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tired (but good quality) doorknobs? replate instead of replace

Home Stager with a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing

I recently staged a contemporary 80's home that had a fabulous doorknob & door knocker.  The only problem was that they were pitted and worn.  They're by Baldwin and the knob was a mortise lock - which if you know these, involves lots of parts and space on the interior of the door.  My initial thought was to replace them, which is what I usually do, but these were so nice and the knocker was just amazing - heavy and really cool.  So instead, I took them in for replating.  WOW.  I had them plated in brushed nickel.  They look amazing.  Brand new and so luxe I couldn't believe it.  Plus both pieces were done for $170.  You couldn't even buy new ones of this quality for that price.  Plus we saved a bundle not have to completely re-do the inside of the door to suit a lesser door knob.

In Nashville, TN we used Leonard Plating on 4th Ave.  The results were spectacular although it did take 3 days longer to finish than they originally said.  Otherwise, very pleased.  And the homeowners were thrilled, as was I.  If you want to see this house, visit www.realtracs.com and use MLS# 1082275.

Now, I've posted many a time about how the front entry can make the difference in someone having a great impression of a home.  In this case, we fixed the trim, and painted the front door my new fave door color of French Roast by Sherwin Williams.  Then put back the amazing hardware.

Check out the before & after:

door knob beforedoor knocker beforedoor knob afterdoor knocker after

Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
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I love this idea, as sometimes when we upgrade door hardware, we run into problems with the door's receiving holes in the jamb. This addresses that problem, and $170 is a great price compared to new, especially when you consider the cost of a new , upgraded knocker, which runs about $50.00 in and of itself.

Thanks for posting about it - it will certainly come in handy for us!!!!


May 21, 2009 09:28 AM
Liz Jenkins
a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing - Franklin, TN

The receiving holes and the space on the interior was our primary issue, along with the fact that these were really nice pieces except for the finish.  The price for both of them was great.  Don't know what it would be around your neck of the woods but I'd just google "metal plating" and your city and state.kang door afterHere's a photo of the finished door.

May 21, 2009 10:13 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

This is a great idea, I hadn't thought of.  I understand taking the knocker in, but how do you take the door knob and lock away from an exterior door?  You must have used a temporary one in it's place?

May 22, 2009 12:24 AM

This particular client already had a safety latch (kind of like the kind you see on hotel rooms) to keep her young children in the home if the door was left unlocked so we left that bolted shut.  If that hadn't been there, we would have installed a temporary chain latch situation.  They just used the garage entry instead of the front door.  We taped off the openings while it was gone.  It took about a week to get it done.  Good point - thanks!  Should have mentioned that part!  liz

May 22, 2009 01:18 AM
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
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Two weeks ago we had to rehab some solid coffered cypress doors (Two separate front doors, ever seen that? It's so confusing!). We had to do the whole 9 yards - remove hardware, sand, stain, varnish and scuff, varnish and scuff, varnish and scuff again, and then add new hardware. It took an entire week. We put up 3/4 inch plywood over the doors and screwed them to the jamb. Poor guy couldn't use the front of his house all that time.

We used some of that wierd plywood with all the huge wood chips in it. We laughed and said, well, the client is safe in there, as long as an intruder doesn't think to take a garden hose to that plywood! I would crumble like a wet graham cracker.

Doors are NEVER easy. But they are so important. These babies were easily $1400 doors each if we would have just gone out and bought new ones, but we rehabbed them for about $300 + labor and some inconvenience for the client.

But it was worth it. They are stunning.


May 22, 2009 11:47 AM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

I've done similair with the house numbers and mail boxes except that I've spray painted them.

They turned out great.

Your price range would have been to high for a $130K house.


May 22, 2009 03:08 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Very nice fix for a quality door.  When you have good pieces to start with, it just makes sense.

May 22, 2009 06:32 PM
Liz Jenkins
a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing - Franklin, TN

Virginia - I agree that spray painting is an excellent choice for house numbers, mail boxes and also metal railings, brass fireplace surrounds (using proper paint of course), plus light fixtures in many cases.  For door knobs - I'd rather replace or replate.  Normally I replace but in this case, and at this price point ($585K), the quality of the knobs as Terrylynn pointed out, replating made a lot of sense.  Most of the time the doorknobs aren't of that great quality to begin with.  Personally I fell in love with the way cool door knocker. 

A fab handyman that I use regularly turned me on to the replating - hadn't really thought of it before but now I keep it in mind when I come across this situation. 

May 23, 2009 03:16 AM
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Hi Liz,

While your plating solution is not exactly cheap, as Virginia mentioned, I can still see it would save the client money, potentially quite a lot of money.

Here's the breakdown:

For the doors I mentioned above, we spent $150 per door on the cheapest brushed nickel set they had at Lowe's (on sale, off brand) , and we had beau-coup problems with the receiving holes in the jamb. We also spent $120 for a regular knob+deadbolt for two other service doors. All on sale.

The house is going to be listed at $179,000. But those were the cheapest we could find in brushed nickel on a local level. Not to mention we added kickplates to the service doors  ($20 each since the owner is in a wheelchair and we didn't want to nick the new doors). So we had to spend over $600 just on the hardware.

Shlage or Qwikset, both quality manufacturers, started at over $180 per set, and they would not have been brushed nickel for that price, which is what we needed. The ones we wanted were $239! I have to say, I hate buying cheap locks. I think it is SO IMPORTANT to have the best quality door locks possible. Safety should be the most important factor, not looks or price. But reality dictates the outcome, and the look is imperative to selling.

The client had perfectly functional brass, but they were older tarnished press-lever knobs paired with much shinier but still unsightly brass deadbolts. I can't help but wonder if the plating would have saved him money. I know it  have saved him about $260 in labor - it was an all-day affair to install the hardware on all 4 doors properly and adjust the jambs.

So I believe the overall financial impact would have been less expense had I read this blog two weeks earlier, by hundreds of dollars. I 'm sure it depends on the exact circumstances, but I can see very few options for updating door hardware for less than the local big box store can offer. If plating was $170 for both a knob set, backplate, and knocker, it's beating the pants off of $180 for the box of new stuff, when you factor in the door jamb issues and costs it circumvents.


May 23, 2009 04:36 AM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Very good information and nice post and I love this paint choice!  Gorgeous, rich color!

May 23, 2009 04:54 AM
Liz Jenkins
a fresh space :: home staging & thoughtful organizing - Franklin, TN

Michelle - fabulous difference on your before & after.  I do think this would have been a great option.  Another one is a local company that sells on line discount door hardware:  www.everything-doors.com

I've used them and the quality is good - especially for resale.  Just a suggestions.

Your points about safety are excellent also, but spot on regarding appearance.  Whatever the price point of the home, if the front entry doesn't look great - it tarnishes the effect of the entire home.

May 23, 2009 04:54 AM
Martin Webb

Hi all if anyone is in the UK or Europe i found a company that does replating and restoration of door hardware and furniture:


Tel +44 01233 660879



They did a brilliant job on my handles and hinges and collected and delivered them in less than 2 weeks

well worth a try and much better than replacing with new, you cant buy handles like you could 10 years ago!

Mar 27, 2011 02:00 AM