When you have a problem with the lock on your door, the best thing you could do is call an expert locksmith who has the necessary knowledge and expertise to handle any issue which might arise.
Even so, it makes sense to know more about the door lock elements and understand how they work. That’s because the lock on your door is one of the main safety devices which protects your property, your goods and your family.
There are different types of doors and locks on the market right now, so obviously not all of them are built the same.
However, the basic door lock elements included in this article are common to most of the locks which can be found in stores and in many homes right now.
Also referred to as a bolt, the latch is a piece of metal which extends into the door frame through the strike plate. The lock mechanism engages the bolt inside the door. This action holds the door closed.
There are two main types of latches:
- Spring latches. A spring mechanism holds the bolt in place. The spring is compressed to unlock the bolt. When the bolt is released, it automatically goes back into a locked position.
- Deadbolts. This type of latch doesn’t have a spring loading mechanism and it can be locked or unlocked using a key or with a knob placed on only one side of the door.
One of the major differences between deadbolts and spring latches is the first don’t have doorknobs or door handles and the second do.
Also, deadbolts are seen as being the more secure option because a deadbolt can only be moved to the open position by rotating the lock cylinder (which happens when using the correct key).
Therefore, it’s harder to unlock a door with deadbolts without the correct key.
The cylinder is one of the most important door-lock elements because this is where you insert your key. Generally speaking, if the correct key is not used, the door won’t open.
So how does the cylinder know when the right key is used? The mechanism uses a set of spring-loaded pins which prevent the cylinder from turning when engaged – unless the correct key is used.
Whenever a key is inserted into the cylinder, the uneven edge forces the pins upward to different heights. When the appropriate key is used, each one of the pins moves into its correct position and height for the lock and the door opens.
Otherwise, the key will not turn inside the cylinder.
The Strike Plate
The strike plate is the metal plate which is attached to the door jamb. One of its main characteristics is it has a hole or holes (also known as the box) for the latch of the door.
The primary purpose of the strike plate is to lead the latch bolt from the cylinder into the box of the door frame and strengthen the lock mechanism. When the lock is activated, the bolt extends into the hole in the strike plate to hold the door closed.
Nowadays, strike plates come in a variety of different shapes and styles. The opening on them can be:
- flat on one side and rounded on the other (this depends on how the latch which goes into the strike plate is shaped)
Now You Know More About the Basic Door Lock Elements
It’s important to mention electric-based locks have an entirely different setup. But in case you have a traditional door lock, this article should have helped you shape a better understanding of how it all works.
As you’ve seen, a door lock mechanism is both straightforward and sophisticated at the same time.