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What is a Mortise Lock or Latch?

March 17, 2011

Mortise Deadlock
written by Vicki Bale
Mortise Deadlock

Mortise Deadlock in Stainless Steel Insurance and British Standard Approved


When shopping for door furniture you need to consider the lock or latching mechanism. Below we explain about mortise locks and mortise latches. For information on Rim Locks and Rim Latches please refer to our other posting, What is a Rim Lock or Rim Latch?
All pairs of door knobs or door handles which you want to open and close doors require a mechanism. Mortise locks and mortise latches sit in a pocket cut into the edge of your door and come in a variety of different types:-

Mortise Latch– Contains only the latch mechanism (a metal snib which secures into the door frame).These contain a spring which helps knobs and handles return to their original position. All the door knobs and most of the door handles we sell are unsprung and require a heavy duty latch to operate properly. Beware cheap mortise latches which have poor springs and will not work some of our heavy weight quality door knobs and door handles. eg Heavy Duty Latch

Mortise Deadlock – A mortise deadlock is a lock which contains only a key operated bolt. It is often used in conjunction with a separate mortise latch mechanism (used to operate the door knobs or door handles) which allows the door to be opened and closed but remain unlocked for convenience. eg Heavy Duty Deadlock

Mortise Sash Lock– A Sash Lock combines a deadlock and latch in a single mortise box. Beware cheap sash locks,┬áthese need to have a heavy duty spring to work with our door knobs and handles. eg Heavy Duty Sash Lock

Mortise Deadbolt – This is a cylinder which contains a small bolt which is used to lock a bathroom door. These are normally used with a turn and release mechanism. eg Heavy Duty Bathroom Deadbolt

Mortise Euro Lock – A further complication is the emergence of the Euro Lock. These are often used in conjunction with an espagnolette or multi point locking system. They involve inserting rods down the edge of the door, which, when operated by the Euro Lock, bolt the top and bottom of the door.

Door Knobs v Door HandlesDoor knobs need to be installed further away from the the edge of the door than door handles. This is to avoid catching your knuckles between the knob and the door frame. The Heavy Duty Latch 100mm is ideal for door knobs; use a 65mm latch for door handles. On our website you will notice most of our door knobs can be used with a mortise lock or latch. Mortise knobs are on fixed backplates and screw to the door. An 8mm bar or spindle runs through the mechanism. Some are adapted to work in both rim or mortise mechanisms and have loose backplates. Door handles are straightforward and connect to the lock/latch via an 8mm bar.

All the heavy duty locks we sell for external use are British standard and insurance approved. They are all available in brass or stainless finish.

Locks and latches can be complicated. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements.

Please see the photos below showing from left a mortise latch, a mortise deadlock and a mortise sash lock.


Heavy Duty Cylinder LatchHeavy Duty Deadlock BrassHeavy Duty Door Lock

Leave a comment


    Katie says:

    Hi, I have house full of dead lock mortise locks and want to put new knobs on, but when I screw the knobs on it stops the mechanism! Can you tell me what i need to do to solve this? Thanks.

    Vicki Bale says:

    What you are saying does not make any sense, so I can’t comment? I need you to call me on 01746712450 during office hours.

    Your style is unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff
    from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.