How to get the most out of your deadbolt lock

December 19, 2014

Unfortunately many locks used on the outer doors of private residences present an easy challenge for burglars. Deadbolt locks, however, are a solid choice for families who want to feel secure in their homes. Here’s why:

How to get the most out of your deadbolt lock

Deadbolt locks

A deadbolt has no latch or knob and can only turn with a key that's inserted into the lock.

  • The bolt is the moving part of the lock that slides into the strike plate on the doorframe.
  • Single deadbolt locks are opened with a key on the outside and a twist knob on the inside.
  • Double deadbolt locks need to be opened with a key on both sides.


The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers several recommendations for choosing a deadbolt:

  • Use a 2.5 centimetre deadbolt on outside doors.
  • Verify that the outside ring around the cylinder is made of a sturdy metal.
  • If you can afford a more expensive model, choose one with a freely rotating ring. The objective is to protect the cylinder lock mechanism so that it can’t be twisted and compromised.
  • To ensure a solid base for the lock, install a suitable strike plate on the doorframe.
  • For optimal security, choose a double deadbolt that requires a key for both inside and outside access. Be sure to keep a key close to the door when you’re at home so you can get out in case of fire.

The right framework

Remember that a lock can’t do its job if it’s not installed on a sturdy door, and the strike plate must be installed on a viable doorframe.

  • Choose an elongated strike plate that measures about 10 centimetres. Also, make sure you properly secure the hinges if the door opens outward.
  • Check that the pin connecting the two parts of the hinge can’t be easily removed.

What if your door isn’t of a standard size? Perhaps it’s an old door made of warped wood or it was custom-made by a less-than-meticulous carpenter?

  • Don’t try to install a deadbolt that doesn’t fit properly. It won’t keep any determined people out, and it will make it all too easy for a thief to totally destroy your door and doorframe.
  • A qualified locksmith can modify a deadbolt to fit on a thin door or an old wooden door of irregular thickness. He or she will remove some of the screw and tailpiece of the lock so it fits securely and the bolt reaches sufficiently into the strike plate.

With these tips and a quality deadbolt lock, you’ll be able to sleep soundly and leave your home with peace of mind.

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