Regardless of style or size, all homes need security — and installing a night latch is one of cheapest and easiest ways of achieving a safer home. Follow Ben Field’s step-by-step installation guide to find out exactly how to carry out this easy security update.
A night latch is a surface-mounted lock that’s used to secure front and rear doors. It automatically locks itself when closed, making it an easy way of securing an external door. While a night latch may not make an aesthetic impact like other items of door furniture, it will enhance security, bring added peace of mind and can even help to lower home insurance premiums.
There are a number of different specifications of latch, depending on the level of security required. A regular security night latch is cheap to buy – from around £10 – and provides the most basic level of protection. This type of lock is generally fitted in conjunction with a mortice lock. Pay closer to £30 and you’ll get a far more secure lock with automatic deadlocking and a lockable handle.
A maximum-security, British Standard night latch like the Yale PBS1 costs from £60. It includes all the features from the two afore-mentioned lock types, plus a bolt that projects 20mm into a heavy-duty staple, 100,000 key combinations, insurance and police approval, and a 15-year guarantee.
The great news is that you can easily fit one in a morning — particularly if you use our step-by-step DIY guide.
Buying a Latch
Before making a purchase, consider the size of the backset — the distance from the centre of the keyhole to the edge of the door. A standard night latch has a 60mm backset. However, narrower – typically 40mm – backsets are available.
If you’re replacing an older night latch, make a note of the measurement from door edge to keyhole centre so you can buy a new one with the correct backset.
Follow the steps below to find out how to install your own night latch on a new door with our easy-tofollow step-by-step expert guide. If you’re upgrading from an older night latch to a maximum-security replacement, then many of the points will still come in handy.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- 3, 8, 13 and 32mm-drill bits
- Tape measure
- Night latch kit
- Masking tape/ insulation tape
1. The lock set will include a paper template clearly marked to allow the lock barrel to be accurately positioned — the template is designed to be used with either leftor right-hinged doors. Line up the template with the edge of the door at the desired height, and use tape to hold it in place. Use a pencil to spot through the three holes indicated. Use the other side of the template to repeat this step on the exterior side of the door.
2. At the centre mark, drill a 32mm hole for the lock barrel. This hole needs to go right through the door, but bear in mind that if you only drill from one side of the timber you’ll end up splintering the wood when the drill bit emerges on the other side. To avoid this, drill through halfway from the inside, and then drill through the centre mark on the exterior side of the door until you have created a hole right through the door.
3. The other two holes marked off in step one should be drilled from the outside to a depth of 16mm with a 13mm drill bit, and then to a depth of 5mm inside the door with the same drill bit. The best way to get an accurate drill depth is to measure the required depth from the tip of the drill bit and then mark this point with masking tape or insulation tape. As soon as the front edge of the tape is flush with the door, the hole is at the correct depth.
4. Drill right through the centre of the 13mm holes with an 8mm drill bit.
5. The lock set will include a template for marking off the position of the lock body mounting plate and rebate. Position and tape the template in place and then mark off the mounting plate’s holes and rebate position. Drill the three holes to a depth of 32mm with a 3mm drill bit.
6. Line up the projecting section of the lock body with the top and bottom rebate marks made in step five, then mark off the width of the rebate required with a pencil.
7. Chisel the rebate out to a depth of 3mm.
8. Fit the outer lock and door-pull assembly and adjust the length of its connecting bar so that it protrudes 4mm from the surface of the door on the inside. Push the assembly’s fixing bolts through the door, line them up and then tighten them. The bolt heads should end up below the surface of the door.
9. The lock body has a mounting plate that needs to be removed and attached via the holes made in step five. Before the plate is removed you’ll need to line up the arrow on the plate with the raised point on the crossshaped slot.
10. Keep the arrow and raised point lined up, slip the cross-shaped slot over the connecting bar and then screw the mounting plate to the door.
11. Turn the handle on the lock body and hold it in position with the latch button. The time spent in the last two steps keeping the mounting plate in alignment should be rewarded now as you refit the lock body to the plate and screw it in place. Once in position, secure the lock body to the door by screwing through the two holes in the projecting section of the lock.
12. The final part of the job is to fit the staple. Start by closing the door and then mark off the top and bottom positions of the lock body on the door frame. Next, line up the staple with the marks made in the last step and then mark off the width of the rebate needed with a pencil. Finally, chisel out the rebate so that when the staple is fitted there is no more than a 5mm gap between it and the lock body.
13. Screw the staple to the frame and check the lock operates smoothly — your door should now be very secure.