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
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 mechanism).
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.
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 a locksmith.