Your locks utilize latches or bolts to engage your door frame and secure your doors. They come in several varieties depending on the type of installation or manufacture however, there are a few standards which making their identification pretty easy.
Standard Face Plate - This face plate is recessed into the edge of the door. This type of face plate is either square or has rounded edges. A manufactures name can be seen on the plate, if there is no name then in most cases it is a generic import. every bolt should provide a minimum of 1" "throw" or projection to provide adequate security.
Drive In - the drive in bolt performs the same as the standard face plate bolt, however it does not require and mortise cut out or chiseling into your door. A standard bolt can be used in place of the drive in with minor alteration to the door however, a drive in bolt is cannot typically be used in place of the standard bolt unless it is designed to accommodate twist on face plates as shown in the example below.
Latches - A latch is similar in first appearance to the bolts however, the latch has a beveled shape. Latches automatically "latch" a door when closed, a bolt must be turned manually. Latches also come as drive-ins like the bolts above.
What is a Deadlatch? - The protrusion shown in the illustration below identify the latch as having an auxiliary feature which prevents the latch from retracting under pressure when in the projected position and properly engaged with the strike plate on the door frame. This feature is used on key operated locks and prevents bypassing or shimming with credit cards or a similar material or tool. Latches without this feature should not be used for security areas where key operated locks are required. Passage locks, closets and bathrooms typically utilize latches without the deadlatch feature.
Call your local Society of Professional Locksmith member when seeking advice or service!
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Tom Lynch, CRL