Installing Door Locks!

If you plan on installing door locks on a new exterior door or upgrading your security by replacing existing ones, you will find various tips & advice below that should be beneficial for you.

This web page also addresses various issues relating to door security & discusses the pros & cons of different types of deadbolt locks that are used to secure residential exterior doors.

It is very important to increase the physical security of your home’s entrance doors, so they can withstand the level of force an intruder would impact against them.

Although having or installing door locks that are highly rated for quality & durability is only the first step in being able to achieve this important security objective.

There are 5 equally important elements that need to be addressed when increasing the physical security of an exterior door.

They are the door, its frame & the doors hardware (locks, strike plates & hinges).

The reason why each of these elements are all equally important, is because the physical strength of an exterior door is only as strong as its weakest link.  

Many people have acquired a better feeling of security from installing door locks that increases the security of the entrance doors in their home.

Receiving such peace of mind would unfortunately be based upon a false sense of security, if other important elements or security weak-points have not been addressed.

You may want to visit my door security web page, as it will give you a clear understanding of the security weak-points that exists with most residential exterior doors. It also provides the most practical & cost-effective security measures you can take to eliminate such weaknesses.

Many individuals & families do not seem to recognize or understand what is required to secure their home’s entrance doors & this is why criminals find it very easy to break-in to the exterior doors in most homes.

It is also why statistical data from the FBI & most other law-enforcement agencies show that in the large majority of residential break-ins, the intruder gains entry thru one of the home’s exterior doors.

A Few Different Types of Deadbolt Locks!

If you are installing door locks on any of your home’s entrance doors, you will find there are numerous makes & models of deadbolt locks available to choose from.

The following information outlines the pros & cons of the three mechanical deadbolt locks that you will find in most homes today, single cylinder, double cylinder & captured key deadbolt locks.

Due to technical advancements made in wireless & electronic technology, there has been many makes & models of keyless deadbolt locks that were produced for the retail market over the past decade.

If you would like to acquire a better understanding of the electronic, biometric (fingerprint) & RF (Radio Frequency) deadbolt locks that are available today, please visit my keyless door locks web page.

Installing Door Locks – Single Cylinder Deadbolt

With a single cylinder deadbolt you have a key cylinder on one side & a thumb turn (oval shaped knob) on the other. When installing door locks of this type you would obviously locate the keyhole on the exterior side of the door so you can lock & unlock the door when leaving & arriving home.

The thumb-turn on the interior side of the door works the same as the key, as you would turn it towards the strike plate to lock the door & rotate it in the opposite direction to unlock it.

In the event of an emergency like a house fire, the single cylinder deadbolt lock allows the occupants to easily escape the home by simply & quickly rotating the thumb turn to unlock the door.

Installing door locks of this design either mechanical or electronic may also cause a security problem.

The security issues exists when there is glass that can be broken in or close to the door that would allow an intruder to reach in & rotate the thumb turn to unlock it.

Some people will address this security issue by installing a deadbolt lock that requires a key to lock & unlock the door from inside the home or one with a removable thumb turn.

Either of these locks will prevent an intruder from reaching in & unlocking the door. Although I would strongly recommend against installing door locks of this nature, as they could easily delay or prevent you from escaping your home in the event of an emergency.

The last thing you or other family members need is to be trapped inside a dark smoke filled room looking for a missing thumb turn or a lost door key so you can exit your home.

Any glass that is close enough for an intruder to break & than reach in & unlock the door should have a security film laminate applied to it.

Not only will this security measure not compromise the safety & wellbeing of you & your family, it is also a low cost & effective way to eliminate this type of security problem.

On my window security film web page you will find complete information on security films & how it creates an invisible barrier that keeps criminals out. It also provides beneficial information for anyone who may want to implement this security measure in their home.

If you have the DIY skills for installing door locks on a new door, you should not have any problems installing a security laminate on window glass. Installing window film is a much easier task then many people may think.

If you would like to install your own security film or need a quick review of the installation process so you can make an informed decision, you will discover step by step instructions on my installing window film web page.

Installing Door Locks – Double Cylinder Deadbolts

A double cylinder deadbolt has a key cylinder on both sides, so the only way it can be locked & unlocked from inside & outside the home is with a key.

As I outlined above some people install these locks to prevent an intruder from breaking glass in or close to a door & then reaching inside to unlock it.

