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The finish should match the rest of the hardware. Door knockers not only come in many finishes they are available in many types of metal. The most stable metal and probably the most common is brass. Brass is easy to machine and cast into shapes. It polishes into a bright gold like finish or satins easily and is easy to maintain. Brass also electroplates readily. This allows it to be nickel or copper plated to simulate pewter and bronze finishes. Because brass is non ferrous it will not rust. It will tarnish though for this reason a good lacquer finish is needed or your purchase will look terrible in a very short time.
There is nothing visible on the inside when surface mounting is used. If this is the first installation of a door knocker on this door either method may be used. If you are replacing an existing door knocker that has a through the door mount you will have the existing holes in the door to consider. Is it engraved? What are you going to engrave? Is your purchase engraveable? These questions need to be thought out before you purchase. It is advisable to purchase your door knocker from the same company that is going to engrave it. This way you should receive good advice as to what can be done and for how much money. You must also consider that engraving could damage the surface.
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The urn door knocker is versatile and looks good on most modern day homes. It possesses a universal appeal that seems to fit in nicely with most architecture. It is available in many sizes varying from a small 4" height or less to very large 12" high. The size selection would be determined by the doorway that the door knocker is to be mounted on and the budget allowed. Some urn door knockers incorporate eye viewers as these fit in this design well. The eye viewer may be situated at the approximate center of the door knocker or it might be located at the top. When at the top the eye viewer usually replaces the upper installation hardware. The addition of the eye viewer provides the additional safety factor of being able to see who is at your door.