Rustic elements like barn doors are popular in contemporary interior design, but they aren’t traditional doors. Locking a door is critical for safety, but how can you lock a barn door?
You can lock a barn door if it is fitted with the appropriate lock. Latch locks are often used with barn doors, but a barrel slide bolt can be fixed if you prefer a key. Other options, such as a teardrop lock, are also available.
This article will focus on the different types of locks suitable for use with a barn door and the problems you might face when locking your barn door.
A barn door is a rustic-styled door that hangs in place and slides to open. It is different from a regular sliding door because it does not slide into the wall but rather alongside it. This distinction is what makes barn doors unique.
However, the sliding mechanism of this type of door is what makes it more difficult to lock the door. A traditional door is fitted inside the wall and is surrounded by a door frame. When a key is used to turn a standard lock, a metal bolt protrudes into the door frame — this isn’t an option with barn doors.
Traditional barn doors are locked using a padlock, but this is not suitable for a barn door used in interior design because it is a one-way lock. As such, you cannot open the door from the inside because you won’t have access to the padlock.
To lock interior barn doors, a variety of alternative locks are used instead of the standard lock. These locks enable the user to unlock/lock the door from both sides. Here are a few options to consider:
Another relatively common type of lock used with barn doors is a hasp lock. It consists of a hinged clasp that can be fitted with a key on the pinned side. Ths lock is suitable for barn doors because the pin and clasp don’t need to be at the same level.
However, it’s worth mentioning that this lock is only as strong as its weakest link — the hinge. As opposed to the sturdy and hard-to-break deadbolts of a barrel bolt lock, a hasp lock can break easily with a strong enough shove from those with malicious intent.
If you are considering using a hasp lock, try to buy the best quality possible. The Alise Clasp Keyed Hasp Lock is very sturdy despite the price. It’s also quite stylish.
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For interior doors like bathrooms and bedrooms, you may not want or need to lock/unlock them from both sides. As such, a one-sided lock is more appropriate in these situations. For barn doors, you can easily install latch locks and floor bolts for one-sided control.
A latch lock is more appropriate for bathrooms and bedrooms. It is a typical hook and eye type of lock. While this type of lock is secure, the downside is that you cannot lock the door from the outside at all. Also, it is considered unsafe compared to modern bathroom locks that can be easily opened from the outside in an emergency.
There are several types of latch locks available. These include:
- Hook-and-eye latch
- 90° flip latch
- Chain latch
The differences between the types of latch locks are mainly aesthetic, so feel free to choose based on your preferences and the overall design theme of your interior space.
I prefer hook-and-eye latches like the Raswik 4”/10-cm Easy Lock. It’s stylish and provides convenient privacy and a little added security.
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Floor bolts are better suited for exterior doors that you only need access to from one side — such as a main entrance or even a backyard door. Also called a cane bolt, this is a type of lock where a large cane or rod runs vertically along the door and protrudes into a hole on the floor. Although highly secure, its use in interior barn-style doors is inconvenient.
If you are solely looking for privacy when locking your sliding barn door, a teardrop lock is a stylish option to consider. Note that this type of lock offers no security at all because it can easily be opened on the other side using a tool.
Teardrop locks work well with barn doors that have a large gap between the door and the wall. Basically, a triangular-shaped “latch” can slide into a socket in the door to keep it locked shut. These work best for bathrooms, bedrooms, or perhaps a kitchen. They serve the same purpose as a standard lock used on bathroom doors that can be unlocked from the outside using a screwdriver.
I found this DIYHD Stainless Steel Sliding Lock very easy to install. It’s made of durable stainless steel and fits well.
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While a single sliding barn door poses problems with installing a lock, double-sliding barn doors are entirely different. Firstly, a standard lock works well with this type of door because the bolt can protrude from one door into the other.
Hook and latch kits also work well with double-sliding doors, plus there’s a variety of stylish options available.
What to Consider When Shopping for Barn Door Locks
There are so many small details in interior design you might not have considered until you begin. However, these details can change the functionality of your home and affect the aesthetics tool.
Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind when shopping for locks for your sliding barn doors.
- Privacy vs. security: Consider the function of the lock on your barn door. Do you only need privacy, or are you looking for something more secure?
- Measure, and measure again: You’ll need to measure exactly how much room you have for the lock installation and how big a gap your barn doors have. If the gap is bigger than the lock, you won’t be able to lock the door.
- Matching hardware: For aesthetic purposes, consider the color of the rest of your door’s hardware before deciding upon the lock to install. Because barn doors are super rustic, their hardware tends to be obvious, and any clashes would stick out.
- Hollow vs. solid doors: For some locks, installation requires making space inside the door to fit some of the hardware. In that case, a hollow door won’t be compatible.
- Flush mounted vs. surface mounted: Consider how you want the lock to look after the installation. Do you want to mount the locks flush so that little to no part of the lock protrudes out of the door? Or do you prefer mounting the lock onto the surface of the barn door? There is no right answer, but you should choose before doing your shopping.
Shopping for barn door locks shouldn’t be a complicated matter if you take into account the aforementioned points. This should help you eliminate unsuitable locks so you only choose from the best options to suit your needs.
To conclude, it is possible to lock a barn door, whether from one side or both. When shopping for locks, make sure that it is suitable for your specific barn door because every door is different.
Measure your door’s dimensions before purchasing and installing a lock, or hire a professional for the best results. Remember that not all barn doors need locks, but you can install them if necessary.
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