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The types of house locks

When purchasing locks for your home, there are many things to consider, with the most important of all being security. After all, that’s why you purchase door locks in the first place!

It’s also essential to buy the best type of house locks for your outside doors, as this is something your insurer is likely to quiz you on, before giving you cover for your home.

To help you make a well-informed purchasing decision (and get you clued up on all the different types of house locks) we’ve put together a quick and easy guide. Read on to learn about the most common types of front door locks and locks for upvc door handles, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

What are the types of door locks?

Mortice lock

Five-lever mortice deadlocks are a popular choice for main doors commonly made of wood. They offer moderate protection and can be deadbolt locked and unlocked from either side of the door, using a key. Sometimes, they may be installed with a night latch for extra security.

This is one of the door lock types recommended by home insurance companies, as they are fitted within the material of the door, rather than on just the surface. By installing a mortice lock on the outside doors of your home, you may be able to get a slight discount on your cover.

When purchasing a mortice lock, it’s important to make sure it conforms to BS 3621. Simply look for the British Standard Kitemark on the lock and you’ll know it’s the real deal. As well as being manufactured to a high standard, the Kitemark tells you that the lock has been tested against common burglar techniques, such as picking and drilling.

Some of the best brands of five-lever mortice locks are:

  • ASEC
  • Chubb
  • ERA
  • Legge
  • Union
  • Yale

Please note, this type of lock is not suitable for upvc door handles.

Night latches

Night latches offer an extra layer of security. There are two types of locks: standard and deadlocking. Standard night latches lock a door automatically unless you use the fastening to hold the latch back. Deadlocking night latches lock automatically and require the use of a key to open the door from both the inside and outside.

Generally speaking, deadlocking latches are more secure. However, night latches should only ever be installed as a secondary security measure. They should not be the sole lock on your outside doors.

Key-operated multi-point locks

Multi-point locking systems are commonly installed in modern houses with upvc door handles. They bolt the door into the frame and lock at multiple points (minimum of 3), with the turn of a key. These upvc door locks offer a high level of security and will make a practical choice for garages and patio doors.

The mechanism for key-operated multi-point locks is operated with a euro-cylinder lock, which is where you insert the key. The good news is that only one cylinder is required to lock the full mechanism, so it can be keyed alike with other cylinder locks in your home. This means fewer keys are needed for your property – less to weigh your pocket down!

It has to be said that this type of locking system is easy to get wrong. It’s important to familiarise yourself with how to double-lock the door, so you can fully secure your home when you go to bed or leave the property. This often involves lifting the door handle, whilst turning the key twice. If it’s double-locked, you shouldn’t be able to push the handle down afterwards.

Cylinder locks

Cylinder locks are most commonly used as front door locks. They can be used both internally and externally and are suitable for upvc door handles. However, they don’t have the best reputation for security. The issue is that they’re one of the deadbolt door lock types vulnerable to lock snapping.

Before installing cylinder locks in your home, consider whether there are any more practical and secure front door locks within your budget. It’s also a good idea to check with your home insurer that this type of lock is acceptable. After all, you don’t want to risk invalidating your insurance!

Locks for sliding doors

If you’re lucky enough to have sliding patio doors in your home, it’s important to make sure they’re fully secure. Sliding patio doors are often referred to specifically in home insurance policies, as the lock requirements differ from those of standard doors.

Although they look great and are very practical, sliding doors can be vulnerable to break-ins, as they can be lifted off their runners and removed.

With this in mind, we suggest installing a key-operated multi-point locking system, as mentioned in one of the sections above. Alternatively, you could install key-operated patio door locks at both the top and bottom of the sliding doors. For extra security, consider an anti-lift device to prevent thieves from easily removing the doors.

Remember, it’s always best to check the wording of your home insurance policy and speak to your insurer directly if you have any questions about your sliding door lock.

Lock buying guide:

Now we’ve covered some of the most common door lock types, here’s a little recap of the things to consider and look out for before installation:

  • Is it the most suitable type of lock for the door? (A wooden door requires a different type of lock to a UPVC or composite door)
  • Is it compatible with upvc door handles (if applicable)?
  • Does my home cover accept it as an appropriate and secure lock?
  • Do I need any extra security measures in place (i.e. a sliding door lock may require an additional anti-lift device)?
  • Does the lock carry the British Standard Kitemark?

So there we have our quick and easy guide to the different types of house locks! We hope you’ve found the answers to your questions but should you be concerned about the security of your home or whether your locks are covered by your home insurance policy, our best advice is to get in touch with your provider.

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