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Locksmithing/Front entry (home) door / lock-handle question



Hi James,

My front door has a (vertical) lever/handle almost exactly the same as the one in the pic. #1 attachment. It has broken, & I never liked it anyway, since IT didn't lock - only the deadbolt locked. (The deadbolt is still attached & working fine).

I would like to install the 'curvy, horizontal' lever, similar to the one in the second pic. attachment.

Are these 2 handles/levers (what I have now, & what I want) interchangeable? Can I just go ahead and remove the the rest of the nonfunctioning (vertical/lock-less) handle, which is duck-taped on, now, and install one like pic #2, (that has a lock - in ADDITION to the existing deadbolt, above it), without any modifications?

The new one, again, would of course have a lock, but should I get one that also has a (key)-lock on the inside, or just a 'turn-bolt' (as my deadbolt has)?

The problem would ultimately be safety, because, since the existing deadbolt does have just a 'turn-bolt' ("Single Action"??) on the inside, and if I also bought the lever with "single bolt action," (just a turn-bolt, ALSO, on the inside), then, someone only has to break one of the huge, 4 panes of glass, reach in, and turn both the deadbolt & lever's "turn-bolts", & unlock both locks.

Since, though, the turn-bolt is so much easier to deal with, and people usually just end up leaving the key IN (the inside lock), or hang it next to the door, I was thinking of going ahead and getting the "turn-bolt" lever, but also buying the strongest/best designed 'barrel-bolt', and installing it near the bottom of the door, out of reach.

Which would you suggest, the twist-knob on the inside of the new lever, and a barrel-bolt; or a 'double-bolt' new lever, which would require a key to unlock it, from the inside, as well as the outside?

And last (I'm sorry for all of these questions - I'm NO handyman), but if you DO think a 'barrel-bolt'-type lock would offer additional safety, what kind would you recommend, and approximately how far down on the door should I install it?

(By the way, the handle & lock are on the right side of the door, if you are standing outside.)

Your thoughts on this would surely help me.

Again, VERY sorry for all of these questions. ANY help that you could give me would greatly help me. Haven't lived here long, & met with flood of problems.

Thank you very much again,

Hello Chris,

A double cylinder deadbolt (one where a key must be used on both sides of the door) is illegal in some areas due to safety laws. They are a hazard and are not recommended on most applications. If you are concerned about someone breaking the glass and reaching in, find a security film supplier and have them apply some to your glass. This is a window film that is adhered to the glass and makes it so you can't break through the glass but the glass will still break, just not allow a hole to be made without a lot of work.  You can find security film providers under Glass or Glazing in the yellow pages.

If you really want a double cylinder deadbolt, keep a key near but not in the lock and let everyone including overnight guests (regular guests are usually only there when the door is unlocked anyway) know where it is in case of emergency. You must first check local codes to see if they are allowed. If you install one where they are not permitted, you could face a fine.

The handleset, the lower part in photo 1, can be replaced with the lever (the lower left lock in photo 2) as can the deadbolt but when your remove a handleset there is a screw at the very bottom that will have to be covered up because a standard lock will not cover that.

If you install a deadbolt lower, make sure it's not too low for anyone you may have over to use, just in case. We generally don't install deadbolts below the knob or lever so I wouldn't know what place would work for you.



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I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.


I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

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