happy_camper1696

Mix and match door hardware finish

Happy Camper
April 30, 2015

Please let me know what you think about my door installer's decision to use a silver/chrome latch plate for interior doors with aged bronze levers and hinges. The replacement of my old flush interior doors was so flawed that I do NOT want the company to remedy this. Is there a paint or marker suitable for fixing this?


Comments (26)

  • palimpsest

    Not all manufacturers color match the finish on that piece.

  • Happy Camper

    Schlage provides two different latch plates with their aged bronze lever sets. Each set contains an aged bronze piece and a shiny steel piece. The shiny steel piece is easier to install since it requires a drilled (versus chiseled) hole. I personally think that shiny steel on an aged bronze door is like having one blackwall tire on a car that has 3 whitewall tires.


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  • palimpsest

    If you didn't specify the rectangular plate that needs to be chiseled out in the scope of work, unfortunately you may need to pay more for the labor to do it.

    I agree, the other piece would be preferable. But it's like standard prehung doors that come with the mill-finished, brass plated, round cornered hinges that don't really match any hardware finish. A lot of people don't pay attention enough to that or think it's important enough to upgrade to square cornered matching-finish hinges.

  • Happy Camper

    And since when it is the homeowner's responsibility to know all of the nuances associated with door installation, including the fact that one manufacturer provides various latch finish options in their handle set packages? Should I have purchased a door set package and examined it before installation? Contractors live in a world of "It's the other guy's fault." Meanwhile, the real killer is that the Schlage hardware finish known as "aged bronze" comes in two versions -- the rough texture that I received on my new doors and the good looking smooth finish as stocked in Home Depot. Is it my fault to know know that Schlage sells the same finish with two totally different looks/feels?


  • busybee3

    ugh, having just installed some dead bolts, I can attest to WHAT A PAIN it is to chisel out space for the plates!!!! I thought the hole drilling would be the difficult part...

    but, in the locks I installed, the circle option that you show above that came with my broze locks were silver colored (schlage- level 1)... you can have him install the plate option instead(if he/you still have them)- those are bronze...

  • palimpsest

    It probably is in the homeowner's best interest to know the details of whatever is being installed, yes, in order to make sure you get what you want. A good contractor should say "hey this came with two options, which do you want?" But in the absence of a specific direction, many contractors will choose the option that is easier to perform and cheaper for them. How did you find out it came with two options if you didn't look at it first? By the way I am not blaming you. But while it may not be up to you to understand exactly how to install a door, you should at least be familiar enough with the hardware you select to make sure you are getting what you want. I checked every door and every piece of hardware before installation in my last renovation. And I am checking every tile trim piece for three bathrooms in this one. Is it technically my responsibility? Probably not but it's going in my house, so I do it.

  • justgotabme

    Happy Camper doesn't sound very happy, do she/he? I'm sorry. I know the frustration as that happened to me once only on a much bigger scale. Ours was a porch over the garage where the contractor boxed off where I would have chosen a balustrade. I was so excited to come out and see it, but when I did, I cried. Looking back it wouldn't have looked so bad, but we did have him change it. He did so without charge because of the fact that he didn't ask us for details before he did it. We'd basically asked him if he could do it and how much. He said he could and gave us a price that we could live with. He wound up having time to get to it before we had a chance to talk details. Instead of calling to check if we had any preferences on the finish, he just did it. He felt bad so didn't charge us extra.

    Personally, and this is coming from someone who is typically a perfectionist, there are some things that just aren't worth getting this upset about. Like my crying about a porch. It's laughable now. Yes, it would have been nice if the person installing you hardware would have asked which you would prefer, but this is something easily fixable. I'd talk to the contractor, kindly, and depending on what went on before he started, he might also make the changes at no cost.

    Take this as a learning experience for the next times. Ask questions, do some research of your own and be there if you can when the work is being done.

    Again, I'm sorry this happened to you.

  • Happy Camper

    Whaddya gonna do? The quality of hired services reflects a worker's philosophy, integrity, commonsense and degree of caring. Homeowner expectations need to be low, low, low. Pay much, receive little and expect negative presumptions about what's best for YOU. The installer was forthcoming in telling me that two latch plates came in the box: one was a lazy man's silver cover and the other was an attractive plate designed to match the hardware finish. They ("THEY") decided to use the easier to install piece although it looks like crap. No problem. I'll fix this defect like I do so many that I pay top dollar for. The little latch cover can be painted and since it shouldn't rub against anything, I suspect the paint will last many years.....probably longer than the doors. : ) BTW, I've spared you many more significant installation issues such as the doors that that slam shut or open because they were installed so out-of-plumb.


  • justgotabme

    So he told you before installation that there were two choices, but didn't give you the option to choose and you didn't specify which you preferred at that time?

  • Happy Camper

    Nope, justgotabme. I didn't know that Schlage bronze levers are packages with two totally different lever finishes, one of which is disgustingly contrasting. I discovered this after expressing dissatisfaction with the installer. He used the silver because it eliminated chiseling. Think about it. Would anybody want a light brown fender matched to a dark brown car? "Well, after all, they're both brown!" A yellow sock matched to a red one? "After all, they both keep your feet warm." A black pen that writes in red? "It writes, doesn't it."

    Now that my adrenaline has normalized, I'm laughing my head off over it and hope that other homeowners might benefit.


