The security of your home will depend majorly on the type of locks you use on your external doors. In order to achieve the highest level of security, you’ll want to use front door locks that meet your security needs. Different door types may require different lock types, and you may find your budget, home insurance, and security standards will all affect the type of lock you eventually choose for your front door.
In this article, we’ll explore what to consider when choosing or replacing a front door lock, the different types of front door locks that you can choose from, and some frequently asked questions regarding front door locks.
What to Consider When Choosing a Front Door Lock
When deciding what kind of lock to use on your front door, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration. These factors will differ depending on your personal situation, so it’s important to understand exactly what you’re looking for.
Type of Door Material
Different door materials are better suited for specific types of locks. You’ll want to make sure that the lock you’ve chosen is suited to the door that you have.
Wooden doors are sturdy, long-lasting, and great for home security. Though a door is only as strong as its locks! A timber door with a solid frame will suit a five-lever mortice lock for the highest security.
uPVC doors became popular due to their low maintenance and cost. Though the quality of uPVC used will determine how secure your front door really is. The lock that comes in the handle of most older uPVC doors are prone to snapping, and typically a five-lever mortice lock will not suit a uPVC door as you can only fit a lock where it is designed to fit.
To get the most out of your front door security when using a uPVC door, look for newer door models that have been made with anit-snap locks and multi-point locking systems.
Composite doors naturally have great security features as they were created in response to the security issues that single-material doors often had. This usually includes a reinforced steel frame and a solid hard-wood internal frame.
This makes composite doors one of the safest options for home security.
The British Standards Institute has developed security standards to look out for when buying locks. Depending on the level of crime in your area, you may want to invest in a strong lock with security standards.
The standards to look out for include:
- Five-lever mortice lock: BS 3621 or EN 13309
- Euro cylinder lock: TS 007 *** or SS 312 *** diamond
Your insurance providers may have requirements about the kind of locks that you use on your front door. If your insurance provider has specified a type of lock, then it’s essential to follow those specifications in order to keep your insurance.
What are the Different Types of Front Door Locks
Choosing which lock to use for your front door can seem daunting. There are many different kinds that will offer varying levels of protection. It’s also important to remember that a door is only as strong as its locking system.
We’ll explore the top three types of locks used in the UK, the two basic locking systems, and a couple of alternative locks.
Top Three Types of Locks Used in the UK
While not typically able to be fitted to a uPVC door, mortice locks are used in wooden and composite doors as they are inserted inside the door.
Mortice locks are two-part locks in which one side has a hole that is intended to catch another part that locks the two together.
Mortice locks use a key to lock and unlock, and can be used from either side of the door.
- Secured on both ends
- Strong lock
- Must be installed by a professional
Rimlock or Nightlatch
These are self-contained lock house that is fitted onto the inside surface of the door.
The lock automatically latches when the door closes and can be unlocked from the inside by turning the handle, and on the outside using a key. This type of lock will typically be used alongside a mortice or deadbolt lock for increased security.
- Simple mechanism
- Easy to bypass
A multi-point lock can be used with any door. They are always operated with a key and is fitted to the body of the door. It locks are multiple points, bolting the door to the wall. These locks offer a high level of security as anyone trying to break through this lock will have to distribute their weight throughout multiple points. These locks can be used on uPVC and composite doors, making them popular with new-build homes.
- Harder to force entry with this lock
- Only one key is needed for multiple cylinders
- Cylinders can easily be changed
- The handle must be lifted to fully lock (which can be difficult for children or guests)
Two types of Locking Mechanisms Used in the UK
A lever lock works by using a key that moves different levers to certain heights. This then pushes the bolt back into the door, unlocking the mechanism. You can find mortice locks and other key locks that use a lever lock system.
Cylinder / Euro Lock
With these locks, the key moves spring-loaded internal pins as the key is turned. This type of lock can be found in three shapes: round, oval, and euro.
Alternative Front Door Locks
A smart lock connects to an app on your phone which comes with all kinds of cool features. You can monitor who enters your home while you’re away, operate your lock from your phone, and some models can even open and close the doors using your phone. The best part is that you don’t need a key, some smart locks even use voice recognition.
Digital locks, like smart locks, won’t use keys. Instead, they will have a keypad used to open the lock. These aren’t typically used on front doors, though if you have an Airbnb or a door with high traffic in and out, these locks can be a game-changer.
What is the Best Lock to Prevent Lock-snapping
Lock snapping or cylinder snapping is a common method used by burglars to break into properties. This is done by gaining access to the internal locking mechanism and breaking the point that is connected to the cylinders. It only takes a few seconds to snap a lock before a burglar can enter your home.
You can prevent lock snapping by buying anti-snap front door locks. These are reinforced so that even if your lock is snapped, the internal system stayed protected.
How Much Does it Cost to Change a Front Door Lock?
This varies greatly depending on the type of lock you’re installing, the type of door you have, and the number of locks being installed. Typically you’ll have to pay per lock, which can range from £80 for a basic euro to £115 for a mortice. You’ll have to pay installation fees as well, which will depend on your locksmith.
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