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Guide To Mortice Locks and Latchs

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We hope this Mortice Locks & Latches Guide will help you to choose the right one for you door! The type of lock or latch will usually be determined by the type of door and room in your house. The size of lock or latch will often be determined by your door furniture.

Mortice Locks and Latches are cut into the edge of the door. When fitted you will only see the ‘Forend’ of the lock on latch on the edge of the door. 

There are three main types:

  • Latch
  • Sashlock
  • Deadlock

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A brief history of Mortice Locks

A mortice latch is used to simply open and close a door, using either a door knob or handle. There is no locking mechanism. There are several types of latch to choose from, depending on the type of door you have. Here are the most common ones:

  • Tubular Mortice Latches – these are by far the most common. They have a sprung nib which is operated by turning a door knob or handle. They come in ‘Standard’ or ‘Heavy’ sprung versions. Standard are for use with ‘Sprung’ door furniture. Heavy are for use with ‘Unsprung’ door furniture. They have a narrow ‘tubular’ barrel. This makes them easier to fit as you have to remove less wood from your door.
  • Standard Case Mortice Latches – these have a larger case. You would normally only choose these if

A mortice latch is used to simply open and close a door, using either a door knob or handle. There is no locking mechanism. There are several types of latch to choose from, depending on the type of door you have. Here are the most common ones:

  • Tubular Mortice Latches – these are by far the most common. They have a sprung nib which is operated by turning a door knob or handle. They come in ‘Standard’ or ‘Heavy’ sprung versions. Standard are for use with ‘Sprung’ door furniture. Heavy are for use with ‘Unsprung’ door furniture. They have a narrow ‘tubular’ barrel. This makes them easier to fit as you have to remove less wood from your door.
  • Standard Case Mortice Latches – these have a larger case. You would normally only choose these if replacing an existing lock or latch and your door already has the larger hole. Again they are available in Standard or Heavy sprung versions.
  • Horizontal Mortice Latch – the largest of all of the latches. They are used when you want your door knob to be situated further away from the edge of the door. Most commonly used on oversized, period doors. Again Standard or Heavy sprung versions are available.
  • Push / Pull Roller Bolt Mortice Latches – used on doors you simply want to push or pull open. They can be used with traditional door knobs or handles that have been ‘Fixed Dead’. They can also be used with a wide range of Pull Handles and Finger Plates. Very versatile but can be a little noisy.

Mortice Sashlocks

A mortice sashlock is a combination of a latch and deadlock. They are used to open and close a door and can also be locked with a key from both sides. The latch is operated by a door knob or handle and you usually cover the key hole with an ‘Escutcheon’. As with latches there a few styles to choose from. 

Here are the most common type of Mortice Sashlocks:

  • 3 Lever Mortice Sashlock - usually used on internal doors. The locking mechanism on these is not considered secure enough for exterior doors. Most commonly used on bedrooms, inner porches, study and utility rooms.
  • 5 Lever Mortice Sashlock – more commonly used on exterior doors. There are regular and British Standard versions available. Some insurance companies insist on British Standard locks.
  • Horizontal Mortice Sashlock – available in both 3 & 5 Lever, but not British Standard. This style has the key hole and door knob or handle side by side. Most commonly used on large, period doors.
  • Push / Pull Roller Bolt Mortice Sashlocks – available in both 3 & 5 Lever, but not British Standard.
  • Sliding Door Mortice Sashlocks – available in both 3 & 5 Lever, but not British Standard. Typically used with a Flush Handle to pull the door open and closed and a key operates the lock.
  • Bathroom Mortice Sashlock – used for bathrooms, WCs and En-suites. Instead of having a key, it is for use with a Bathroom Privacy Turn. Horizontal, Push / Pull and Sliding Door versions are also available. Standard or Heavy Sprung.
  • They are available in Standard sprung versions. All but the British Standard are available Heavy Sprung.

Mortice Deadlocks

A mortice deadlock is simply a lock that is operated by a key. They are available in 3 Lever, 5 Lever and 5 Lever British Standard. There is also a Tubular Mortice Deadbolt. Similar in size to the Tubular Latch, but it is operated by a Bathroom Privacy Turn.

Choosing the Right Size

It is important to get the right size of lock for both your door and door furniture. This is both for practical reasons, not hitting your knuckles on the frame or ‘Strike Plate’, and to look right.

We recommend that when fitting Door Knobs, you choose lock or latch that is at least 100mm. This will give you a ‘Backset’ of at least 75mm and will stop you from hitting your hand. The ‘Backset’ is the distance between the centre of the door knob and the edge of the door. If you have chosen larger door knobs, then you may want to consider a 127mm or 151mm lock or latch.

For Lever Handles we would usually recommend a 63mm or 76mm lock of latch. Not only do levers naturally position your hand away from the door’s edge, but they look better closer to the edge of the door.

You do need to consider where the lock or latch will be positioned. In our experience it is better to do this before buying door furniture. We have had many customers who fall in love with, and buy door knobs only to find they simply do not have the room in the door for the right size lock. If you have a ‘Horizontal Rail’ that you can position your door furniture on, then you shouldn’t have a problem with lock or latch size. If you have to fit the lock or latch to the ‘Vertical Stile’ then you need to know how wide it is. This is even more important if the door is glazed or has decorative beading. Some stiles are only 100mm wide which means you can’t mortice out the 100mm needed to have door knobs.

Browse our full range of Mortice Locks and Latches.

We hope you have found our Mortice Locks & Latches Guide useful, but if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch or give us a call on 01630 647748.