where you originally requested. I think it would look a lot better on the cross bar. If this location does cause a clash with the lock sets, then look into whether a smaller backset is compatible, or alternatively maybe a different lock, or a simple bolt. Best, K
  • Victoria
    5 years ago
    Building regs say between 900 and 1050 from the floor (I think). Should be at same level anyway. My preference is for on the cross bar.
  • Victoria
    5 years ago
    Yes, but this is a modern door.
  • kmizzlee
    5 years ago
    I was clearly wrong on the height standards - so many thanks for clarifying. In an existing residential property, it would be preferable if the handles are all the same height throughout for consistency (which is probably why they feel weirdly high for you right now), and I believe the regs only apply to doors in new builds. I also suspect that these doors are not traditional construction, so as long as the handle is located within the solid 'lock block' that forms part of the door, there shouldn't be any technical reason which would prevent installation on the cross bar should you so wish. If you discuss this further with your builder he will be able to clarify why they were installed at that height, and the extent of the lock block.
  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Modern door? They've been fitting that pattern door for over 20 years. You don't fit them on the mid rail. Having fitted thousands of these they are always fitted where the photo shows. However, if you're that unhappy with them then you need to discuss with your fitter. If you want them swapping, new doors would be required. Sometimes it takes time to get used to different things. Perhaps stress your concerns with the builder and see how you feel regarding the position in a couple of weeks time, but they are correct.

  • Jonathan
    5 years ago
    I also believe that aesthetically they are in the wrong place. The argument about the structure and therefore the strength of the door is not valid as these doors traditionally had the handle on the cross bar as seen in all Victorian houses that have four panel doors and all Georgian houses that have 6 panel doors.
    Furthermore these are most likely modern doors and hollow and the furniture placement will make no difference.
    Since your fitter has done what he wants not what you wanted you should get him to relocate the handle and attempt a repair- I fear that repair may be unsatisfactory.
  • JC
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    Thanks for your responses which has at least proved it is not straightforward! The doors are from howdens and seem pretty solid to me. I had a bit of a google and i think the ones on the cross bar or just above look fine. I think what's jarring about mine aesthetically (ignoring ergonomic issues) is that they are more than half way up the door. I will have a chat to the builder on monday.
  • Victoria
    5 years ago
    Modern, Daisy, in that they are not a traditionally made door of mortise and tenon construction. I did not say contemporary. If there is no structural reason, the handle should be placed where the client wants it as long as it is not breaching any building regulations.
  • Lisa Burdett
    5 years ago
    Your builder has put them in the right position. That's exactly where I have my door handles.
  • Jenny West
    5 years ago
    I think the handles are far too high. Doesn't look good.
  • Nat H
    5 years ago

    Anywhere between 900mm-1000mm from floor is fine. & ignore any misinformation suggesting you cannot fit them on cross bar because you can. If you prefer them on the cross bar, do it! They will not conflict with the tenon joint (if, for example, you wish to recess a sashlock, as long as you do not recess unnecessarily deep) and certainly will nowhere near 'destroy the structure of the door', lol. A skilled tradesman can do this competently. In fact, it's the strongest point on a door to mount a lock. I fit mine on the cross bar whenever possible for best aesthetic purpose. They are around 900mm high.

    In conclusion, fit them on your door anywhere you prefer, between 900-1000(mm) from floor level. Also, make sure the builder leaves you completely satisfied before you pay him, however stressful these situations can be. Incidentally, I'm an Architect.

  • Nat H
    5 years ago

    Also, sorry to double post but I've just read and have to STRONGLY disagree with the suggestion by Daisy England of 'wait two weeks and see how you feel'!! This is classic rouge-trader talk. I cannot emphasize strongly enough, clear up all issues with your tradespeople before they leave the job. If it's niggling you now -- it'll always niggle you. Insist on exactly what you want.

  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    Classic rogue trader talk eh? Cobblers. It was a suggestion and offered in good faith. Also a bit late matey to contribute bearing in mind the date of the post. Idiot!
  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    Oh yeah and I'm an architect too.
  • JC
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    Not sure why this post is back again. Just shows that some rules are there for a reason and some are just about the aesthetic and ergonomic. My door handles are now the "right" height for me as I don't notice them any more. The other door was actually a different design for some reason and once that was replaced and I introduced my builder to the concept of rising hinges the handles are now the same height on both doors as half the bottom hasn't had to be cut off :)
  • David Roberts
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Just been reading these posts about door handle height. I have worked as a carpenter and joiner for 45 years and have hung more doors than I can recall, and totally agree with Daisy England. Very often if the handles and latch are fitted to the rail the bottom scews to the handles miss the lockblock.