No matter what type of security issue you have, there is always a safe & an effective way to address the problem without having to compromise the safety & wellbeing of you & your family.

Installing door locks that requires a key to exit your home, would increase the odds of you & other family members not been able to escape in the event of a house fire.

The amount of time you & your family have to escape a house fire decreases significantly if you only become aware of it after the heat & smoke has spread throughout the home.

Fire science has proven that many smoke inhalation victims are prevented from escaping their homes before they are ever exposed to or consume a lethal amount of poisonous smoke. With a combination of heat & smoke they are quickly incapacitated or rendered unconscious as they try to exit their homes.

This is why in the event of a house fire there should be nothing that restricts, hinders or delays you & your family from exiting your residence as quickly & safely as possible.

Installing Door Locks – Captured Key Deadbolt

A captured key deadbolt is very similar to a single cylinder deadbolt because it has a key cylinder on the exterior side of the door & a thumb turn on the interior side.

How this lock differs from the single cylinder deadbolt, is the thumb-turn that locks & unlocks the door can be detached from the lock & leaving only a key hole once it is removed.

The thumb-turn has a key attached to it that can be used to lock & unlock the door & when it is removed the lock becomes the same as a double cylinder deadbolt.

This is why installing door locks of this type is done for the exact same reason that people have for installing the double cylinder lock.

The idea behind the design of this specific lock is the last person to leave the home removes the thumb-turn from the door & the first one to arrive home replaces it.

It is also designed to prevent a child from taking the thumb-turn out when people are home, as it cannot be removed without the locks key.

I unfortunately find two major problems with the concept of this captured key deadbolt. The first is with the thumb-turn always been inserted back into the lock as soon as the first person arrives home & secondly with having the thumb-turn in the lock when the home is occupied.

After the deadbolt is first installed, the homes occupants will likely make a conscious decision of inserting the captured key (thumb-turn) back in the lock right after the first person arrives home.

Although it would be extremely naïve to believe it will continue to happen this way day in & day out in the weeks & months to come.

If a fire broke out at a time when the captured key was not inserted inside the lock, it could certainly compromise the safety of those living in the home.

A security weak point that allows a criminal to enter one’s home in a matter of seconds like breaking a piece of glass & reaching in & unlocking the door, should also not exist when the home is occupied.

Installing door locks with a removable thumb-turn that is to remain inside the lock when the home is occupied, is an outdated concept & security measure that does not address the safety, security & wellbeing of those living in the home. 

In today’s society we need to reduce the odds of our families ever being victimized by home invasion criminals, sexual predators or other deranged individuals that violently attack people in their homes.

Many people unfortunately do not take what security measures they need to, as they see the odds of a specific home being singled out & targeted by such violent criminals as being quite low.

Although due to the serious nature & consequences of these heinous crimes, I feel it would be irresponsible not to do what is reasonably possible in further minimizing the risk of it happening to our own homes & families.

Installing door locks either electronic or mechanical that has an non-removable thumb-turn, is the only way to ensure you & other family members never become trapped inside your home due to a locked door.

As outlined above, a very effective & practical security solution to prevent criminals from knocking out a pane of glass & reaching in & unlocking the door, is to secure the glass with a window security film.

Installing Door Locks – ANSI Grade 1 Bump Proof Locks!

The best deadbolt locks you can have securing the entrance doors in your home, are ones that have been independently tested & rated for quality & durability by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) & have been Grade 1 certified.

Due to a very easy & widespread lock-picking technique known as “lock bumping”, it is very important that these ANSI Grade 1 deadbolt locks have also been certified as being “bump poof”. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) puts deadbolt locks through a series of lock picking test including lock bumping.

You can find where to obtain ANSI Grade 1 deadbolt locks that have also passed UL series of lock-picking test including lock bumping (UL 437, Paragraph 11.6) & retails for around $30 by visiting my door security web page.

Installing Door Locks On A New Exterior Door!

If any new or existing entrance doors in your home are going to be capable of keeping criminals out, the doors will need to be solid core hardwood or of metal clad construction.

With a new exterior door you will likely need to install both an entry & deadbolt lock. New entry & deadbolt locks come with a set of instructions plus a template that can guide you through the process of installing the locks.

If you are installing locks on more than one new door or you are not overly comfortable with your DIY skills when it comes to free drilling holes, you may want to acquire a door lock installation kit.

