If your home is your castle, why not make a royal statement with a new exterior door and a stylish hardware upgrade? Canadians have three choices when it comes to exterior door materials: steel, fibreglass or wood. The top seller, steel, comes in an extensive range of styles and is relatively inexpensive. For its part, fibreglass can be painted or stained and is often a better choice in humid climates because it does not rust. Wood, although it requires more maintenance, is often chosen where a traditional appearance and maximum curb appeal are required.

Among the hot front door trends for 2016 are vibrant hues, from red to blue to golden yellow. “Black has been a bold, yet classic, choice for a number of years, but now people are starting to let their home’s personality shine through,” said Laura Fisher, Director of Marketing at JELD-WEN Canada. She added that no matter what type of door is selected, homeowners are incorporating lots of glass to create bright, airy front entrances.

Doorware by Design

Once you’ve settled on a new door, it’s time to choose complementary hardware. Today, there is more choice than ever before when it comes to lock sets and “doorware.” From square rosettes to keyless access to smart home compatibility, homeowners will soon realize that choosing the door itself is only the first step.

“Nobody wants a key anymore,” said Jonathan Bremer, National Account Manager with Allegion Canada, the maker of Schlage locks. “The biggest craze right now is electronics. The market for electronics is growing by over 25 per cent, with the majority in exterior door applications.” Schlage sells a full range of residential grip sets for exterior doors as well as knobs, levers and dead bolts. Bremer said technology—specifically home automation—is driving the latest innovations in locks.

“Our Schlage Connect touchscreen deadbolt will tie into a hub so that every time your kids walk in the door, you will get an email saying they’re home,” he explained. “You can tie a camera into it too. We have two different platforms, WiFi and Bluetooth based.” Although consumers are demanding the latest technology, they’re also concerned about looks. Trends in decorative hardware include a shift from typical round rosette plates to more contemporary square-shaped designs. Exterior doorware finishes closely mirror interior decorating trends.

Bremer said satin nickel leads the market by a wide margin, representing over 40 per cent of Schlage sales. Aged bronze and satin chrome are also popular, with matte black being the fastest-growing finish. While looks and technology are important, security is the main reason we have locks on our doors.

For contractors advising their customers on lock sets, Bremer said quality is paramount. All Schlage mechanical deadbolts and Schlage Connect touchscreen deadbolts meet Grade 1 industry testing criteria developed by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Grade 1 is the highest quality rating on a progressive testing scale. Another important consideration is ease of installation. “When you put a Schlage lock together, everything fits,” explained Bremer. “We have an adjustable through bolt on the bottom; so where it gets attached to the door, there is a screw on a rail system that slides down an inch and a half. There’s a better chance with our locksets that you won’t have to drill another hole.”

Among the hot front door trends for 2016 are vibrant hues, from red to blue to golden yellow.

Locking In On Trends

Weiser has been selling locks in Canada for 110 years. Steve Kolobaric, the company’s Marketing Manager, agreed that contractors should focus on installing quality materials. “They need to convey to their clients that good quality materials are actually an investment,” said Kolobaric. “First, ask them what style they envision. Find out their price point and security needs, and walk them through the different Grade scales.”

Over at Weiser, satin nickel is also the number one finish. “Black is the next hot thing,” confirmed Kolobaric. “I would say we’ve been seeing a growing trend; but in the last six to nine months, it seems everyone wants black.”

Weiser, too, offers a variety of other finishes, including brass, antique brass, and rustic finishes. “The muted soft gold may be making a comeback,” said Kolobaric, noting that Weiser “is very in tune with what the designers want.”

For homeowners who want a more modern look, the company also offers lock sets with square rosettes. Kolobaric said some people are installing black hardware on the outside of the door, while opting for a silver finish on the inside.

And, speaking of trends, technology is driving product development at Weiser, too. “People are really embracing keyless technology,” noted Kolobaric. “Having an extension of your smartphone on your door, with a keypad, is a no brainer.” He added that Weiser was the first company to introduce an affordable residential keypad lock in 1996. Today, its Kevo product allows users to walk up to their door and simply touch the deadbolt. The lock finds the key on the homeowner’s smartphone using Bluetooth technology. If the phone is lost, users can go online to disable their electronic house key. About six years ago, Weiser introduced a fingerprint reader, but Kolobaric said the biometrics technology just wasn’t easy enough for consumers to use. The model was discontinued, but he added that, “If the technology presents itself again, we will continue to introduce it to the market.

Technology — specifically home automation — is driving the latest innovations in locks.

Weiser has been a leader in introducing new and innovative technologies to consumers at a price they can afford.” Connectivity solutions devised by Weiser include HomeConnect — a lock that talks to the security panel of the Rogers home monitoring system, allowing for remote operations. Contractors who need to re-key locks will appreciate Weiser’s Smart-Key technology, which is standard on every product. “It takes just minutes to use a physical key to re-key all the locks in a home,” explained Kolobaric. “Within the cylinder, there is a design feature that lets it learn the pattern of a new key.”

For homeowners looking to equip their castles with a grand new entrance, top quality products are a must. New exterior doors represent a significant investment that can change the look of a home, and choosing the right doorware isn’t just about security — it’s also the crowning glory.