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Cylindrical or Mortise Locks: Which Do I Need?

For most people, a lock is a lock. So long as a door has a lock, they are lulled into a false sense of security, think that their families and possessions are safe. Since most people use locks every day, it is important to understand the different types of locks, and their application. We’re going to look at two types of locks in this post – cylindrical locks, and mortise locks.

Locksets offer security, privacy and convenience, and each type offers its own function, durability, quality and features.

Cylindrical and Mortise Locks

There are two basic types of configurations when it comes to choosing the best locks for your home, namely cylindrical and mortise locks. It is hard for most people to distinguish the difference between the two types of locks from a distance. However, in installation and function, they vary dramatically.

What Is a Cylindrical Lock?

Cylindrical locks are installed through the door, using a lever or knob on either side, which retracts the latch when it is depressed or turned.

Quick to install, the cylindrical lock requires two holes to be drilled in the door. The one hole is drilled through the door, as that is where the lock chassis will go. The other goes through the strike edge, which is where the latch bolt will go.

Cylindrical locksets are commonly installed in interior doors, offices and homes, since they are so quick and easy to install.

What Is a Mortise Lock?

Mortise locks must be mortised (embedded) into the door. When the installation is complete, the face plate is flush with the edge of the door. These locks are used on pocket doors, furniture, cabinets and doors, and contains a few typical parts:

The lock body, which is installed inside the mortise cavity in the door.
The lock trim, which could be selected from a range of designs of pulls, handlesets and levers.
The strike plate, for reinforcing the deadbolt and latch holes in the frame.
The keyed cylinder, for operating the locking and unlocking mechanism.

An exterior door mortise lock will have a deadbolt cylinder at the top, and a spindle which passes through another, smaller hole in the bottom. There must be a mortise (cavity) in the door’s edge to install it. This mortise must be expertly created using a special tool. The working mechanics of the lockset are located inside a thin case or box, which fits into the mortise. Mortise locksets are generally durable, and may last forever, which is why it is often installed in front doors.

Do I Need a Cylindrical or Mortise Lock?

Mortise locks offer a range of benefits, and offer many different functions. With bigger bolts, they are more durable and being incorporated into the lock body, it releases both the deadbolt and the latch when the lever is turned. Strong inner components and heavy duty interior construction means that mortise locks can withstand more use than the typical cylindrical lock. Available in a range of design options, you can choose from sleek stainless steel and contemporary styles, to rustic or antique.

When the time comes to choose a new lock, Locksmith Toronto, Ontario recommends mortise locks over cylindrical locks, especially for front doors or medium security interior doors.

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