  • HU-723069088
    2 years ago

    Late post: What a lot of RUBBISH people are talking on this forum! On victorian style doors (the type with 4 panels and a mid rail - that's not in the middle) the handles should be fitted in the CENTRE of the midrail. It does NOT affect the mortice & tenon or dowel joint Daisy. If you look at these doors in films, TV series, online or go to a house where they have the original doors, the centre of the handle is fitted in the centre of the midrail. I've just been watching PUBLIC EYE on Talking Pictures, and every door has the handles in the centre of the midrail. Millions of victorian doors hung by carpenters did this - in fact you would have been sacked if you didn't fit them in the centre! However, some people think that this position is too low for them (especially if you are tall). The current pracrise on flush doors and others, is to fit the handles 990mm (which is halfway down a standard 6'6"" or 1981mm door) measuring from the TOP of the door. You measure from the top of the door, not the bottom as the door may have been trimmed by 25mm to allow for hardboard, underlay and carpet. The next door may be a bathroom with sanded floors so no trimming required. If you measure from the floor or bottom, the handles will be at different heights. If you asked your builder to fit the handles in the centre of the midrail, he should have done that. BTW, UPVC double glazed doors NEVER have the handle fitted in the centre of the midrail, as they are normally 6'8" so the handle would be too low. Hope this clarifies this once and for all.

  • Leticia Mueller
    last year

    I know this is an old post, but I came across it trying to find the correct height to place a door handle. I am not sure if the original poster is still on the forum, but i was comparing your pictures...the door handle is in a different position in your 2016 picture vs your picture in 2017. You say the door handle is the right height and you don’t notice it anymore....but they seem to be in completely different positions. I am missing something? Did your builder replace the door? Did you move the handle? I am truly confused! Thank you for any clarification!

  • E D
    last year

    Magic! 🪄

    I‘m curious too.

    Aesthetically I prefer the top photo’s arrangement.

    A bit low for taller people (like me) though...

  • Daisy England
    last year

    I couldn’t possibly comment 😂😂😂 but my post is correct as is David Robert’s post. There’s a reason for these things.

  • JC
    Original Author
    last year

    Hi. I went with the top picture. New door. The height is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable for a 5’4” person. The other height was thoroughly uncomfortable. Also at 900mm high is within part M of the building regs which gives a range of 800mm to 1150mm. It fits the period features too and certainly no impact on the construction of the door being on the crossbar four years later.

  • keiblem
    last year

    In all my years of opening and closing doors I cannot say I have ever given a moments thought as to where the handle is positioned. It just goes to show you live and learn.

  • HU-723069088
    last year

    Kleiblem, maybe it's because you don't hang doors for a living. I always ask the client where they want the door handles, and show the two standard positions. If the house is empty (such as a house conversion) I fit the handle 990mm from the top of the door, to the center of the spindle. It doesn't matter if it's a sashlock or tubular latch. When I used to make door linings from softwood, I would make them 6'7" from the bare floor to the underside of the head of the lining. This would allow 25mm for trimming for a carpet.

    There's a MASSIVE difference between the weekend DIYer and someone who won't get paid if it's wrong, or will have to replace a £500.00 door if it gets messed up (say by trimming too much off the width).

  • keiblem
    last year

    Well there you go. You would have fun in my house. They are a mix of ledged bead and butt doors with thumb latches of varying ages and sizes and flat hollow panel doors probably installed in the 1970’s. I have just taken a look and no two handles match and neither are they at the same height. I have only just noticed that the thumb latches are really quite high in comparison. I am 5’6’’ and my partner is 6’ 5’’. We have been here three years and apart from constantly cracking his head on the door frame we haven’t noticed any problems with using the doors. Maybe it demonstrates that, so long as the door integrity isn’t compromised, there is room for manoeuvre.

  • keiblem
    last year

    Incidentally I will be changing the doors at some stage. I await with bated breath the joy of discussing where the handles should go!

    Sorry to see the ledged bead and butt doors go but building regs say they must be fire doors. A bit cheeky to hijack this fascinating discussion but to all you door experts out there. Do you know where I can get ledged, bead and butt doors that meet fire regulations? I ha e looks but come up empty.

  • Daisy England
    last year

    For a huge choice of doors look on the J B Kind and LPD Door website. You cannot buy direct from them unless you are a trader but if you see a door that is what you’re looking for give them a ring and ask for a trader who deals with them in your area. There are identical doors on both sites.

  • keiblem
    last year

    Thank you Daisy. You are a star!

