Door handles serve a more significant purpose than providing access to another room; they also contribute to safety. In many situations, a door with a handle that is too high or too low can pose a safety risk. Therefore, what is the accepted height range for standard door handles?
Building codes dictate that standard door handles should be positioned between 34”- 48” above the floor. However, for areas that lead to swimming pools, the acceptable range is higher, from 48”-54”, to prevent the risk of drowning. International Building Code has standardized door handle height to meet ADA accessibility requirements.
For safety and ease of use, doorknob height standards have been established. Experts commonly place door handles at a neutral height of 36” from the ground. Let’s delve into the factors that determine the standard door handle height.
Standard Door Handle Height
Professionals typically install door handles at the height of 36” from the ground, while the accepted height range according to building codes is 34”-48”. This range is preferred since it is accessible to both children and adults. Codes mandate a handle height range of 48”-54” for doors leading to pool areas.
The rule requiring door handles leading to a pool area to be installed at the height of 48”-54” exists to safeguard children and minimize the risk of unsupervised entry into the pool area. To be considered ADA-compliant, doorknobs must be located within the 34”-48” height range. However, exceptions may apply for doors intended for children in schools or those leading to pool areas.
Are All Doorknobs the Same Height?
While the International Building Code mandates a standard door handle height range of 34”-48”, not all doorknobs comply with this rule. The Code uses scientific data to set a height range that accommodates the majority of individuals. It is essential to be aware of exceptions to this range.
To ensure the door is accessible and avoid penalties, it is recommended to adhere to the accepted door handle height range. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this standard. Let’s consider some examples of these exceptions to the standard door handle height.
Shorter Handles In Schools
To enable easy access for children during emergencies, it is permissible to install shorter door handles in schools. This measure guarantees that young students can open doors swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency. There is no fixed standard door handle height for schools that cater to younger children.
The safety of children around swimming pools and hot tubs is a primary concern. For this reason, the standard door handle height for pool areas is higher, ranging from 48”-54”. Door handles in areas leading to swimming pools are placed at a greater height to prevent children from wandering into them.
The height range for door handles leading to pools is applicable to both indoor and outdoor pools. It is recommended to install high door handles, even for gates in your yard, if there is a swimming pool or hot tub on the property.
ADA Door Handle Height
The door handle height range of 34”-48” is endorsed by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). It is mandatory to comply with the ADA law; otherwise, you may not pass an inspection. The standard door handle height is considered to be easily accessible by many people with mobility issues. Door handles that are installed too high may restrict access to individuals who use wheelchairs.
The United Kingdom and Australia have their own standard for doorknob height, which is between 35.5 to 41.5 inches above the floor. This means that travelers from other countries may notice a significant difference in doorknob height. Nonetheless, this standard still falls within the range established by the International Building Code.
Guidelines For Horizontal Door Handle Placement
While it would be unusual to find a door with a doorknob in the middle of it, there is no established international standard for where the doorknob should be located. Guidelines for doorknob placement can vary by state or even by city.
In most cases, doorknobs or handles are installed on the right-hand side of the door when facing the direction in that it opens. It is generally recommended to place the doorknob at least three inches away from the edge of the door. However, if you have a unique type of door handle, such as a push handle, you may need to adjust the placement accordingly.
Where Can You Find Regulations For Doorknob Heights?
Professionals who install doorknobs should generally know what they are doing. However, it is still advisable to check your building codes by asking your local municipal office, HOA, or HUD center. Government entities can inform you of the guidelines you need to comply with.
It is essential to note that pool doors have very different guidelines than regular doors. People making doors for indoor pools or commercial settings should inform officials so that they can provide the correct information.
Door Handle Placement
The exact positioning of your door handles and knobs is not predetermined by anything other than the International Building Code.
Therefore, it is ultimately up to your discretion to decide where to place your knob.
To make an informed decision about the placement of your doorknob, the following tips may be helpful.
The Size Of The Door Matters
Placing the doorknob at the height of 40 inches on an 80-inch door creates a more balanced appearance.
To achieve a symmetrical look, positioning the doorknob at the vertical center of a door can be effective, especially for taller doors such as barn doors and French doors.
Match Your Door Heights
- When feasible, aim to have consistent door heights throughout your home and keep them within 1/2 inch of each other for optimal results.
- Though it may appear excessive, maintaining uniform door heights is a straightforward approach to creating a more cohesive atmosphere in your home.
Keep The Reason In Mind
The height of a door may differ based on its purpose; for instance, a door leading to a janitorial closet in a school would not require the same height as one leading to a classroom.
For rooms that demand high security, such as a recording studio, it may be necessary to place the doorknob higher up on the door, along with a higher lock, as this makes it more difficult to break in by kicking the door.
No Placement Requirements For Locks
You have the freedom to decide the placement of your locks in relation to your doorknob. Typically, deadbolts are installed just above the knob, whereas hook latches and sliding latches are situated even higher near the top of the door. However, unique types of locks may require varying positions.
Sliding Handles Should Be Waist To Hip Height
To ensure that your barn doors can be easily opened and closed, it’s recommended to position the sliding handles at hip to waist height. This is because of ergonomic principles that make it more comfortable and convenient to operate the doors from that level. Therefore, keeping the handles at this height is the most effective way to ensure smooth functionality.
How to Measure Door Handle Height
Determining the height of a doorknob is a straightforward process. However, it can be a bit more challenging if you have a long bar handle.
The most effective way to measure the height of a long bar handle is to assume that you are measuring from the center of its length. For example, if the handle is 10 inches long, the height would be five inches from the bottom of the handle. By measuring the handle’s height correctly, you can ensure that it’s installed in the most comfortable and functional position.
Choosing The Right Door Handle For Your Door’s Height
When it comes to selecting a door handle, it’s important to consider its length in relation to the height of your door. In this case, a doorknob is typically a safe and reliable choice.
If you have a larger door, it’s essential to choose a handle with a length that is proportional to the door’s size. One way to determine this is by “feeling it out,” which means using your intuition and sense of what feels right to select a handle that is appropriate for the door’s height. This will help ensure that the handle is functional and visually appealing.
Where Should You Place Your Deadbolt?
There is no clear consensus on the best placement for deadbolts and electronic locks on a door. While traditional deadbolts are often installed two inches above the doorknob, newer electronic locks, like smart locks, are typically positioned below the door handle.
A general guideline for deadbolt placement is to position it at the 44-inch level on the door. However, it’s also acceptable to place it anywhere between 42 to 46 inches above the floor. This range provides some flexibility in selecting the most suitable location for the deadbolt based on personal preference and specific door characteristics.