How High Should Door Handles And Knobs Be?

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Building a new home is an exciting, strenuous venture with many decisions to be made, including how high the door handles and knobs on the doors will be. This seems like it should be simple, but it could actually be a difficult question to answer. We’ve done the research to give you some guidance in this area.

Door handles and knobs should be no less than 34 inches from the flooring or ground and no higher than 48 inches from the flooring or ground. Deciding the standard height in your home depends on your specific needs. 

So now you have a general range of how high you should place your door handles or knobs, but choosing a specific height depends on your desires and needs. In this guide, we’ll discuss the topic in greater detail. Keep reading to learn more.

Handyman pushes the door knob spindle through the face bore and the latch assembly. How High Should Door Handles And Knobs Be

Considerations For Door Handle Height

Building Codes

There is a standard for hardware height stated in the International Building Code, stating that knobs and handles should be placed at a minimum of 34 inches in height from the top layer of flooring and a maximum of 48 inches in height from the top layer of flooring.

Many contractors set their standard in building at 36 inches from the floor, which is comfortable for most people.

Close-up hand holding door knob, opening door slightly

However, a few exceptions are set forth by the International Building Code for certain situations. One such exception may be a door that immediately leads out to a pool area.

The knob or handle on this door should be higher, even up to 54 inches high above the flooring for children’s protection.  

While the International Building Code is not binding for private homes, you could have a municipal building code. Local or state offices should always be contacted to see if you must meet standards when building or remodeling.

Wheelchair Accessibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act states that any range, from 34 inches to 48 inches from the top layer of flooring, is acceptable for those with disabilities.

If someone who is wheelchair-bound lives in the home, or perhaps frequent as a visitor, we would suggest choosing a height around the minimum of 34 inches. 

This is because an adult’s lap typically rises to only 27 inches from the floor.

It is suggested that a doorknob or handle height should be as close as possible to the hip of the individual in the wheelchair for comfort; it could be quite cumbersome to have to reach up to open a high door handle. 

Children In The Home

There may be a child in the home who is wheelchair or motor chair-bound. In this case, they will certainly need doorknob heights on the lower end to move around the home independently.

Even for children who do not have special needs, the doorknobs should be placed quite low so that they can open and shut doors on their own. There may be exceptions. 

For example, if a parent would like to keep their small child from entering a room or closet where the sump pump or water heater is, they may choose to place the doorknob higher.

It could also be useful when considering the entrance to a garage or shop with dangerous tools. Placing the knob higher would certainly help prevent the child from entering. 

The Inhabitant’s Height

The average height of men in the United States is 5’9″, while the average height of women is 5’4″. Of course, this largely depends on genetics and heredity, and we just don’t all fit the mold. Some are taller, and some are shorter. 

If you are building or remodeling your own home, it is understandable that you’d desire every detail to fit personal needs. Doorknobs and handles are comfortable to use when they have a rise that hits at the hip area.

However, for someone smaller or larger than the average, the typical height of a doorknob may not be comfortable at all.

We recommend a rise of 40 to 48 inches from the floor when installing doorknobs or handles for those who are tall. We recommend staying on the lower side and placing handles 34 to 40 inches from the floor for those who are short.

How Do I Know What Size Door Handle I Need?

This is largely dependent on the style and design you are trying to achieve. For internal doors, most doorknobs and handles are interchangeable when it comes to functionality.

The only real question you need to ask is whether the style that catches your eye matches the rest of the home’s decor. 

For exterior doors, there may be considerations about the size that include design and functionality. For example, some exterior doors can be quite heavy, and a larger handle may be easier to grasp and pull or push. 

However, also look at the size and style of the exterior door or doors. A large, grand entrance may require larger handles, such as D-pull handles. On the other hand, a quaint entrance may only require a small flush pull or knob.

Take a look at this D-pull handle set on Amazon.

Are Doorknobs A Standard Size?

There are two standards for doorknob diameters. These are 2.75 inches in diameter and 2.375 inches in diameter. Doorknobs are also created to fit a range of door widths. This range is 1.375 to 1.75 inches thick.

You may measure the diameter of your doorknob opening and door thickness for peace of mind. However, understand that many doorknobs are made to be adjustable and fit many doorknob openings and doors.

Is It Easy To Replace Doorknobs?

Replacing a doorknob is one of the easier home improvement projects to complete. All that’s needed is a Phillips screwdriver and some know-how.

Check out this magnetic screwdriver set on Amazon.

The two doorknobs and latching mechanism are all part of an interlocking system, held in place by screws. Remove the screws on the latching mechanism first.

Then, keeping the latching mechanism in place, remove the screws from the doorknob. Pull apart and remove the doorknobs. Finally, slide the latching mechanism from the door.

Replacing the doorknob is simply this process in reverse. Place the latching mechanism in the door jamb first. Then place the doorknobs in place, securing them with the screws. Lastly, put the screws in place on the latching mechanism.

Door installation, worker Installs door knob, woodworker hands close-up.

Can You Replace A Door Handle Without Replacing The Lock?

This is possible, but only if the lock and new door handle are compatible. Some locks are universal and will match up with most standard door handles.

A simple rule of thumb could be to choose a door handle that is the same brand and style as the one before it. This significantly boosts the chances that the replacement will be compatible with the old lock.

Should Doorknobs Match Throughout The House?

Doorknobs do not have to match exactly throughout the whole house, but we do recommend choosing a standard finish for the hardware in your home. Mixing finishes may cause unpleasant clashing.

This could be black, bronze, nickel, or gold, depending on your style. Gold and bronze go quite well with traditional and rustic themes, while black and nickel match the modern and chic decor.

Are Door Handles Reversible?

Both door handles and knobs are generally reversible if necessary. All that’s needed is to remove the handles or knobs, switch them to opposite sides of the door and reattach them using the screws.

Generally, the latch mechanism does not need to be removed to complete this process.

Installing doorknob, prepares door for knob and dead bolt, drilling bore holes through door using hole saw drill bit. How High Should Door Handles And Knobs Be

In Closing

Choosing the correct doorknob or handle height can be confusing. The standard range is 34 to 48 inches from the ground or flooring, but the specific measurement depends on those who will be living in the home.

Building codes, wheelchair accessibility, children in the home, and the inhabitants’ heights are all aspects to be considered. Most important, though, is that you build or remodel your home in a way that will be comfortable and functional for you!

Want to learn more about home building and standards? Visit these related posts:

How Wide Should A Hallway Be?

How Wide Should A Staircase Be [By Type Of Staircase]?

How High Should Grab Bars Be Installed In A Shower?

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