- What hardware will meet my security needs?
- Which function lock will meet my needs?
- What color lock do I need?
- Which style lock will match my existing hardware?
- Will I be able to use my existing key or existing master key system?
- Are my keys able to be copied by anybody?
|Q: What hardware will meet my security needs?|
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 businesses. 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 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:
1) Use Grade 1 hardware on perimeter doors.
2) Address the whole door opening. Reinforce the door and the frame in conjunction with using quality hardware.
3) 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.
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|Q: Which function lock will meet my needs?|
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 on 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 switch or power failure. Used with a keypad or card system. There is also an electrically unlocked function. Where you use the lock and it's relation to the Life Safety Code will determine whether you need the electrically locked or unlocked function.
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|Q: What color lock do I need?|
A: The color of the lock is referred to as the finish. An important factor in determining finish is climate. Salty air, corrosive vapors, or constant high humidity may have a damaging effect on metal finishes. How long a finish will hold up will be influenced by the base metal and finishing process as well as the different methods of cleaning and care. For example, a non-clear coated finish should not be cleaned with soaps or solvents whereas a clear coated finish may be cleaned with a mild, non-abrasive soap and buffed lightly with a clean cloth. It's best to check with the manufacturer to obtain the recommended cleaning instructions for your hardware. Finishes will vary slightly between manufacturers and you may even see finish differences between a lock and its cylinder, strike plate, or screws.
Some manufacturers now have a bright brass finish which may be referred to as "Lifetime". There are differences between the manufacturers on the warranty of the finish, but the "Lifetime" is generally 25 years or more. Although similar to the 605 BRIGHT BRASS finish, each manufacturer does have their own finish number designation. Be sure to specify the "Lifetime" or "Anti-tarnish" finish when ordering hardware. You should use this type of hardware on your front door. Whether you are selling the home next week or in ten years, the front door is usually the first door seen by prospective buyers. Don't scrimp on the front door lock. Get high quality locks and if you are going with a brass finish then get the "Lifetime" finish. Nickel and pewter finishes are popular these days as well.
There are numbers, the 600-Series, designated by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) for each of the finishes. Generally these numbers are the standard when refering to lock finishes. Some manufacturers still use the old U.S. equivalent code. The following descriptive list will contain the BHMA code, followed by the nearest U.S. equivalent code designation in parenthesis ( ).
- 605 (3) BRIGHT BRASS, Clear Coated
- 606 (4) SATIN BRASS, Clear Coated
- 609 (5) ANTIQUE BRASS, Satin Brass, Blackened, Satin Relieved, Clear Coated
- 610 (7) BRIGHT BRASS, Blackened, Bright Relieved, Clear Coated
- 611 (9) BRIGHT BRONZE, Clear Coated
- 613 (10B) OIL RUBBED BRONZE, Oxidized Satin Bronze, Oil Rubbed, No Coating (called a living finish as it will wear and change in appearance over time)
- 619 (15) SATIN NICKEL, Satin Nickel Plated, Clear Coated
- 612 (10) SATIN BRONZE, Clear Coated
- 616 (11) ANTIQUE BRONZE, Satin Bronze, Blackened, Satin Relieved, Clear Coated
- 626 (26D) SATIN CHROMIUM PLATED, No Coating
- 629 (32) BRIGHT STAINLESS STEEL, No Coating
- 630 (32D) SATIN STAINLESS STEEL, No Coating
- 620 (15A) ANTIQUE PEWTER, Satin Nickel Plated, Blackened, Satin Relieved, Clear Coated
- 625 (26) BRIGHT CHROMIUM PLATED, No Coating
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|Q: Which style lock will match my existing hardware?|
A: We will try to help you identify the style or design of your existing hardware in order to match the new hardware. Often, a survey is required. We have had some success in being able to identify hardware from digital photos sent by e-mail used in conjunction with information obtained over the phone. Many times there are letters and/or numbers written on the head of the key used to work the existing lock. These letters and/or numbers are good information to have when trying to identify the hardware. Occasionally, there may be a name written on the lock or on the faceplate of the latch or bolt on the edge of the door.
Don't hesitate to call us with your questions.
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|Q: Will I be able to use my existing key or existing master key system with new hardware?|
A: If the proper hardware has been ordered using the letters and/or numbers off the head of the key, then it is usually possible to key to your existing keys. Most often, it is physically possible to key the locks to an existing master key system. However, there are standards that must be met in order for these things to be done properly.
We'll address keying to an existing key first. First and foremost, the key you are requesting we use must be cut to manufacturers specifications. Using a worn key or a "generational key" creates a situation where we can only guarantee the lock will work with the single key provided. A "generational key" is a copy of a key that is not original to manufacterers specifications. The first copy from an original is a 1st generation key. The copy made from the 1st copy is a 2nd generation key. The copy made from the 2nd copy is a 3rd generation key and so on. Some places do a good job cutting keys and adjust their key machines on a regular basis. Many do not. But no matter how well the duplicating machine is maintained, there will be a variance between the original key and each successive generation cut. We test our key machines to the 5th generation when adjusting our key machines. We recommend that when you get a new key, whether to a home, business, or vehicle, to immediately get a copy for daily use and store the original to be used when duplicating keys in the future. Ask about available key storage boxes or notebooks.
Keying to an existing master key system presents an additional set of concerns. First, you must realize that having a master key system generally reduces security and increases convenience. Second, there are rules to master keying which will help reduce loss of security. Master keying should not be random, but should be done from a developed master key system. The master key system should have a list of keys which have been used (known as a bitting list). Otherwise the locksmith who tries to create new keys to the master key system takes a chance that the new keys may unintentionally work other locks. This is sometimes referred to as a "ghost master" or an "incidental master".
We require any system we work on to be to manufacturers specifications. We recommend you consider a new master key system if you do not have a bitting list. Let us help you reduce the liabilities related to haphazard keying.
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|Q: Are my keys able to be copied by anybody?|
A: Most keys in use today may be duplicated. If you have provided a key to an employee, a contractor, or a cleaning company, then even if you get the key back, you can't know if a copy has been made. Many people feel that if they have the key stamped "DO NOT DUPLICATE" they have solved the problem. The fact is that there is no law to prevent key duplication if a key is stamped that way unless the key belongs to a state or federal agency or the US Postal Service.
Most manufacturers do make a line of locks and keys which do have key duplication restrictions. The locks and keys have patents which limit production of the key blanks to the original manufacturer. The manufacturer then controls key blank distribution through contracts with the distributors of their products.
For top shelf protection we recommend Medeco High Security Locks which are tested for resistance to forced entry, pick resistance, and drill resistance in addition to the key duplication restrictions. Medeco also produces a line of locks, KeyMark, that focus on the key duplication restrictions only and therefore may save you money by not buying features you don't feel you need. Medeco and KeyMark also make a wide variety of replacement cylinders that may fit into existing hardware thereby saving you money. In many cases you won't have to buy complete replacement hardware for this reason.
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