  • palimpsest

    All I can say is that if Schlage includes an easy to hammer in option that is a different color than the color-matched, chisel-in rectangular plate, it's because there are a lot of people who would look at that silver ring and not pay the slightest bit of attention to it or think it was a bad thing, just like the standard mill finished brass plated hinges not being oiled bronze either.

    Lots of people just don't notice. The "normal" is the little hammer in ring and non matching standard off-the-rack hinge. I have clients that would not notice these things unless pointed out and most of those wouldn't be interested in paying extra to rectify it. I had a client once who never noticed that all of but one of her windows were 8 over 8 and one was 6 over 6 (all new, all bought at the same time) until I pointed it out to her.

    So unless you identify yourself as the person who does notice certain things and prefers certain things over others, you are going to get the standard things that most people don't notice but will drive the people who do notice crazy.

  • busybee3

    my schlage deadbolts came with a square and curved option... you would think they would just make the stinkin circle bronze too! strange that they don't.... but since the latch itself is silver, maybe they just figure since it's so little metal they would match that instead and it would be less noticeable with no contrast??

  • Happy Camper

    Thanks so much for your feedback. Do you think that applying bronze magic marker or paint on the shiny steel grommet would work? The only rubbing part of the two-piece unit is one side of the latch.


  • palimpsest

    Honestly, since it's so small and the latch itself is silver, I think it looks better matching the latch. The latch itself could not be in the bronze finish because it would wear right off.

  • Happy Camper

    This little latch grommet has become the epitome of microfocus. Installation of the pseudo-wood door plus mismatched hardware cost $400. Prep and painting will take a minimum of two hours each door. I'd like it to look great. Does the darker grommet look better?


  • Amy Lynn

    Yes, definitely better. The silver mismatch would drive me crazy (at least until I found some other irritating detail to focus on)!

  • justgotabme

    Thanks for clearing up my confusing Happy Camper. Your comment "The installer was forthcoming in telling me that two latch plates came in the box: one was a lazy man's silver cover and the other was an attractive plate designed to match the hardware finish." is what confused me. I looked at it as meaning "planned for or about to happen in the near future". I'm guessing you meant he was honest and open about it, but you didn't state when, he was honest and open about it, therefore I took it that he told you before he started.z


    Since your doors are white, I think the bronze grommet makes it stand out more, where as in silver it's closer to the color of the door. Maybe you should wait until you have guests and see if they notice. Granted most wouldn't mention it, so after they have used a door or two in your home ask if they noticed anything about the new hardware.

  • Happy Camper

    Great response, justgotabme. I plan to follow your advice.


  • justgotabme

    Please come back to let us know what your guests say. I'm very curious.

  • busybee3

    If I kept them with just the little round circle pieces rather than installing a plate, I would just keep them silver-- I don't think they look any better bronze...

    get a white artist's eraser or mr clean pad and erase the little pencil mark the installer left at the center point of the latch tho...

  • palimpsest

    This I would get, but I don't think making the ring bronze gives you much benefit for the effort:


  • happilady

    is the part on the door frame where the latch attaches also silver or is it bronze?

    Personally, I would live with it awhile before spending 2 hours per door changing it. It's very minor.

  • Happy Camper

    In the latest photo (above), the typical, standard, expected square bronze finish faceplate is shown. Some people suggest that cheap silver grommet drive-in grommet is as satisfactory. It's not. Currently, the door handles are bronze. The door edge is totally silver. In what home decorating magazine or decor advice column is such a ill-fitting combination called "okay"? Since my door installers have proved themselves as equivalent to handymen, I cannot trust them to chisel-in the desire bronze plate. Two of my upcoming guests will retch when they see this. One is a realtor with an eye for doing things right. The other is a family friend who has beautifully renovated numerous homes and doesn't believe in "willy nilly".


  • palimpsest

    I am not trying to be argumentative, but the problem is that the cheap silver drive in grommet is what a lot of people consider standard. You can walk into almost any new construction here that is on the market for $500K and the cheap silver drive in grommet is what you get.

    The owner of my practice lives in a house that is worth more than $2M and it has this on "secondary" doors like bathrooms and closets and $12 pocket door hardware.

    You have a higher level of expectation of what "standard" is. Frequenting Houzz and other sites has developed this. That's fine, and I am in complete agreement with you about what sorts of details are important. But what you desire is no longer "standard", its above the standard, at least in my experience, and I look at a lot of real estate and look at details such as this.

    Sometimes I wish sites like Houzz didn't exist, because it takes my already high expectations and makes them higher: we are seeing photos of work that people are particularly proud of, not photos of work that is standard or average-particularly if they show details such as this.


  • busybee3

    it seems every time I have had any work done over the years, I learn a lesson... you can't assume anything. some lessons are harder than others... I have learned I like to be close by to check in on what is being done. I most recently had some tile work done where I thought I had given very specific directions as to tile layout-- I wasn't able to be there and finally was able to get out to the house a week later or so and sure enough, it wasn't done as I had specified. so aggravating!

    it sounds like you weren't around when the doors were done- do you still have all the parts??the good news here is that as long as you still have the plates, you can hire someone(else?) to put them on! simple fix! :) even if you don't, you might be able to just order some plates and the piece that fits onto the plate to hold it secure... (you might want to do this before you have over the guests who might retch if they see the circular pieces were used...:)

  • Happy Camper

    Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone. You are so right about many aspects of my installation, including the harsh reality that yesterday's fundamental standard doesn't exist (nor is it comprehended) today. If I should ever be so unfortunate to need such a job done again, I'll strap myself to the contractor's shoulder and watch his every move. : )


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