In choosing a lock for an exterior door, Reeb offers cylindrical, mortise, and multi-point. Of these three options, multi-point locks provide the best security and protection from the elements.
Mike Lippincott walks you through the multi-point lock options from Therma-Tru®, Trilennium®, and Tru-Lock®
Additional Resource : Multi-point Lock Comparison PDF
All doors have some sort of latching mechanism to hold the door tight against the weather strip for a
good seal, and a lock to provide security.
Locks come in a variety of styles, options, and finishes, but generally fall into three categories, cylindrical, mortise, and multi-point.
Cylindrical locks require only two bores. One in the face of the door to accommodate the lock chassis, and the other in the edge of the door for the latch bolt. This makes for a quick and easy installation. Because of the simple prep, quick installation, and low cost, cylindrical locks are very common in homes, and offices, in both interior and exterior doors.
Mortise locks dominated the markets years ago before cylindrical locks arrived on the scene, and they’re still popular in many custom and premium doors today. The body of a mortise lock isn’t round like a cylindrical lock. They’re rectangular and commonly referred to as a box. Unlike the cylindrical lock that gets installed through the door, mortise locks sit in a pocket in the door. Mortise locks offer a few advantages but the most important is added security. The box itself is heavy-duty and the bolt is rectangular, offering more stopping power. Some mortise locks feature bolts that are reinforced with hardened steel inserts for maximum protection and security. The box itself is complex with a series of notches and levers, and it’s totally concealed when the door is closed. Mortise locks also include a feature which prevents the ability to retract the latch with a credit card, and lastly, they’re more aesthetically pleasing because of their clean look and old antique charm.
The best option for security is a multi-point lock. By definition, multi-point locks secure the door to the frame or astragal at multiple points. This locking system provides a better seal, and enhanced security for your home. However, multi-point locks require additional preparation in the face and edge of the door, as well as the frame. Like mortise locks, multi-point locks need a pocket in the edge of the door to accommodate the box mechanism. Multi-point locks also need a channel routed in the edge of the door, to the other points of contact. From an action standpoint, most multi-point locks retract the latch to open the door when the lever is pushed down, and engages the locking tongues or bolts when pulled up.
Multi-point locks are especially beneficial in two scenarios. First, with 8’ doors, to prevent warping and maintaining a good seal the entire length of the door. In fact, you’re doing your customer a disservice if you don’t highly recommend multi-point locks with all 8’ doors. And second, in extreme wind situations, when the pressure is so great that it could separate the door and weather strip, creating a leak.
As with other door hardware, multi-point locks come in a variety of styles and trim finishes. And typically, the main face of the mechanism in the door edge and the strike plates have a stainless steel finish. Reeb offers three distinctly different multi-point lock options.
Our Therma-Tru door offering comes with a Therma-Tru approved, multi-point lock from Hoppe. It has a relatively low profile with tongues that pivot out, or shoot bolts that extend into the sill and head jamb. In fact, this is the only multi-point lock system that we stock that offers either tongue or shoot bolt options; all others are tongue only. The base product is sized for a 6/8 height door, but comes with extenders for 7 and 8 foot doors. It can also be shortened to fit cut-down doors up to 3 inches. This lock has a unique feature that prevents the tongues or bolts from being extended when the door is in the open position, which prevents damaging the frame. The Therma-Tru multi-point lock is available in 5 trim styles in both narrow and wide widths, and 7 trim finishes. Other hardware manufacturers such as Emtek and Baldwin make products compatible with this multi-point lock system expanding your style and finish options. Most importantly, Hoppe is the approved multi-point lock for the Therma-Tru warranty, which covers the entire door system.
Our standard multi-point lock product for wood doors is the Trilennium lock from Endura. Where most multi-point locks include one latch and multiple bolts, the Trilennium multi-point lock features 3 latches that double as bolts when they’re engaged. Latches in 3 different points provide a better seal to the weather strip as an added measure against leaks. Latches differ from bolts in that they drop into the keeper without any action needed from the operator. Latches of the Trilennium lock retract to open the door when the lever is pushed down, and extend deeper into the frame when the lever is pulled up. In double door applications, shoot bolts are extended into the sill and head jamb. The Trilennium lock also features a beefy, one piece, I-beam that not only increases the strength and precision of the lock, but actually strengthens the edge of the door as an additional measure to help prevent warping over the life of the door. Cut-downs are not an issue as the total length of the edge-prep is only 55 1/2 inches. Make sure you specify 2 1/8 inch face prep for our stock eclipsed trim, or 1 11/16” face prep based on the hardware to be used. This lock comes in different sizes – 6/8, which we also use in our 7-0 doors, as well as 8-0, and can also be special ordered in 9-0 and 10-0 sizes.
As a third option, we offer Tru-Lock. Tru-Lock offers 2 points of contact approximately 18” apart, and requires the least amount of prep. This product works in conjunction with standard deadbolt bores and hardware, and is available in two finishes. Tru-Lock is an excellent choice when traditional knob or thumb-latch hardware is used, and it also serves as a great after-market multi-point solution.
Here are some special considerations regarding double door applications as they relate to multi-point locks. First, installation is more critical than for single units. The unit has to be square for the door panels to meet evenly, and shimming must be correct to ensure proper spacing. It’s imperative that the head jamb be secured as well. We like securing the active door with head and foot bolts because it holds the door at structural points, versus securing the door to the passive door. Note that the head and sill capture preps for flush or astragal shoot bolts are done in the field. The head jamb capture plate needs to be mortised into the head on site, and make sure the sill capture cup supplied must be caulked in place to avoid possible water infiltration.
So you’ve got cylindrical, mortise, and multi-point locks. Of the 3, we prefer multi-point locks because of their superior sealing and security benefits. There are many options. Consider these options based on
your own exposure and security needs.