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Old 09-20-2013, 09:24 AM
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Default exterior door knobs on a house

We're swapping out door hardware on all of our interior and exterior doors at the house, and I noticed that all the outside door hardware is knobs instead of levers (which is what I have on the inside). The front door has a typical thumb lever entry with lower handle on the outside, and with a lever on the inside. The garage and back doors have round knobs on the outside and levers on the inside.

So is using round knobs on exterior access doors some sort of building code, or just a measure home builders take to reduce the likelihood than an animal can open a door?
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:36 AM
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There is no code requirement for handles themselves AFAIK. Some municipalities require unimpeded egress per IBC 311 (if adopted and not amended). IOW locks that do not require keys (e.g. double keyed dead bolts) or special treatment to exit. The reason you have the door knobs you do is likely they were cheap when the builder bought 10,000 of them. Could also be that the inside handles were not available in a finish that would last on the exterior.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:41 AM
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That's correct. If you were building a new home, you would be required to have locks that can be unlocked from the inside with no key. As far as the knob or thumb, IIRC the only time that comes into play is when building multiple units, such as an apartment, where one unit in the complex has to be handicap accessible. For your own personal home, it doesn't matter which one you choose, but a good rule of thumb is not to use a double sided keyed deadbolt, even if you leave the key in it. I would suck to burn up in a fire because you broke the key in a panic trying to get out.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:01 AM
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It's ironic that if you talk to the cops about reducing crime one of the things they recommend is using double keyed dead bolts, particularly if there is glass in or next to the door. We had steel security doors made for our old house in Denver, which are nice because they can be locked with the entry door open and are actually somewhat secure. Having a lever deadbolt on those makes no sense as they would be useless.

BTW, the IBC only requires one door like this but it cannot be one that leads to the garage.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:06 AM
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I have three of those security gates. Two of them have the keyed lock on both sides, but the third has the thumb latch. There's no way you could get your hand around it to unlock it from the outside, but the other two are more open. As much as I hate the look of them, they are pretty handy for when we go out of town.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:31 AM
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Interesting. Good food for thought.

The round knobs are the exception rather than the rule (I have about 40 levers and just 3 knobs, and all the knobbed doors have a lever on the interior side), and they are all the same crappy, shiny brass finish. Doesn't sound like they had to do it that way... My neighbor owns a house building company, so maybe I'll ask him what his folks do.

I hadn't considered the double-keyed dead bolt option. The front door has a full length glass panel next to it, so maybe this is a good idea. We have two other exterior doors with a regular hand-switched dead bolt if we needed to run out of our burning house.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:42 AM
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Could also be that the round knob was the only way to get a keyed handle.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:29 AM
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My house was broken into in 1997, and the goobers tossed a rock through the door window and unlocked the deadbolt, to gain entry. I installed double-key deadbolts, and leave keys in them at all times when we're home, but remove and hide the keys when we leave the house. This way, the slimebags have to hustle all the stolen goods through a window, if they cannot leave through the door. Slows them down and makes it a lot more obvious. The use of double-key deadbolts does require that you incur more risk of, shall we say, an egress failure in an emergency. I also replaced my glass-fronted door with a fanlight window style that cannot be reached-through, if broken.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:59 PM
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I think that's an acceptable risk.. if your house is really on fire you'll find a way out. Same goes for basement window wells, IMO- 3' egress is nice and all, but if there's a pending fire or flood behind you I suspect you could slither through just about anything.

Matt, you have 40 exterior levers? Holy cow... does that include the in-law suite and servants quarters? or just the main lodge?
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:06 PM
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The basement window is more about height and small kids being able to climb up to them than it is about the size of the opening itself.
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