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The Difference Between Rim Locks and Mortise Locks?

Door Lock Security

Commercial and residential security can include security alarms, security cameras, and more. If small businesses or homes can’t afford different types of security devices, there is always the durability and security of door locks. 

Improving and upgrading door security is a top priority for everyone. Securing all doors in commercial businesses and residential homes is vital because it is the first point of attack entry for burglars. Burglars will try all doors, front, back, side, and patio to gain entry against your loved ones and causing harm to a company. “A door is only as strong as the locks you use.” Therefore, you want the best on all your internal and external doors. 

Rim Locks and Mortise Locks


Do You Want to Mortise or Rim?

Popular locks on homes and businesses throughout the country are Mortise and Rim cylinder locks. At first glance, a Rim cylinder lock may appear no different from a Mortise cylinder lock. It can take some inspection to figure out just what type of lock you are working with at your location. When installed, these locks look very similar. 

They come in similar sizes and often have a Rim piece that keeps them secure against damages and the pick and bump force of illegal entry. Knowing what type of lock you have in residential or commercial environments will help you to understand the right locks for your protection. Let’s take a quick look at their difference beyond the similar looks at a glance:

Features – Rim Cylinder Locks 

  1. Lock uses long screws or mounting bolts to hold it in place on the surface of a door
  2. A thin piece of metal sticks out from the rear of the lock that rotates when a key is inserted and turned
  3. Its tailpieces are commonly cut to a specific length 
  4. Traditional Rim cylinders can be converted to a Mortise cylinder

Rim locks affixed to a door’s inner and outer surface with a small latch, also known as a night latch system. Rim locks come in two types – a sash lock and a deadlock. A sash lock is a simple feature that contains a handle to have it recede. Rim deadlocks don’t need a handle. Standard Rim locks can be installed to fit left and right opening doors, or they can be fitted for left or right-handed persons.

The locks are historically square or rectangular. A traditional Rim lock is most often used for internal doors like closets, bedroom doors, or bathroom doors. There are two types of Rim locks that include a “night latch” and the “deadbolt” door lock. 

For a night latch lock, a key is required when you want to enter a room. Otherwise, when you are inside a room, the door will open, then close behind you and lock automatically. For a deadbolt Rim lock your door will lock only with the use of a key.

Even though Rim locks are best used for internal use rather than being a standalone security lock, 

People are using it to popularize their decorative design more in homes and businesses. Locksmiths are called to structures to refit, refurbish and reproduce these antique-looking locks. 

Features – Mortise Cylinder Locks

  1. Lock uses a cylinder nut or threading to hold it in place,
  2. Features a “camshaft or cam” that is the tailpiece. It is equal to the back of the lock that rotates when a key is inserted and turned.
  3. Its tailpieces are available in different types of cams.
  4. A Mortise cylinder can be converted to a Rim Cylinder with the aid of a kit.

This lock features both a latch bolt and a deadbolt. It fits inside a door pocket with a plate installed directly into the doorframe. 

Additional Mortise lock features are pin tumbler locking mechanism in a cylinder and flat blade key. 

A specific door width is required for a Mortise lock. Doors with a minimum diameter of 45mm are the best type for a Mortise lock. To remain secure behind a lock is attributable to the Mortise cylinder lock because of its durability and sturdiness against intruders. 

Our London Locksmith is the perfect expert to install this lock because it is not a DIY project. While looking for your query on google “24/7 Locksmiths near me,” you can find our expert locksmiths throughout London. They will be able to install it properly as a Mortise lock requires a specific cut fit that only a handyman can perform expertly.

Also, a Mortise lock with an outside threading feature is designed in a way that reminds you of the threading that is on certain fastening screws. Which is why this lock design is so secure. To operate the Mortise lock, you must rotate it so that the threads fit perfectly into corresponding grooves. This is all – other than turning the lock cylinder, your Mortise lock requires to be secured to the door. 

Is That A Rim or A Mortise?

A Rim lock commonly uses two bolts secures to a thin metal plate located on the opposite side of a door. This works by sliding lock from the front and then fastening the bolts from the other side of the door. That is why Rim locks are advantageous because it is a lock and a latch.

Also, like a Rim lock, a Mortise lock features a “sash lock” and a “deadlock.” A Mortise sash lock features a non-locking spring latch that locks with the help of its door handle. A Mortise deadlock is designed with a locking function using a pin tumbler Rim lock, but there are no handles or a door latch. 

In an engaging business environment, you want the best security lock system available. For example, a lock that is installed on a hollow metal door rather than a wooden door will give you greater security. People forget that a lock alone is good, but it must be affixed to the right door surface.

Yes, there are installation and operating differences between Rim and Mortise locks, but both are perfect for securing businesses and residential homes. Architects and locksmiths have a long history (100 years) with period Mortise locks.

These old locks are most often found in older buildings. Mortise locks were used in historic structures for their security features but also their upscale design. 

Lock History

Rim locks also have their historical existence. Europe Rim locks were favored security locks before the U.S. installed them in the mid-1800s. The feature of Rims has not changed very much over the years, which is why they too can still be found on older structures throughout the U.S. and in Europe. 

Rim lock history can be dated back to the early 1800s. Interestingly, a Rim lock and a Mortise lock are kissing cousins because the creator of the Rim lock worked with a partner who is responsible for creating the modern-day Mortise lock.

Rim Lock Door Types and Insurance

Rim locks are available in different types and designs. Many businesses and residential homes enjoy the early historical designs of locks like the Victorian Rim locks. Rim locks can be used on varying door types as in wood and metallic. Rim Locks require unique doorknobs, which generally involve those with loose backplates. 

Banham Modern Day Locks

Modern Rim and Mortise technology locks are personified through the Banham EL4000. Having been around since 1926, the Banham company stands behind its proven locking devices. The Banham EL4000 is so secure that the EL4000 system is protected via a cylinder and a specialized Key patent. 

The Banham EL4000 door lock features a latent opening Rim night latch that features a top-quality secure electric release mechanism. In London, if you are looking 24/7 locksmiths for the installation of the Banham EL4000 in varied architectural designs. Then “London Locksmith 24h” is your free-of-charge phone contact and commitment-free service provider.  

Rim and Mortise Lock Endnote

In summary, the main difference between the Rim and the Mortise cylinder locks is their tailpieces and how they fit into the lock. To further highlight differences, the Mortise lock is designed with a threaded exterior and a cam, while the Rim stem is smooth. Mortise locks are installed inside a door, whereas Rim locks are installed on the external surface of a door. 

For the best indoor security, it is best to use a professional locksmith. Understanding how a lock gets designed is the knowledge you need for the right installation purposes, which is security. A local 24/7 locksmiths near you is the “London Locksmith 24h” service that is available for emergency lockouts, cabinet/post boxes, replacement locks, and so much more.

If you have queries or questions relating to the type of locks best fitted for your door type, then don’t worry you can get your questions answered by contacting a certified locksmith to assess your security. In our homes and our work locations, where there are doors, we need the best in security to help keep us safe in a changing world.