The Best Type Of Lock
I am often asked what is the best lock? I think a better question is have you got the right type of lock for your door? These are the type of locks that I would like to see on which doors, and how they should operate.
Locks For Wooden Doors
A front door should have some type of latch so that when the door is just pushed closed it can’t be opened from the outside unless a key is used. From the inside it should be able to be opened easily with either a handle or a knob on the lock. This is used for daytime operation when the house is occupied, however when the property is empty, at night or if the occupants feel vulnerable then a Deadlock should be used.
A dead lock is a lock that can be operated from either side using a key, it should be British Standard and have a 5 levers, if your lock is then this will be displayed on the faceplate.
There are some latches that can be double locked from the outside, but be careful, some locks when double locked mean that anybody inside the property cannot get out! These should NEVER be used on a flat or property with only the front door as an exit.
With back doors where the garden is secure from the street it is more usual to keep the door locked shut unless accessing the garden. The most suitable type of lock for this is called a sash lock. The sash lock has a latch which is operated by the lever on the handle allowing easy access in and out and a deadbolt which is locked using a key from either side.
Locks For UPVC Doors
Just as an insight there are over 450 different locking mechanisms and over 100 different handle for UPVC doors!
A UPVC door lock is a ‘Multipoint Lock’ and is made up of three elements: The handles, a locking mechanism and an interchangeable lock cylinder.
The principle behind a multipoint lock is that it has more than one locking point (normally 3 or more) theses can be rollers, pins, bolts, hook bolts etc. The locking points are engaged using the handle and locked in place using the lock cylinder.
A UPVC front door should, like the wooden door, have the ability to be closed and require a key to open it from the outside. The additional locking points should be engaged by lifting the handle and turning the key in the lock cylinder to lock them in place,( very similar to the deadlock on a wooden front door.)
The security of your home may be compromised if your front door can be opened just using the handle from the outside. Fortunately, you may not have to buy a replacement locking mechanism as it is often possible to reconfigure the existing lock by using different handles or a split spindle. An easy way to tell if this is possible is to turn the key and if the latch is withdrawn then it can be configured to operate how a front door should work. If not i would recommend replacing the locking mechanism.
A upvc back door should operate the same as a wooden back door in that you can open and close the door with the handle and lift the handle to engage the extra locking points before locking them in place with a key from either side.
Types Of Lock Cylinders
All of these locking points are held in place with the interchangeable lock cylinder and if you have an old or contract cylinder it will offer you very little protection against the most common type of entry method, “LOCK Snapping”. Your insurance company will only ask for 3 locking points however they are missing the fact that even if you have good locking points security is limited by the cylinder. Due to the amount of burglaries in recent years through lock snapping I think that insurance companies will be changing their policies?
I will keep you posted!