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Deadlatches and Deadbolts

Did you know that most insurance companies now require that you put one of these on all doors and windows in order to receive full insurance coverage?

This is a deadlatch:
There is a difference between a deadlatch and a deadbolt. Simply stated, a deadlatch locks automatically when you close the door. You can insert a key in on either side of the door.


A deadbolt, on the other hand, must be locked using a key. It’s great if you already have a knob set.

This is a deadbolt:


All houses or businesses have some kind of lock on them, but many new or old styles of houses and businesses don’t have the right locks for providing optimum security. Deadbolts and deadlatches can help here, but they have an added bonus. Let’s say someone breaks in through a window. They’re going to have real trouble escaping with anything of significant size if they can’t exit through a door. A door with a deadlock or deadlatched door is much tougher to get through than one without.

A couple of warnings are in order, however, about the deadlock.

  • First of all, don’t leave the key in it when you leave. If you do, it will be much easier for someone to get out of your home or apartment.
  • Also, some people deadbolt their houses at night to make themselves feel more secure. If you do this, leave the key in the lock, or nearby, but only when you are home. There was a case in Queensland where a family tragically lost their lives when their house caught fire because they couldn’t get the door open – the keys to the deadbolt weren’t near the door. So, be careful.

There are many different types of deadlatches on the market. When you open one from the outside, most are equipped to automatically “unlock” completely so that you do not lock yourself into your home. There are now digital and fingerprint locks that can be purchased for residences. An MLA locksmith can help you choose one. These might be fine solutions. Just make sure that every member of your household, and perhaps your solicitor and a VERY trusted friend, is given the ability to enter your home in case of emergency. Don’t worry about emergency personnel. They are equipped with necessary override procedures.

Finally, realise that if you live in a rental property, you probably cannot have a deadbolt of any kind due to fire restrictions, but you can find out all the dos and don’ts from a qualified locksmith. Also, speak with your landlord or the governing body in your state to find about safety measures and ways to protect the valuables within your apartment.

Also, be aware that deadbolts are not permitted in most commercial buildings. You will need to contact local authorities about this, and you should reassess annually as regulations can change. Self- closing doors with levers that can be opened in a single downward motion may be required. This is mostly necessary to make it easy to exit a building in case of fire or other emergency.

However, CCTV, window grills, monitored alarms, lock blocker plates, and restricted keyways will help provide security in apartments and commercial buildings, and there are sections about these later in the book. In addition, technology changes rapidly, so keep up to date online. Enter the following into your search engine of choice: “new locks”, “lock brands”, “MLA”, “accredited MLA”, and “master locksmith association of Australia” for additional information.

Patio Bolts
If you decide to install patio doors at any entrance to your home, you should also install bolts specifically made for this kind of door. The ones that come with the door and are pre-installed are referred to as flush bolts and are cut into the door itself. These are not as strong as surfaced style patio bolts, but are good as secondary locks. Proper patio bolts can also be retrofit into French doors and are an excellent addition to your overall security plan. Here is what one looks like:

Patio Bolt

Flush bolts are a little less obtrusive and modern looking than patio bolts. They can be used in a wider variety of doors, including patio doors to strengthen security.

Flush Bolt

They can also be pre-installed into a door before it is hung.

Bi-Fold Doors
Bi-fold doors are currently quite popular. They are not typically found at the front of a home, so you might think that securing them is no big deal. This is not at all true. A sly burglar might view the back of the home as a great place to enter, sight unseen. To make matters worse, bi-fold doors are not solid; they have a fold in them. In other words, they have a natural weakness. While they tend to make the outside of the home feel a little more like the inside, and in a way extend the home’s living area, they can be very difficult to secure properly. Therefore, you need a good alarm system if you are going to use these.

Also, you should have them secured with patio bolts.

We’ve pretty much covered the most common types of door that you would want to use on your home or business. Of course, there are others – but most are for show, not for security. If you are considering something that you have not seen, be sure to consult with an accredited MLA locksmith before finalising your choice.