If as suggested in our post in December about making your doors the best form of defence you are intending to upgrade the locks on your external doors, perhaps because they are ageing and not functioning as they used to, or maybe because you want to enhance the security of your property in light of recent incidents in the neighbourhood, it’s not just going to be a case of selecting a new lock off the shelf because you think it looks robust or you’ve heard it ‘has a good name’.

Replacing or upgrading a lock is not as straightforward a process as some may believe, however armed with the right knowledge, and with advice from a professional locksmith, you should find yourself in a strong position to make the right choices. Here we raise a few important points to consider when making that all-important security purchase for your home.

The Right Lock for the Right Door


It is essential to realise that certain back and front doors require certain types of locks, and conversely, that not all locks are suitable for all doors.

For example, regular mortice locks are by no means going to work for multi-point locking systems typically found on UPVC doors.

Timber doors should have a minimum of two locks, one of which should be a five lever British Standard compliant deadlock; a five lever British Standard compliant (BS3621) mortice lock or a British Standard compliant (BS8621) night latch which has no need for an internal key. The other lock should be a rim night latch, commonly referred to as a ‘Yale lock’.

UPVC or composite doors require cylinder locks. Ideally for a higher level of security you will go for an anti-snap model, but we’ll look at this separately in the next section.

French doors are often targeted by intruders as they have a weak point between the two doors. For this reason it is important to choose a lock that serves to strengthen this weak point. A deadbolt of a suitable length is advisable together with a mortice lock embedded in the door rather than attached to the inside. Locks placed at both the bottom and top of the doors will reinforce security and a three-point locking mechanism will allow both to be locked simultaneously. Double cylinder vertical deadbolts can be used to lock the two doors together.

Patio doors pose even more of a challenge when choosing replacement locks, particularly if they are older style models. For those that don’t feature multi-point locking systems, additional locking methods are advisable. Remember that this type of door is a particular favourite for intruders and as well as taking great care to choose the right lock, other means of securing patio doors should also be considered too, such as anti-lift devices.

It really is highly advisable to seek professional guidance and to engage an expert to fit your new patio door locks, or indeed locks for any type of door, because 1. you may void your manufacturer’s guarantee if you attempt to drill into the doors yourself and 2. you could well find your insurance provider demands it.

Level of Security Required

If you live in a high risk area, there have recently been break-ins around the local neighbourhood or you have particularly high value possessions to protect, you will obviously have a need for a higher level of security and, therefore, high security locks will be called for.

As we discussed in our post last month, for a lock to be classed as high security, it needs to meet certain criteria. For UPVC doors this means a Euro cylinder lock that is anti-snap, holds a minimum 3-star British Standard rating or Sold Secure Diamond rating and must be tested to British Standard TS007:2012. For timber doors, high security means a British Standard 3261 kite mark must feature.

Insurance Compliance

You should always carefully check the requirements of your insurance provider concerning the types of locks your policy demands for your external doors. There will usually be quite specific requirements and these may vary from provider to provider. Remember that claims will not be honoured if you fail to meet the policy requirements.

Sound Advice

Even if you are confident that you know which type of lock you need for your external doors, the value of professional advice cannot be in any way understated. A Master Locksmith Association rated locksmith will be able to assist with more than just locks: they’ll be able to guide you on various aspects of security, including keys, the doors themselves and other initiatives such as access control, remote monitoring, CCTV and security lighting so that you can enjoy the benefit of a multi-layered solution to help safeguard your home to the highest possible level.

Barry Bros Security is Master Locksmith Association (MLA), Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) and BS EN ISO9001 accredited. We offer an offsite locking system installation service for your convenience and our experts are equipped to provide in-depth advice and can even design a custom locking system to suit specific needs. Contact us or visit our showroom today; we look forward to being of assistance.