Lock Types

Telephone: Bristol 0117 3361122

Bath 01225 684500

Tel: 07999 500135

Help to Identify the Type of Locks Commonly Fitted to Properties in Bristol and Bath

At Bristol and Bath Locksmiths we want to be able identify your lock problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. In order to help us do this it will be helpful when you call us if you can identify the type of lock you have. We have therefore prepared this page as a quick easy illustrated guide to the types of locks most commonly found in UK properties.

Yale and Yale Type Locks (Latch Locks)

One of the most common types of lock used in the UK is the Latch lock (also known as a night-latch lock). These are most commonly surface mounted on the door, in contrast to mortice locks (see below) which are set into the door in a mortice – hence the name. As with hoover and vacuum cleaners the manufacturer Yale has become synonymous with this type of lock and these locks, particularly in the UK, are now generally referred to as ‘Yale locks’. The picture below shows an actual Yale latch lock manufactured by Yale – as can be seen by the Yale branding on the handle.

Actual-Yale-Lock

This traditional design is still in production but Yale also produce more modern looking (squared off) designs. These models usually feature a deadlocking feature and are referred to as deadlocking night-latches.

Just as with hoover and vacuum cleaners Yale is not the only manufacturer of these types of locks, the picture below shows a generic non branded night latch lock, these are still commonly referred to as ‘Yale’ locks. Once again these generic ‘Yale’ locks come in either the traditional look – as pictured below, or more modern looking squared off designs. As with the Yale product the the squared off designs may incorporate a deadlocking feature.

Generic-Yale-Lock

The picture below shows a ‘Yale lock’ as fitted to the front door of a domestic property.

Yale-Lock-in-Service

… and the picture below is the same door from the outside. If you are looked out and can’t remember what your lock looked like from the inside then you can go by this picture – if your door lock looks like this from the outside then you almost certainly have a surface mounted night latch – or ‘Yale lock’ – on the inside.

Yale-lock-in-service-from-outside

We at Bristol and Bath Locksmiths specialise in these types of lock – as well as others – if you’re locked out of a Yale, or latch, locked house we should be able to get you back in no time.

Yale locks can also become stuck, this is usually due to a problem with the the snib – the little button on the inside – which is the mechanism that keeps the latch locked in one position – either open or shut. The purpose of this is either to stop the door from locking when not required to do so – for example if you are just taking the bins out, or to make the door more secure at night by preventing the lock from being opened with techniques such as picking the lock cylinder or a bypass method such as slipping the latch.

What often happens is that the snib falls into and gets stuck in the locked position. The only way to get the lock open in these situations is with a lot of drilling in order to remove the lock cylinder completely and get to the inside of the the latch to directly manipulate the latch mechanism. If you have stuck yale lock call us at Bristol Bath Locksmiths for an efficient repair.

Mortice Locks

As previously mentioned mortice locks fit into a mortice cut into the door, they are usually fitted to timber (wooden) front doors, often in combination with a yale type lock (see above). Generally the yale type lock will be fitted to the upper part of the door and the mortice to the lower. Latch (yale) locks offer convenience as they can just be pulled shut, but mortice Locks offer a higher level of security than latch locks.

The picture below shows a fitted mortice lock in service.

Mortise-lock

The picture below shows the keyway for a fitted mortice lock in more detail – note how it differs from the keyway to a yale type lock pictured above earlier.

P1050606

A mortice lock can often also be identified from the type of key, mortice locks use a larger, traditional or old-fashioned looking type key – see picture below.

mortice-chubb-key

… in contrast to the smaller, more modern looking, type of key that a yale type lock would use – see picture below.

yale-type-key

Euro Cylinder Locks

Probably the third most popular type of lock in the UK is the euro profile cylinder lock. Most commonly found fitted to UPVC plastic doors as shown in the picture below, but can also be found on timber and metal doors.

upvc-door-with-euro-lock

The door will usually have a handle as shown in the picture above, but not always, the important thing to note is the shape of the lock – see close up picture below.

upvc-door-with-euro-lock-close-up

… if it looks like this it is a euro profile lock.

Oval Cylinder Lock

The oval cylinder lock functions in, and is specified in, a similar manner to the Euro Cylinder lock described above. The main difference is the shape of the profile of the lock which is as pictured below:

Example-Oval-Cylinder-Lock-Bristol-and-Bath-Locksmiths

In the UK oval cylinder locks are not very commonly used – the euro profile cylinder being the preferred standard choice of lock for this type of application.

Cylinder in Mortise Knob

Example-of-Mortise-Knob-with-Cylinder-Bristol-and-Bath-LocksmithsAs with the oval cylinder above the Mortise Knob, with the lock cylinder incorporated within the knob, is generally not very commonly fitted in UK. Where it is found it is more likely to be in commercial applications – for example hotel rooms. However a significant number of apartments and flats do also have these fitted.

RIM Locks

RIM-LockRIM locks are like a cross between a latch lock and a mortise lock. The key operates a square bolt as in the case of a mortise lock, but the lock unit is surface mounted as in the case of a yale type latch lock.

The advantage of a RIM lock is that the surface mounting makes them much easier to fit that a mortise lock – which has to be ‘mortised’ into the door. Another advantage of the RIM lock is it’s aesthetic appearance – particularly in period properties.

The disadvantage of RIM locks is that they offer a fairly low level of security. The reason for this is firstly due to the fact that they are surface mounted and the securing screws are accessible from inside the property even with the door locked – unlike the case in a mortise or high security latch lock where the lock mounting screws are completely shielded, from both the outside and inside of the property, when the door is shut. This means that if, for example, a burglar gained entry into your property by squeezing in through a small bathroom window; he or she would then be able to just unscrew the lock from the door and open the door thereby making it much easier to steal large items from the property. The second reason why RIM locks offer a fairly low level of security is that they have few levers within the lock, usually just one or two (for an explanation of how lever locks work see our ‘5 lever locks article‘ on our home page), so are relatively easy to pick.

These days RIM locks are used mainly for their aesthetic appearance on internal doors, they can be used on external doors also, but as locksmiths we would advise that they then be fitted in conjunction with a higher security lock; for example a 5 lever mortise.


We hope this section has been helpful, but if you’re still not sure what type of door and lock arrangement you have please don’t hesitate to give us a call and we should be able to help you over the telephone.

Tel: 07999 500135

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