Doors are getting taller these days, and understandably so-a tall door can be much more impressive and attractive than a standard-size door. But 8- or 10-foot doors are harder to secure with standard locks. French doors and patio doors, too, while definitely stylish, are less stable than regular doors when locked.
Multi-point locks that latch into the doorframe at three points instead of one are the latest solution for homeowners who care about both style and security. Not only do multi-point locks fasten your door more solidly in place, they also keep the door from warping or settling unevenly-so when properly installed, a door with multi-point locks can keep out both burglars and the elements and prevent damage to the door and frame.
Types of Multi-Point Locks
Multi-point locks got their start in Europe and have only recently broken onto the American security scene. For this reason, manufacturers have made some adjustments for the American market.
On a European lock, you have to lift the lever to engage the outer two points before you can throw the bolt-something that most Americans find inconvenient. So American-manufactured multi-point locks come with either an automatic locking mechanism, which engages the perimeter bolts automatically when the door closes, or a semi-automatic one that requires you to lift the lever to engage the perimeter bolts, but allows you to throw the main bolt at any time.
Another difference between the European and American multi-point locks is in the thumb-turn that you use to throw the bolt. On the European models, the thumb turn is located below the lever and rotates a full 360 degrees. American thumb-turns are located above the lever and only rotate 90 degrees, so you can tell at a glance whether the door is locked or not.
Multi-point locks are available in a variety of materials, including brass, brushed nickel, black nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze. Most companies will key the lock to match the rest of your entry doors. Some companies also offer a mishandling device that prevents the door from locking if it isn't shut properly.
At the end of the day, you want classy doors that won't let you down in the security department. And yes, trying to line up three bolts with the doorframe can make a door with multi-point locks a little harder to install-but once it's in, the benefits are well worth the effort.