How to Buy the Right Lock


Before buying a lock, check in which direction the door opens – it may be left-or right-handed. Many locks will fit or can be adapted to fit both sorts, but with a few locks the model needed depends on the direction the door opens.

Some manufacturers have a scheme for registering the keys of their locks. Extra keys can be usually obtained only from the manufacturer and against the registered authorised signature. No blanks are issued to key-cutting com­panies. Some locks have a microswitch facility (shunt lock) which is a special switch incorporated into a lock so that it can be part of a burglar alarm circuit.

right lock

For mortise locks, the thickness of the door’s stile is important – it should be at least 44mm and preferably 50mm. The stile should be at least as wide as the length of the lock usually 63mm but many locks need stiles 75mm to 85mm wide. It is possible to buy locks which are suitable for stiles narrower than 63mm.

Most mortise locks are provided with escutcheons to protect the door around the keyhole. Flaps fitted to escutcheons help keep grit and dust out of the lock and provide privacy if fitted inside.

A rim lock can be used for doors with thin stiles less than 45mm which are unsuitable for mortise locks. Most rim locks cannot be fitted to doors with stiles thicker than around 60mm.

Rim locks generally have knobs or handles fitted on the inside; mortise locks with just one bolt are usually oper­ated by the turn of the key. Sashlocks -which incorporate a springbolt as well as a deadbolt – normally have holes for handles to be fitted. These have to be bought separately.

Sliding doors need a different sort of lock from conventional doors – one with a claw or hook bolt. There are both mortise and rim versions.

right lock

You can get special mortise sashlocks to fit on to double doors where the vertical edges of the two doors are rebated. Some manufacturers sell a con­version kit so that you can modify their normal lock.

Lock maintenance

About every six months locks should be lubricated. With a cylinder or lever lock put some powdered or flaked graphite on the key, insert the key in the hole and turn it back and forth. Lightly grease or oil visible moving parts such as bolts and handles. Window locks with a single universal key may also be oiled. When cleaning the outside of a lock, make sure that nothing gets into the mechanism.

If a lock is sticking, test it first by turn­ing the key so that the bolt is thrown with the door open. If it works all right, it may be that the lock striking plate or staple have got out of alignment. Check the door and frame for warping.

Keep the keys free from dust and debris -some types may not operate locks when they get dirty.

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  5. How to Secure Windows

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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