With the fashion for uPVC doors on the up the humble nightlatch has lost popularity. Sometimes referred to as Yale locks they are a great accompaniment to the British Standard Deadlock on any good quality wooden door. I have seen them fitted to uPVC but in all honesty they look tacky! With the correct nightlatch fitted (in conjunction with a British Standard dead or sashlock) nobody is getting at your valuables in a hurry! Most people with a wooden or an older aluminium door will have one located about a third of the way down the door on the inner surface and you’ll use it to open and shut the door.
There are many different types of nightlatch available on the market in different sizes and different capabilities and levels of security. Below I have listed some of the various types that are readily available on the market.
Most people with a timber entrance door or an older aluminium door will have one located about a third of the way down the door on the inner surface and you’ll use it to open and shut the door.
Rim Nightlatch – Non Deadlocking
The standard nightlatch has a spring loaded latch that when withdrawn, by turning the key, allows you to access the property and you can secure yourself by simply pushing the doow shut. This can be referred to as ‘slam lock’. Should you not want the door to lock each time it is closed the latch bolt can be withdrawn using the key or the lever I the inside face of the door and locked back using the snib. This style of lock is general considered the entry lever for security but it does allow keyless escape in the event of an emergency. Its a nice simple lock that will provide peace of mind when engaged and in conjunction with a suitable secure deadlock you should satisfy most insurance standards for security. These are also great on sheds and outhouses where such a level of security may not be necessary.
Nightlatches – Key Deadlocking
This type of lock is similar to the nightlatches I described in my earlier post with the addition of being able to deadlock the latch from the outside using a key thus preventing the the latch rom being slipped using the old credit card trick (James Bond style!!). Some models will also allow the locking of the inside handle. this prevents slipping from outside and additionally prevents the the knob being turned by sticks, cables and so on through the letterbox.
Nightlatches – Automatic Deadlocking
These nightlatches are different again from the earlier models I described in that they are activated by a deadlocking pin, usually found jut above or below the latch, which is depressed when the door closes locking the latch in place and again preventing the latch from being slipped. And as before these nightlatches allow you the lock the handle with the use of a key preventing the handle being turned by sticks, cables and so on through the letterbox.
British Standard Nightlatches – BS 3621 Thief Resistant
All of the nightatches I have described before are perfectly adequate for general residential use if used in conjunction with a British Standard Deadlock. But if you are considering replacing the nightlatch (not in conjunction with a deadlock) make sure you buy one that is certificated to BS 3621. These nightlatches will be marked by the British Standard Kitemark. This is generally the but it is likely that insurers will still accept locks certificated to the previous version, BS 3621:2004 or earlier versions, but check with your insurer. These higher quality rim nightlatches will sometimes have a flat ended latching bolt which is thrown into the keep as the door closes. These locks are not suitable for communal doors because of means of escape issues.
Nightlatches – BS 8621 thief resistant – keyless exit
If you are replacing the nightlatch and you share the main entrance door with another household fit one that is certificated to BS 8621:2007+A1:2009 Thief resistant lock assembly. Keyless egress. These nightlatches have the same security attributes as ones certificated to BS 3621 but operate from the inside without the use of a key. Instead, you’ll have to improve the security of the door so go to Improving the security of your existing doors .
Rim nightlatches – BS 10621 thief resistant – dual mode lock assembly
If you live in a flat and you have an alternative means of escape other than the private flat entrance door you can fit your private flat entrance door with a rim nightlatch certificated to BS 10621:2007+A1:2009 Thief resistant dual-mode lock assembly. These nightlatches have the same security attributes as ones certificated to BS 8621 but allow you to lock the internal thumbturn from the outside in the full knowledge that if you have accidentally locked somebody in they can get out safely using the alternative means of escape. However, we do not recommend using this type of nightlatch if you live in a flat, because the door will have a closer on it and you could accidently lock yourself out
Roller bolt nightlatches have a spring loaded rolling catch, which is designed to simply hold the door in its frame without locking. The catch is released by either pulling or pushing the door; no key is required. These nightlatches are sometimes seen fitted to private flat entrance doors which have door closers. This means that if you walk out of your flat and the door closes behind you won’t lock yourself out. The roller bolt doubles up as a deadbolt by turning the inside handle or by turning the key in the lock when you go out. Most are unlocked from the inside without the use of a key, which is important for your means of escape. These locks may not be suitable for fire resistant doors as they may not operate efficiently enough to allow the door to fully engage into its frame against the closer and door seals.