A secure front door is not only great for your own peace of mind; it’ll also keep your insurance company from causing a fuss. They will often prescribe lock combinations for your door. In this article we’ll go over a couple of combinations and discuss pros and cons.
The Classic Yale-and-Chubb Formation
This is the most common front-door locking setup. You’d have a Yale-type lock (a so-called nightlatch) at the top, usually around shoulder-level, which latches shut automatically and has a little handle/knob on the inside so you can open it without a key. At the bottom, around waist-high, is a mortice deadlock (aka Chubb lock). This has an old-fashioned looking key and it doesn’t lock automatically.
This is quite a healthy combination most of the time. British Standard 5-lever mortice deadlocks (the ones insurers usually require you to have) are pretty solid pieces of kit. It’s very hard to break them, and many of them are particularly hard, if not practically impossible, to pick open.
The Yale nightlatch is always a crowd favourite, since it’s mostly intuitive and very practical. It also comes in a number of different varieties, which we will be discussing in another article.
The Yale-and-Chubb formation comes with one main variant: having two Chubb locks on the door instead of one, either both below the Yale, or one above and one below.
The All-Cylinder Line-Up
The Yale-and-Chubb line-up has one major drawback: each lock has a different key.
Humans have a somewhat irrational tendency to make important sacrifices purely out of laziness and convenience. Since it’s slightly inconvenient to fumble around with keys on a key-ring in order to lock and unlock two locks on different keys, people often don’t bother to lock the Chubb in the first place.
A great way to ensure higher levels of locking all locks is to have all the locks on your door work on the same key. To do this, you can install a Yale lock and so-called cylinder deadlocks. These are like 5-lever mortice deadlocks, except you use a ‘euro cylinder’ (pictured) to operate them, rather than levers. These cylinders can be keyed alike, or ‘passed’, so that they all work on the same key.
You may need a chat with your insurance company before fitting this solution. Not everyone likes it, because not all cylinder lock combinations are British Standard-approved.
In reality, though, this solution allows you to have three locks on your front door without having to have three keys in your pocket. You’re infinitely more likely to lock all the locks when you leave the house, and this alone makes your security much greater.
Multi-Point Locking Mechanisms
The multi-point locking mechanism is the last of the standard front-door locking solutions. It’s mostly found on uPVC doors (those white plastic doors), and some posh wooden doors.
While the Yale-and-Chubb solution, for example, requires you to fit two locks to your door, the multi-point mechanism has just one lock. Once you turn the key in that one lock, though, it locks the door in, typically, three to five different places.
You can get super-fancy ones that not only lock at five points along the long edge of the door, but that also shoot out bolts over and under the door. Many of these systems, especially the German ones, can be wildly sophisticated.
These are mostly very secure locks, with two main drawbacks:
- If there’s a problem with the mechanism, it’s not guaranteed that you can replace the broken part without having to replace the entire thing. Not every manufacturer provides spare parts.
- You’re suddenly very reliant on the cylinder in the door. If you can breach just one cylinder, then you can suddenly bypass the three locking points on the door.
If you’re the owner of a multi-point mechanism, you had better get a good cylinder!
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