Monthly Archives: November 2012

  • Letter Plates : A Buyers Guide

    A letter plate is part of the front door furniture that says a lot about you. They come in various shapes, sizes and finishes and can perform a variety of additional functions.

    Letter plate designs can be specific to a certain period such as Georgian rope edging or the Regency bobble or the Tudor stepped surround, however the most popular style is Victorian classic, plain design. Theseletter plates have a spring flap behind or flush with the frame. For more modern effect the Gravity Flap letter plate came into vogue in the early 1950’s but has now given way to the return of the spring flap in all but a few cases. The various designs of letter plate can then be matched with the other front door ironmongery such as centre door knobs and door knockers.

    facing_the_world letterplate_cutout

    The additional functions can mean a pull handle letter plate which removes the need for a centre door knob, whereas a postal knocker means you do not need a knocker or a door bell. It is not advisable to use a postal knocker to pull a door closed as this can cause the item to fail, especially in winter when the door swells and more force is needed to close the door.

    When choosing a letter plate for a new door, you need to measure the height of the mid-rail on the door. This will indicate the maximum height of letter plate that you can fit. For residential properties we recommend that the maximum width is approximately 305mm. It is also common to look for a letter plate that is capable of taking A4 sized envelopes, something that your postman will appreciate.

    If you want to replace an existing letter plate with one the same or similar size there are a few more factors to consider. You will need the bolt centre measurement from the back of your existing plate, as well as the size of the cut out (aperture).

    There is not a standard for bolt centres so they vary by manufacturer. If you cannot find an exact match, check to see if it is possible to make new bolt holes in your door, although this is not possible in all scenarios. If you are looking to replace your existing letter plate with a larger size the same steps should be undertaken as for a new door. For replacement purposes one manufacturer supplies a letter plate with “adjustable bolt centres”. These plates come in two sizes in stainless brass, satin stainless steel and polished stainless steel finishes.

    There are a number of options for items to go on the back of the letter plate. A security hood provides protection against people fishing for keys through the door. A letter cage collects the mail before it falls to the floor making it easier for those who have trouble bending down to collect their mail, or even to keep the post away from the dog. Finally, a letter tidy simply covers the bolts and cut-out in the door. With these accessories, it is important to select a size that is wider than the bolt centres of your letter plate to make sure you get a good fit.

    Click here to view our entire range of Front Door Hardware.

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