Are Kick Plates In Style?
Kick plates are not in style. While their primary purpose is to shield doors from material abrasion caused by exposure and friction with various elements, this protection is often redundant. Modern wooden doors are treated with layers of resin, enhancing their resistance.
Kick plates, once a staple in many homes and commercial spaces, have seen a decline in popularity in contemporary residential design.
How Kick Plates WERE In Style
Not long ago, kick plates were in style. However, with the advent of minimalism, there’s been a shift towards eliminating non-functional artifacts and forgoing accent pieces in both design and architecture.
In contemporary design (roughly speaking, clearly different from minimalism), designers intentionally highlight certain elements to draw attention and create a unique visual narrative. This approach is about embracing and showcasing design components rather than blending or hiding them.
For that contemporary, eclectic design, the kick plate should have the same colors as the doorknob and contrast with the rest of the door.
By highlighting the kick plate, for example, the contemporary designer might be nodding to the industrial heritage of a space, emphasizing the importance of protection without hiding it.
Furthermore, the designer could also introduce a metallic accent in a furniture environment dominated by wood.
Traditionally, these plates served a dual purpose: they added a decorative touch and, more importantly, protected doors from the wear and tear of daily use.
Positioned at the bottom of doors, they shielded the wood from scuffs, scratches, and dents caused by shoes, moving objects, and other elements.
However, in today’s design landscape, the aesthetic appeal of kick plates in households has waned.
The modern homeowner often seeks a sleek, uninterrupted look for their doors, and the addition of a kick plate can disrupt this streamlined appearance.
The trend leans towards minimalism and simplicity, where every element of a room or a piece of furniture is intentional and functional.
In this context, kick plates can seem out of place, especially when their primary function is perceived as redundant.
But Is The Kick Plate Important For Protection?
Ok, the kick plate is not in style. But at least, are they important for protection of the lower parts of a door?
No, we have wooden doors with layers of resins applied.
While in the past, wooden doors might have benefited significantly from the added protection of a kick plate, advancements in door manufacturing have reduced this need. Modern wooden doors undergo treatments that enhance their durability and resistance to external factors. One of the primary advancements in this area is the application of resins.
Resins, when applied to wooden doors, form a protective barrier that significantly increases the door’s resistance to abrasion, moisture, UV rays, and other potential damages.
These resin layers, which can be both on the surface and integrated within the door’s material, offer a level of protection that older wooden doors didn’t have.
As a result, the modern wooden door is much more equipped to handle daily wear and tear without showing signs of damage.
At the molecular level, resins are polymers that, when cured, form a solid, durable, and cohesive structure. This structure provides a protective barrier on the surface of the door, acting as a shield against external forces and elements that can cause abrasion.
Given this enhanced resilience, the functional need for kick plates becomes less pronounced. Why add an extra layer of protection when the door itself is already fortified against most common forms of damage?
Kick plates have their place, nevertheless, in certain settings, especially commercial or high-traffic areas, their relevance in modern households is diminishing.
With design trends favoring cleaner lines and door manufacturing incorporating protective resins, kick plates are becoming more of a relic of the past than a necessity for the present.
There are two types of resins used in modern wooden doors by all manufacturers.
- Thermosetting Resins: These are often used in the production of composite doors. When cured, they become rigid and set in their shape, providing strength and durability. Examples include phenolic, melamine, and epoxy resins.
- Thermoplastic Resins: Unlike thermosetting resins, these can be melted and reshaped multiple times. They’re often used in combination with other materials to provide flexibility and resistance. Examples include PVC and polyethylene.
Selecting The Right Material For Kick Plates
- Assess the Door’s Style and Material:
- Look at the door where you plan to install the kick plate. Is it wooden, glass, metal, or another material?
- What is the door’s style? Is it modern, traditional, rustic, or another design?
- Choose a Complementary Material:
- Brass: A classic choice that can add warmth to a door. It works well with traditional and some modern designs.
- Stainless Steel: Offers a sleek, modern look. It’s also durable and resistant to corrosion, making it suitable for exterior doors.
- Bronze: Has a rich, dark appearance that can add a touch of luxury to a door. It’s often used in traditional settings.
- Aluminum: Lightweight and resistant to rust. It can have a more industrial appearance, suitable for modern designs.
- Select the Right Finish:
- Polished: Shiny and reflective. It can add a touch of elegance but might show scratches more easily.
- Brushed or Satin: Has a muted shine and can hide scratches better than a polished finish. It offers a contemporary look.
- Antique or Aged: Gives the kick plate a vintage appearance, suitable for rustic or traditional doors.
- Matte: Non-reflective and modern. It can be especially stylish in colors like black or gray.
- Consider the Surrounding Hardware:
- If your door already has hardware (like a doorknob, handle, or hinges), try to match or complement the kick plate’s material and finish to them. For instance, if you have a brushed brass doorknob, a brushed brass kick plate can create a cohesive look.
- Size and Thickness:
- Ensure the kick plate is the right size for your door. It should cover the lower portion without overwhelming the door’s design.
- The thickness of the kick plate can also vary. A thicker plate might offer more protection but also be more prominent.
- Most kick plates are installed with screws. Ensure they match or complement the kick plate’s finish.
- Some kick plates come with adhesive backing, which can be easier to install but might not be as durable as those screwed in.
- Depending on the material and finish, some kick plates might require regular cleaning or polishing to maintain their appearance.
By considering these factors and tailoring your choices to your door’s design and your personal preferences, you can achieve a stylish and functional kick plate that enhances your door’s appearance and longevity.