A deadbolt is a locking mechanism. A cylinder slides into a hole and a bar that is attached to the cylinder is pushed into a groove, causing the cylinder to lock into place. The cylinder then prevents the door from opening. The deadbolt is sometimes more difficult to open without the correct key than the more common spring-bolt lock.
Deadbolt locks are more likely to break or malfunction than spring-bolt locks, which can cause the door to become stuck. When a deadbolt is not functioning properly, in many cases the bolt is having a difficult time finding the throat in the strike plate, which is a metal plate found in the door jamb. The door jamb is the vertical part of the door where the door is secured. You can file the edges of the strike plate or round the edges of the strike plate. If the strike plate still does not work, unscrew it. Fill the screw holes in with wood or glue, and screw the strike plate back into the original location.
Sometimes the key that is used to unlock the deadbolt files down with use. When this happens, the key might not push open the deadbolt, in which case a key smith is needed to produce a replacement key. Those who have more money to spend can purchase deadbolts that have electronic panels with numerical codes that are entered in, or they can install fingerprint scanners.
Deadbolt locks sometimes wear down and stop functioning properly. Some deadbolt locks will open if they are lubricated. If this method does not work, the deadbolt lock is likely broken beyond repair and needs replacing.
Deadbolt-locked doors are more difficult to open without a key. While beneficial in security situations, a home inhabitant is trapped in the event of a fire if the key is not available. Because of this, don't lock deadbolts unless no one is in the room or a key is near the door so that the deadbolt is quickly unlocked. Many deadbolts have a lever on the inside of the home on the door with a keyhole on the outside of the home so that the inhabitants can easily lock and unlock the door without a key, but those outside can open the door with a key. With this lever, the deadbolt is quickly unlocked without a key in the event of a fire.
Doors with deadbolts are very hard to break through. However, repeated kicks with a high amount of force can sometimes get the door jamb to rip, which can cause the strike plate to tear off of the door jamb. Fortunately, you can install door jamb armor on the door that prevents this without heavy equipment. You can also reinforce doors to make them even harder to break down.
- Photo Credit door lock image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com