  • Joanna Bradley
    last year

    Just found this discussion - today I’m gutted because the door handles have been fitted at the ‘standard’ height. They look awful. I photographed nearly every door in the street to show the carpenter that Victorian doors have the handle at the crossbar. He disagrees

  • arc3d
    last year

    I agree. They look horrible at that height.


    Regardless of the height, you should get what you have asked for. If you asked him to install it upside on your ceiling then that's where he should have put it.

  • Joanna Bradley
    last year

    🥰thank you for making me feel like I’m not completely crazy!!! So hard when it’s a friend doing the work. It never occurred to me that he would do this

  • arc3d
    last year

    Ooh. That complicates things! But just type "Victorian interior door" in Google and almost every single one, new or old, has the handle level with the midrail.


    Correcting the problem will be difficult unless you are having the doors painted? If you are having them painted it should be fairly easy to move them and fill the holes.


    Also is it just me or does the door with the black frame have a really big gap under it?

  • PRO
    OnePlan
    last year

    Add a touch plate to cover the hole after your installer has re fitted them into the place you’d prefer .

  • Joanna Bradley
    last year

    There is a gap but there’s a thick rug inside the room that the door wouldn’t go over if it was lower! Not going to be painted - I’ve spent hours lovingly oiling them 😂
    And last night the idea of a touch plate occurred to me so that might be the way to go. Thank you one plan!

  • sandgirl
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    I've loved reading this thread. Interesting where views differ and you can sense the strength of feeling and conviction in an answer!! I'd like to throw a curve ball in an ask about where to locate the handle in a 1930 4-panel door (image attached). I realise it's an old thread but looks like people have kept it going over several years!! I'm torn. I think it would look better on the middle horizontal but it could be very high - 1130 or even 1190 from the floor depending on which manufacturer provides the door (I know it won't comply with building regs but that doesn't concern me). I also want thumb turn locks on the bathroom door so need to allow room for that and therefore that door probably dictates the rest. I'd love your views!



  • Joanna Bradley
    7 months ago

    I agree. Middle of the crossbar would look best. Personally, I don’t find that too high. It’s probably lower than shoulder height.

  • HU-723069088
    7 months ago

    The modern way to fit door handles is half way up or half way down the door, as the carpenter has done on these doors. However, if the client wants the handles fitted in the centre of the midrail, then that's where they should be fitted. The only other time they should be fitted in the mid rail, is when round door handles are used and the latch or sashlock needs a longer backset (the distance from the edge of the latch to the centre of the spindle hole) otherwise your knuckles will hit the door stop. If you fit a latch with a round handle and long backset off the midrail, part of the knob will be off the style and look terrible.

  • sandgirl
    7 months ago

    Thanks, Joanna. It would actually be at my shoulder height which is why I'm unsure. And having looked online at a lot of photos, many of them have the knobs/handles lower down, even on this style of door. Thanks HU-723etc. yes, the knuckle problem is another consideration because I want to use knobs. But your comment that the modern way is halfway up or down makes sense given the photos I've seen. I'll post a few photos to show people what I mean.

  • sandgirl
    7 months ago




  • Victoria
    7 months ago

    Oh those photos 😱
    Middle of cross rail on 1930s style doors

  • Joanna Bradley
    7 months ago

    Morehandles.co.uk have a good article on the length of the tubular latch (the bit that goes through the door and determines where the handle will sit) For a door knob you need a deeper one to avoid the knuckle scraping! They usually go on the crossbar bit because otherwise they’d be too far back for the narrower part that runs the length of the door (if that makes sense!) Modern handles (rather than knobs) don’t need to be as far back so they are put about halfway up these days. I think for a proper period feel they are better in the traditional place.

  • sandgirl
    7 months ago

    😱 indeed, Victoria. That's how I feel but at the same time, the middle horizontal is a bit high for me. Sigh. Maybe I'll hunt out some neighbours with the original doors and try a few out! Thanks for the link, Joanna. The problem is I've fallen in love with some door knobs, they are an unusual finish and the manufacturer makes matching latches but they only do 60mm and 100mm to the backset. The short one feels a bit tight. The long one is too long, esp if I pair them with thumb turns on the bathroom and toilet doors. I feel so privileged to even have this dilemma but if you are going to spend a lot of money, you want it to be perfect! I shall ponder.

  • Sean Mc Cabe
    4 months ago

    Victorian doors did not have mortice locks fitted they where surface mounted on the inside generally with a knob on the outside this is so they wouldn't effect the mortice and tendon joint on the midrail.. new locks are mortice locks you cannot compare so can everyone stop saying that all Victorian doors had handles on midrail as there are completely different lock design

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