Basic Door Locks
The level of security a lockset offers
depends on its construction. Any type with only a key in the knob or
handle is only marginally secure; a burglar can easily foil it. For
more security, a deadbolt should be installed with at least a
one-inch throw-which means it should extend a minimum of one inch
beyond the door's edge and be made of case-hardened steel.
The key to getting the most out of your
visit from a locksmith is understanding the different types of locks
that you need to install or repair ahead of time.
Exterior entry locksets
have a large, rectangular body that slides into a mortise (a cavity
carved into the edge of the door made to receive the lock
contain the workings for the knob, lever, or grip handle, latch, and
deadbolt in a single unit. With a mortise set, the knob generally is
interconnected with a security deadbolt. Mounting a mortise lockset
calls for fairly tricky carpentry work.
have a rounded body designed to fit into intersecting holes bored
into the door. The deadbolt bar, which slides into a corresponding
opening in the doorjamb, is the main source of your security.
or surface deadbolts, are the deadbolts that are independent of the
doorknob. Installed in the inside of the door, the bolt fits into a
corresponding sleeve attached to the inside door frame.
The basic padlock,
a familiar sight on gates, lock doors and even luggage zippers, is a
portable key-operated lock built around a steel loop that clicks
into the lock's body.
require the use of a key from both sides of the door. This is the
safest type to use for doors with windows. For better security, a
knob, lever or grip handle should be paired with a deadbolt.
Door Lock Repair
With time and temperature shifts, houses
settle and move up and down. This can dramatically affect how a
latch or deadbolt matches up with the hole on the doorframe. This
can be a simple do-it-yourself project. Simply file the hole bigger.
If your door knobs or handles were
installed after 1960, they probably have standardized hardware, so
replacing the damaged hardware is easier and less expensive. For
doors installed before 1960, it may be worth it to try to repair the
hardware, especially with old antique doors.
If your door will not lock, try a simple
test before calling a locksmith. Open the door and turn the lock key
while the door is open. If it works, then the hole in the door frame
may be incorrectly aligned with the deadbolt. A simple fix is to
file the hole opening wider. If the door still doesn't lock with the
door open, the problem may be more serious, and you may want to call