When it comes to the security of your home, nothing is more important than a good set of entry door locks. With one in every 36 homes being burglarized in the United States, we should expect our entry door lock system to make it a little tougher for the average burglar to make their way inside. This buyer’s guide to entry door locks will teach you all about the different types of residential lock systems, and how to select and purchase a good one.
There are a few different reasons you might need to change your locks. First, if you move into a new house, it might give you more peace of mind to have fresh locks since you don’t know how many people had access to the old ones.
If you’re a renter, you should still be able to change the locks as long as you give your landlord a copy – just check the fine print of your lease.
If you have recently had to remove anyone from your property or if any unsafe person previously had access to your home, changing the locks is essential. Many homeowners also change their locks if they have recently lost their keys or suspect they were stolen.
You should also change the locks if they’ve been compromised in any way. If your door frame is outdated and sagging, or if the locks are sticky and difficult to operate, or if there have been any signs of forced entry, a new set of high security entry door locks should be the first item on your shopping list.
Finally, it’s perfectly okay if you’d like to change the locks for an updated look. After all, you want your entry door areas to make a great impression – if your locks are old, weatherbeaten or dull-looking, you can easily swap them out for something shiny, on-trend and up to date.
There are several different kinds of entry door locks to be aware of, each with their own pros and cons.
This is what you’ll find on most homes – locking doorknobs which can be operated from either inside or outside. From the interior side, you can operate the lock by turning a small switch, while you must use a key to lock and unlock it from the exterior side. This is a medium quality lock as far as security, and should be enhanced with a deadbolt.
Deadbolt locks provide a higher level of security for your entry doors. It’s manually operated – by hand indoors, and by key outdoors. By turning the bolt and running it into the door frame, it ensures that a burglar can’t get in by prying the lock or shouldering the door.
A combination lock is a more modern looking type of entry door lock combining a lockset with a deadbolt on the same unit. Rather than a standard turning knob, these systems usually have handles with thumb levers.
No longer just for your car, you can have advanced lock technology on your home too. Keyless entry door lock systems may include codes, remotes, garage door openers, automatic alarms and even smartphone apps.
Keyless entry door lock systems may sound like the answer, but does more advanced technology always mean better? The biggest pro of keyless entry is the convenience factor. No more struggling to find the right key while holding a heavy bag of groceries or attempt to escape a rainstorm – when you simply have to enter a code, flash a fingerprint or click a button on a remote or app, you can get inside quickly and easily.
However, you wouldn’t want an intruder to do the same – some smart lock systems are vulnerable to cyber attack and could be hacked or overridden by a savvy burglar. Some systems get around this possibility with interior installation, discouraging tampering. As homeowners, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons and check out the available systems to determine if smart locks are right for your entry doors.
There are a few other extras you should consider to enhance the security of your lockset. Make sure your lockset is fitted with dual-torque springs, which will help guard against loosening from wear and tear; and a shroud behind the rose (the circular piece behind the knob, mounted to the door face) to protect the lock even when the rose is removed.
You can also install a sliding chain lock onto a wooden door – this is a helpful way to decrease the risk of forced entry when opening the handle and deadbolt to see who’s knocking.
Since the main function of our entry door lock is home security, it makes sense that you’d need to purchase a lock set that meets certain standards. There are three security grade levels for locks and deadbolts established by the American National Standards Institute.
This is the highest level of security, meeting requirements for commercial as well as residential buildings. Grade 1 entry door locks only come in lever-style handles. They’re submitted to rigorous testing in order to receive this grade, including 10 hammer strikes and 800,000 cycles.
These meet or exceed the typical security levels for homes. The locks and deadbolts are engineered to hold up through 400,000 cycles and five hammer strikes. Your handleset or lockset with deadbolt may be a Grade 2.
These are average locks and provide minimal security for a home. An example of a Grade 3 system might be a knob with a button lock. These can be upgraded with deadbolts to increase security, as well as using alarm systems and good safety practices such as light timers and house sitters, but if security is a concern a full upgrade might be a good idea.
If you’d like to switch out your Grade 3 knob lock and put in something a little more heavy duty on your own, it’s a fairly simple process. To start, you’ll need to remove the old door knob. Using a screwdriver, loosen and remove the trim plate behind the knobs, on both sides. After removing the screws securing the knobs, the system should loosen and come off without any problems.
Although some entry door locksets come with adjustable hardware, not all of them do and you may be asked to provide some measurements. You’ll want to write down the thickness of your door – an exterior door is usually 1 3/4” in thickness.
You should also measure the backset (the space between the door’s edge and the middle of the hole where the knob is installed), as this can vary from 2 3/8” and 2 ¾”.
Next, you’ll want to determine the handing of the door. Handing refers to which way the door swings open. Depending on your area and building codes, an exterior door may swing outside or inside when opened – and if you don’t buy a lockset accordingly, you might end up with a lock that doesn’t work properly or is even upside down.
Buying a new entry door lockset doesn’t have to be too complicated – now that you know what’s available and what type of security they can provide for your home, the most difficult part of the selection process will be picking out a color to match the door!
The locks can only protect you so much if you have a weak, worn out door. When it’s time for a replacement door, Rockford homeowners turn to Feldco – we’re the Midwest’s leading door company. Get a free quote now and start your home improvement project today.