We have a couple different exterior door hardware sets seen throughout our home and outdoor areas. As we’ve been updating our interior doors in the hall recently, my most asked source question these past few months have been door hardware inquires. Today, I wanted to compare the two exterior sets we have and which direction we’ll be moving toward as we continue along with our renovation. I’m breaking down the functionality, aesthetic, ease of install, durability, finish, and price of each. Let’s compare the Carré exterior door set by Grandeur (seen on our front doors) with Emtek’s Melrose exterior door set (seen on our living room / patio doors)…
Much like millwork, doors & hardware make a big impact in terms of functionality & aesthetics in a home. We’ve slowly been swapping our hollow core doors for solid core doors- with a classic panel style. They look so much better! As we update the doors, we are also adding new hardware. Ideally, I’d like to keep the hardware brand consistent throughout our entire house as we move forward. As an interior designer, and in an effort to practice what I preach, I wanted to compare which exterior set I prefer and recommend (the one we’ll keep using from here on out). First, here’s how we ended up with two varying styles in the first place…
Current Exterior Hardware In My Home
Typically, I’d recommend sticking with the same brand hardware throughout your entire home for a cohesive look. I do like to mix up the hardware shape & size, but I’m all for sticking with the same finish, brand, or overall style. Some sort of common design thread to provide consistency within spaces throughout a house is good. That said- how exactly did I end up with two different exterior handle sets here at home?
The short answer… The One Room Challenge I participated in, a few years ago. To be a featured designer in the One Room Challenge, I was contractually obligated to choose products from the “approved design sponsor” list (one reason I stopped participating). Given the hurried timeframe, sponsor list, and my need for hardware- I found one approved hardware source…. Emtek. I’d heard great things about their door hardware from designer friends, and visually- their beautiful Melrose set fit my aesthetic. That’s the door hardware you’re accustomed to seeing in my formal living room…
I hadn’t purchased door hardware for other exterior doors at that point, but we had begun replacing a few interior doors- using Grandeur’s Carré interior line, which I loved and already knew was great quality, having used their hardware in our previous home. Moving forward with our formal living room construction and The One Room Challenge, I figured I’d give Emtek a chance for this project. Shortly after, we replaced our front doors and ended up using the Carré entry set… hence, how we ended up with two different exterior brands and finished here at home.
This is what I was looking for in an entry hardware set, and both brands met my criteria. Both sets were also installed in 2019, which has given me a good sense of how they’re each aging.
Exterior Hardware Criteria
When selecting exterior (and interior) hardware, I’m always looking for the following:
- High quality, heavy hardware
- Timeless aesthetic
- Functional (easy to lock, etc)
- A nice classic finish- brass can be really tricky
- Durable, age or patina nicely over time
- Made & assembled here in the US
Emtek Exterior Hardware
First, I wanted to review the Emtek exterior door hardware. These actually appear twice in our exterior spaces… on the living room / patio doors, as well as on our shed. This is my first time installing or having Emtek hardware in any of our homes, so it has been an interesting comparison.
I really love the weight, size, and stacked backplate style of this set. It’s good quality, heavy hardware. The price is also on the lower end for a nice entry hardware set. Good door hardware isn’t cheap, if you hadn’t already noticed. This is what they look like from the exterior…
Emmett installed this hardware pretty easily, but had to do some additional routing. The heavy elongated exterior plates help add weight to the door, so if you have solid core doors- this is a fantastic way to make them feel higher-end. This is what they look like from the interior…
As you can tell, a few years in- this hardware is starting to show wear. Nothing too terrible, but I’ve noticed scratching, etching, and some of the finish beginning to chip- which is most concerning. Here’s a better look at the patina.. see the scratching? To be fair- these are probably our most used doors in the house. I don’t mind the patina, but the tiny chips are worrisome.
