What Hardware Is Right For Me?

When it comes to purchasing hardware for your new door, or replacing hardware in your existing door, there are several things that you need to consider.  First of all, what type of locking mechanism do I want/need?  There are two different types of locks to consider when making this choice: cylinder locks (or tubular locks) and mortise locks.  You will find that while one is more secure, it is also more expensive.  The other is less expensive and therefore more popular.  Let’s get into the differences.

Cylinder (Tubular) Locks

example of baldwin cylinder hardware

Typical Baldwin Cylinder Entry Set

Cylinder style locks are the most common type of locks that we sell.  Unlike the common latch that is a part of the knob/lever assembly, a cylinder deadbolt is not spring-loaded and is not beveled.  For the door to open and close, the deadbolt must be fully retracted.  If installed properly, the dead bolt also extends much farther into the door jamb than the regular latch.  The farther the dead bolt extends into the doorframe, the harder it will be for someone to force the door open.

Cylinder locks are easy to identify.  If you look at the short edge of your door and you see two distinct strike plates, then you already have a cylinder lock installed.  Most of these locks have standard size holes that were drilled into the door.  That makes these locks easy to replace.  Many cylinder locks have a single outside plate that covers both the deadbolt and the latch, but some locks use two separate plates in place of a single outside plate.  This type of hardware is called sectional and can be a better choice if you are replacing hardware and discover that your holes were not drilled standard.

We can send you some information on how to measure your door to see if your hardware is standard or not.

Mortise Locks
example of baldwin mortise hardware

Mortise locks are one of the most secure forms of residential hardware available today.  What makes mortise locks so much more secure than their cylinder counterparts?  A pocket cut into the short edge of the door, allows a longer and thicker mortise box to slide into the door itself, providing superior protection.  You will find that these types of locks require special door preparation.  Consequently, mortise locks also tend to be more expensive than typical cylinder locks.  When you purchase your hardware from us, we will drill all of the holes necessary so that your hardware will just slide into place when it comes time to install it.

If you are wanting to replace your existing handle set, you will need to take careful measurements as not all mortise boxes have the same dimensions.  If you currently have cylinder type hardware on your door, it is possible to replace with mortise hardware, but not all mortise boxes will cover the tubular holes already drilled in your door.  Our hardware expert will be happy to talk with you and try to find something that will fit your needs.

Multi-Point Locks

multipoint hardware option
A multi-point (or three-point) lock, is a locking system installed in a door to enable more secure locking.  Whereas with cylinder or mortise locks, the door locks only at the point where the key is turned, multi-point locks enable the top, bottom, and middle of the door to be simultaneously secured.  On single doors these locks typically are located on the short edge of the door near the top and bottom.  On double doors, more often these locks come out the top and the bottom of the door.  There are even options that offer more than just three points of locking.

This type of European locking mechanism has gained popularity in many coastal environments as it is possible to get a tighter seal to keep wind and rain out during hurricanes and coastal storms.  You will also find that many larger door manufacturers such as Pella and Anderson have began to use more and more of these locks.

One drawback to the multi-point lock is that, due to the function of the lock, you are required to use levers on each side of the hardware.  You cannot use decorative thumb grips and the styles of multi-point locks are limited.


Single vs. Double Cylinder Locks

single vs double cylinder locks
This term generally refers to the deadbolt section of a handle set, or to the individual deadbolt itself.  All deadbolts have a key on the exterior side for security.  A double cylinder lock also has a key on the inside which is required to operate the deadbolt.  This means that you will need a key in order to lock/unlock the door from the inside.

You will find that there are two schools of thought as to which lock type is better.  Many years ago, Police departments recommended everyone use double cylinder locks so that if a burglar were to break out the glass in the door, they couldn’t just reach around and unlock the lock using the turn piece.  We have found that while this is great in theory, many people just leave the key in the lock so that they don’t have to hunt it down to lock/unlock it.

Fire departments have gotten involved in the debate and say that in an emergency situation, you may not have the time or the ability to find the key to exit the house and they recommend the use of single cylinder locks.  Some municipalities have even gone so far as to outlaw double cylinder locks in their fire codes.  We tend to recommend the use of single cylinder locks over double cylinder.

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