What are door push plates and kick plates?
A door push plate is a metal (or vinyl) plate affixed to a hinged door at average handle height that helps to indicate which way the door needs to be opened (i.e. in a forwards direction when facing the push plate).
A door kick plate is a thin sheet of metal (usually stainless steel) or vinyl located across the bottom of the door and is quite large, taking up nearly all of the bottom third of the door. The plate may or may not have tread moulded into it. The idea behind a kick plate is to be able to open a door using your foot or shoe when your hands are full, without making the door too dirty or damaging it.
How do push plates and kick plates work?
A push plate is as simple as it gets – push on the door to open it. Kick plates are also fairly self-explanatory; kicking them (or rather, pushing them with your foot) will open the door.
Where are push plates and kick plates used?
Push plates are often used with pull handles, one of each on opposite sides of the door according to which way it swings. These are not often found in homes, but are very common in public places. Kick plates see a lot of use in areas where doors need to be opened quickly and often without hands such as hospitals or restaurants.
In homes, push and kick plates may be used in areas leading off from kitchens or laundries. Where wheelchair access is required, metal kick plates are often used to help prevent accidental damage to the doors by wheelchairs.
How should push plates and kick plates be installed?
Push plates are usually bolted to the door in the same position as a standard door handle and often on the opposite side of a pull handle. Kick plates are typically glued first and then screwed onto the door to keep them in place.
Are there any variations?
As push plates and pull handles are often sold as a pair, you should make sure that you buy a matching set if you’re planning to have these in your home. Kick plates may also have tread on them - this is more of a practical consideration though, as treaded plates will sustain more wear and tear while still looking good, as a flat metal surface will show scratches more easily.