Many of these installation kits are designed for installing door locks on both wood & metal doors. I purchased one a few years ago made by Irwin & was very impressed on how easy it made installing locks on two sold core hardwood doors.

These installation kits are also produced by Dewalt, Black & Decker, Kwikset & various others & they retail in the $15 to $20 range on

If you do choose to purchase one of these door lock installation kits from, I would appreciate if you would consider doing so through the above link.

Anything you buy through the above link will help support the continuous growth of this website, as we earn a small commission on any purchases made.

If you are not an online shopper, you should not have any problems finding a door lock installation kit that meets your needs from a building supply or home improvement store in your area.

You can acquire a better understanding of how easy installing door locks can be with one of these installation kits, by watching the short video below.

Most residential exterior doors are 6’ 8” in height & the entry lock is generally installed 36” up from the bottom edge of the door. The standard distance from the center of the entry lock to the center of the deadbolt lock is 6”.

If you choose to install your entry lock a little lower or higher up than 36 inches, you may want to maintain the standard distance of 6” between both locks. This could be beneficial for you if at some point you choose to reinforce your doorjamb by installing a long high security strike plate.

The cut-outs in most of these strike plates are made to accommodate exterior doors that have a distance of 5½” to 6” between the deadbolt & entry lock latch.

Replacing Existing Locks On Your Exterior Doors!

Replacing existing locks is by far a much easier project than installing door locks on a new exterior door. Although if you plan on replacing original locks on older style wooden doors, the bore holes will need to be made larger to accommodate exterior door locks being retailed today.

For this type of project a door lock installation kit can be extremely beneficial, as increasing the size of an existing bore hole is a lot more difficult to do free hand then it is to bore out a brand new hole.

If you are just installing door locks to replace existing ones, you will need to ensure any new locks you acquire has the same backset as the locks you will be replacing.

(A backset is the distance from the edge of the door to the center of the bore hole).

Door locks come with a 2-3/8” or 2-3/4” backset & many come with adjustable latches that you can adapt to either one of these backset measurements.

It is important to replace any exterior door locks that do not function properly or ones of inferior quality that will not stand up to an intruder breaking in.

Locks that are stiff to use may appear to be defective, but in most cases they should work like new once they are lubricated. Moisture & dust particles often get inside the lock through the keyhole, making the key hard to turn.

If you have a good quality lock that is stiff to use, you may want to spray a powdered graphite into the key hole & rotate the door knob or thumb turn a few times, as this will help lubricate the moving parts within the lock.

Although if the key is still stiff to turn after lubricating the lock, this would be a good sign that the pins in the cylinder are worn & should be replaced.

If you do not have any powdered graphite on hand, it is important not to use a spray like WD-40 as a substitute.

WD-40 can be used for many things, but it should not be used to lubricate keyed locks, as it does not dry on contact & therefor it ends up acting like a magnet attracting dirt & dust particles into the lock.

Installing door locks that will help increase the physical security of your home’s entrance doors is very important.

Good quality locks alone though will not prevent criminals from entering your exterior doors easily & quickly.

Increasing the overall physical security of your home’s entrance doors is absolutely essential for keeping your home & family safe & secure against unlawful intrusions.  

Although if you are installing door locks that are not bump proof, it will not matter how physically secure your entrance doors are if some would-be criminal decides to enter your home with $2 bump key they purchased online.

Another serious issue that compromises door security in many homes today, is family members that have a complacent attitude when it comes to home security.

If you have anyone in your own home that fits this description, you may want to remind them that even the best quality & highest priced deadbolt locks available are absolutely useless when they are not used.

FBI statistics show that in 12% of home burglaries alone in the United States are due to unlocked doors, open windows & intruders finding hidden door keys.

There are many things one person can do to increase the security of their home. However you cannot acquire or maintain the level of security you need without a collective effort from all family members.

Everyone needs to work together to ensure all physical & electronic security measures are always engaged & providing the level of protection that is needed.

I sincerely hope this installing door locks web page has provided you with information that was helpful & beneficial for you. You may want to consider bookmarking this site as new & updated content is uploaded weekly.

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This page outlines the security weak-points that exists with most residential exterior doors & provides practical & inexpensive measures that can help reduce or eliminate such weaknesses.

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