- Style – Transitional / Modern
- Price – $430
- Material – Brass
- Finish – Antique Brass
- Height – 18.5″ tall
- Ease of Installation – Medium Difficulty
- Made / Assembled – in Los Angeles, CA
- Durability – 7/10
- Functionality – 10/10
Grandeur Exterior Hardware
Next, let’s chat about the Grandeur Carré exterior door hardware. If you’ve heard of Nostalgic Warehouse, they’re cut from the same cloth (same parent company). I’d highly recommend both of these brands, based on my personal experience… having had them in all of our homes. I first discovered them when searching for historic looking hardware for our home that was built in the early 1900’s. The only Grandeur exterior set we have as of now- is on our front entry doors, most recently seen in my fall home tour.
Much like the Emtek set, this set is similar in size. It’s half an inch taller, measuring 19″. It’s also very heavy and is made of solid brass. From the exterior, this is what the set looks like…
It definitely has a more traditional shape and I love the softer handle profile. This set feels very elegant and is a nice contrast to our very visually sharp paneled doors.
Super close up… you can tell these are aging and wearing really well, with minimal scratching and zero chipping. Granted, the front doors are probably used a bit less than our patio doors, but they’re holding up beautifully. From the interior, the set looks like this..
- Style – Traditional
- Price – $525
- Material – Brass (solid core)
- Finish – Vintage Brass
- Height – 19″ tall
- Ease of Installation – Easy
- Made / Assembled – in Denver, CO
- Durability – 9/10
- Functionality – 10/10
Comparison & My Hardware Preference
Both hardware sets are very comparable… in price, aesthetic, size, weight, and finish. For me, it boils down to the brass color, style, and durability. I prefer the Grandeur vintage brass finish to Emtek’s antique brass finish. I think it looks less yellow and has a more convincing aged patina- which makes it feel higher-end and timeless.
In regards to aesthetic, I think the selection totally depends on the home. Given we have a colonial home and a more traditional aesthetic, the Grandeur hardware stylistically is a better fit. It feels classic and helps to soften our very symmetrical, boxy house.
Lastly, the durability is quite different in the two sets, and given the price of nice door hardware, I expect it to last. The Grandeur set is holding up far better than both of our Emtek sets combined. My goal is always to invest in permanent fixtures for our home that will withstand the test of time, and I feel like the Grandeur hardware has better longevity.
As we continue to replace both interior and exterior doors, we’ll continue using this style from Grandeur, pictured below. It’s elegant, holds up, looks gorgeous with our new door style, and has been convenient to install. For me, it’s worth the price. I’d rather save on something else.
I saved them in this blog post!
Our front doors were custom order from Lowe’s. Check out this blog post for all the details and a peek at the installation process.
I’m always willing to spend more money on home fixtures that make a big impact and will be a lasting part of the home- they set the stage for everything else… I’d rather save on decor & furnishings and splurge on things like hardware, lighting, tile, or stone.
We used their brass hammered knobs in our previous home and they were gorgeous! I loved that style.
I just enjoy adding emphasis to our gorgeous doors and hardware. Those little moments feel special to me and it’s just another decorative touch. I like textiles & tassels, so I’m always scattering them throughout our house, ha.
While I don’t have plans to replace our Emtek hardware at the moment, someday- I’d certainly like to make the swap, so the hardware throughout our home is all consistent.
I know this was a lengthy post, but I’ve had a lot of hardware questions lately and thought this side-by-side comparison may be useful… especially since it’s a bigger investment. As always, let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below! I hope this post was a helpful one, if you find yourself searching for exterior hardware. The interior designer in me is very pleased with the aesthetic and timeless brass finish of our Carré hardware, while Emmett has been happy with the ease of install and durability.
I’m going to drop some more brass exterior hardware sets below, if you’d like to compare prices (hover) or see some alternative options. Have an amazing weekend ahead, friends! Emmett & I are planning to work on the entryway and basement, then I’m going to see Taylor Tomlinson with my girlfriends for a night out… a little work and a little fun is my favorite kind of weekend. Have a good one!