The Basics of Door Latch Hardware
Door latch hardware is a crucial part of any door, providing both security and ease of use. Latch hardware typically includes the latch itself, which is the part that engages with the strike plate to keep the door closed, as well as any handles or knobs that are used to open the door. There are many different types of door latch hardware available, each with its own unique features and benefits. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the different types of latch hardware, how they work, and how to maintain them.
Types of Door Latch Hardware
Mortise locks are a type of latch hardware that are commonly found on older doors. They consist of a rectangular box that is installed inside the door, as well as a locking mechanism that is mounted on the door itself. Mortise locks typically have a latch bolt that is operated by a thumbturn on the inside of the door and a key on the outside.
Cylindrical locks are another common type of door latch hardware. They are typically found on newer doors and are easier to install than mortise locks. Cylindrical locks consist of a round mechanism that is mounted on the door, with a latch bolt that extends into the door frame. They can be operated by a key on the outside or a thumbturn on the inside.
Tubular latches are similar to cylindrical locks but do not have a locking mechanism. They are typically used on interior doors where security is not a concern. Tubular latches consist of a round mechanism that is mounted on the door, with a latch bolt that extends into the door frame. They are operated by a door knob or handle.
Functions of Door Latch Hardware
The primary function of door latch hardware is to keep a door closed and secure. However, different types of latch hardware can provide additional functions, such as:
Locking latch hardware is designed to provide additional security by allowing the door to be locked. This is typically done using a key or a thumbturn.
Passage latch hardware is designed for doors that do not require locking, such as interior doors. They are typically operated by a door knob or handle and do not have a locking mechanism.
Privacy latch hardware is designed for doors that require privacy, such as bathroom or bedroom doors. They typically have a thumbturn on the inside of the door that can be used to lock the door, but can be opened from the outside using a special tool or key.
Maintenance of Door Latch Hardware
Proper maintenance of your door latch hardware can help ensure that it operates smoothly and securely. Here are some tips for maintaining your latch hardware:
Lubricate the Mechanism
Over time, the moving parts of your latch hardware can become stiff and difficult to operate. To prevent this, it's important to lubricate the mechanism regularly. You can use a silicone-based lubricant to lubricate the latch bolt and other moving parts. Be sure to wipe away any excess lubricant to prevent it from attracting dirt and debris.
Check the Screws
The screws that hold your latch hardware in place can become loose over time, which can cause the latch to stop functioning properly. Regularly check the screws and tighten them if necessary.
Replace Damaged Parts
If any part of your latch hardware becomes damaged, such as the latch bolt or strike plate, it's important to replace it as soon as possible. Continuing to use damaged hardware can compromise the security of your door and make it difficult to operate.
Test the Operation Regularly
Regularly test the operation of your latch hardware to ensure that it is functioning properly. Check that the latch bolt engages with the strike plate and that the door opens and closes smoothly. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.
What is the difference between a mortise lock and a cylindrical lock?
A mortise lock is a type of latch hardware that is installed inside the door, while a cylindrical lock is mounted on the surface of the door. Mortise locks are typically found on older doors and require a bit more installation work, while cylindrical locks are easier to install and are more common on newer doors.
Can I use tubular latches on exterior doors?
Tubular latches are typically used on interior doors where security is not a concern. While they can technically be used on exterior doors, they do not provide the same level of security as locking latch hardware and are not recommended for this purpose.
How often should I lubricate my latch hardware?
It's a good idea to lubricate your latch hardware at least once a year, or more often if the mechanism is starting to feel stiff or difficult to operate.
Door latch hardware is an essential component of any door, providing security and ease of use. Understanding the different types and functions of latch hardware can help you choose the right hardware for your needs and maintain it properly over time. By taking good care of your latch hardware, you can ensure that your doors remain secure and easy to operate for years to come.