Locks are such an everyday part of our lives that we sometimes take them for granted, until they fail or are compromised. We want to help you find the hardware that is right for you when that happens. Or if you are ahead of the game and want to upgrade to better hardware, knowing the answers to the following questions can help us get what you need.
Most perimeter residential doors will have either a deadbolt and a door knob or a mortise lock, which most often contains both the latching mechanism (lower lock) and the deadbolt (top lock) in the same housing. The most common deadbolts are available as single cylinder, keyed outside with a thumbturn on the inside, or double cylinder, keyed inside and outside. We also offer deadbolts with only a thumbturn on the inside and no keyway outside or captive key deadbolts with a removable thumbturn inside and a key outside.
In addition, deadbolts may come surface mounted, often referred to as a “Jimmy Proof” or JP lock, or mounted through the door as a “tubular” deadbolt. We never refer to either a lock or a safe as being “burglar proof” or “fire proof”. All locks and safes are deterrents. Given the proper tools and enough time, any lock or safe can be defeated. Given enough heat, all safes will burn. Your goal should be to have enough quality deterrents to make your residence too much trouble to bother with. After all, if the bad guy wanted to work, then he would get a job. He’ll want to move on to the next house if yours is properly protected.
Residential hardware requirements are no less important than a business. I often wonder why individuals put quality hardware on their business but put junk on their home. Are their loved ones and personal possessions less important than their employees and inventory? We will make some recommendations, but first, we’ll give some pertinent information.
There is an independent organization, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), that performs tests on hardware to test their resistance to forced entry. They then assign a grade to the hardware relative to the hardware performance. Grade 1 has the highest resistance to forced entry. Grade 2 has less resistance to forced entry. Grade 3 has the least resistance to forced entry. Some imports may not even get tested, and always beware the marketing departments bold packaging statement, “Grade 1 features!”.
ANSI also tests the durability of the hardware (number of uses or they use the term “cycles”). It can be confusing because they use the same grading terms 1, 2, and 3. Most, if not all, Grade 1 resistance to forced entry locks also carry the cycle Grade 1 rating.
Here are a few general recommendations:
- Use Grade 1 hardware on perimeter doors.
- Address the whole door opening. Reinforce the door and the frame in conjunction with using quality hardware.
- Don’t ignore the need to exit in case of fire or emergency.
Don’t ignore the need to exit in case of fire or emergency. The door closest to the sleeping area, usually the front door, should not have a double cylinder deadbolt. People should not have to look for a key to exit as more people die in fires than in burglaries. Everything you own can be replaced, you and your loved ones cannot be replaced. There are alternative methods to securing a door with glass in it which should be considered. These include security glazing, captive key deadbolts, and security storm doors or decorative window bars.
A: How the lock will be used will determine the function of the lock. Bedrooms and bathrooms often use privacy function locks. Closets may use passage or storeroom function locks. Exterior doors usually have entry function locks. On exterior doors, you may also consider using passage function locks, which when used with a Grade 1 deadbolt provides adequate protection from forced entry and offers the added bonus that you are less likely to get locked out when you get the morning newspaper.
The following are common lock functions and a description of their features. Other functions exist and different manufacturers may have variations of the function name, but this should get you started.
- Entry function – Turn/push button locks or unlocks the outside handle. When locked, a key is required from the outside. Used on office doors.
- Storeroom function – Outside handle is fixed. Always requires a key from the outside. Inside is always free to exit. Used in many situations. Storage rooms, closets, bathrooms (may limit unauthorized use), and entrances to buildings or offices where keypads or cards are used for entry are all common uses for this type of lock.
- Vestibule function – This lock has a place to insert the key (a cylinder) on the inside and the outside. The inside handle is always free to exit. The inside cylinder controls whether the outside handle is free or requires a key to enter. Be sure the inside cylinder key is different from the outside cylinder key. Used when foot traffic needs to be controlled at different times of the day.
- Classroom function – The inside handle is always free. The outside cylinder, when operated by a key, will determine whether the outside handle is fixed or free. Used in schools. There is now a variation on this lock brought about by highly publicized school violence. The new version allows the teacher to lock the outside handle without stepping into the hallway.
- Privacy function – Push button locking. Often may be unlocked with a small screwdriver from the outside. For use in bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Passage function – The inside and outside handles are always free. Used on doors that must stay closed but not locked.
- Electrically Locked function – Inside handle is always free. Outside handle is continuously locked electrically. Unlocked by a switch or power failure. Used with a keypad or card system. There is also an electrically unlocked function. Where you use the lock and its relation to the Life Safety Code will determine whether you need the electrically locked or unlocked function.