What’s the Difference?

Locksmith Express
Etobicoke, Mississauga, North York, East York, Scarborough, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Oakville

In this week’s blog, Locksmith Express Toronto explore the differences and applications between two types of locks commonly used by Locksmith Express Toronto in commercial construction environments: cylindrical and mortise.

Cylindrical Lock Example by Locksmith Express Toronto:

The cylindrical lock was invented by Walter Schlage in 1923. The bored cylindrical lock arose from a need for a more cost-effective method of locking doors. The previous norm (still the norm in Europe), the mortise lock, is a more complex device, and its higher manufacturing cost as well as its more labor-intensive installation make the bored cylindrical lock an ideal substitute, both in price and functionality. Because the mortise lock has a larger lock case, a larger and more complex volume must be removed from the door before it can be installed, but the mortise lock may offer additional functions compared to a cylindrical lock; for instance, the mortise lock may include a deadbolt in a single unit, while the cylindrical lock would require separate face bores for a deadbolt and doorknob.  The 1923 patent evolved from an earlier Schlage patent filed in 1920 for a lock whose installation required a face bore and surface rabbet, which simplified door preparation compared to a mortise lock.

Mortise Lock Example by Locksmith Express Toronto:

A mortise lock (also spelled mortice lock in UK) is a lock that requires a pocket—the mortise—to be cut into the edge of the door or piece of furniture into which the lock is to be fitted. In most parts of the world, mortise locks are found on older buildings constructed before the advent of bored cylindrical locks, but they have recently become more common in commercial and upmarket residential construction in Canada. They are widely used in domestic properties of all ages in Europe.

These types of locks require special door preparation by a professional, so if your door isn’t currently cut to fit this kind of lock, you (or a professional installer) will need to use a mortise saw to cut into the door so the lock fits properly to operate. Take note that not all mortise locks have the same dimensions. Prior to any door alteration, take careful measurements.

What is the difference?

Cylinder Locks vs Mortise Locks

INSTALLATIONAre also known as “bored locks” since two perpendicular holes are bored into door prior to installation.Requires a mortise (or “pocket”) to be cut into the door prior to installation.
COMPONENTSConsist of a lock chassis, two levers (or knobs), a key-in-lever, and a latch bolt.Consist of a lock chassis, two levers (or knobs or hospital latch “paddles”) and a mortise cylinder.
ADVANTAGESMost common lock type. Are quickly installed, replaced, or re keyed.

Come in a variety of finishes, door thicknesses, and strike options. Keying requirements can be accommodated.

Common lock function are available.

Though generally more expensive than cylindrical locks, mortise locks feature a wider variety of available trim designs. They offer building owner additional security and durability over bored locks.

Available with integrated deadbolts that retract at the sane time as latch bolt. The feature provides the building owner with a stout deadbolt for extra security. This is a better and stronger solution than the separate “double bore” prep set-ups commonly found on residential doors. A very durable lock.

Come with a variety of features, such as stainless steel components for corrosion resistance, occupancy indicators, decorate roses and escutcheons, over-sized ADA thumb turns, and detention-grade anti-vandal features.

An extensive variety of lock functions are available to suit almost any application

DISADVANTAGESHeavy use and high abuse environment such as schools, hospitals, and sports stadiums can take their toll an even the best cylindrical locks. To solve, request a Grade 1 Heavy Duty cylindrical lock set, or consider an upgrade to a mortise lockset in high-abuse areas.

Limited offerings in lever designs.

Additional security comes with additional cost.

Preps are not universal between manufacturers, so locks cannot be swapped for each other.

APPLICATIONSCan be used in many types of construction: interior or exterior, new or retrofit. Commercial doors should have commercial locks. Cylindrical locks are sold in two grades: Grade 1 Heavy Duty, and Grade 2 Standard Duty. Both grades are significantly tougher than common residential “tubular” locks. They can also be fire rated, which is usually not possible for tubular locks. Can be used in many types of construction: interior or exterior, new or retrofit. They are commonly found in older buildings, or new buildings that require a greater level of security. They can endure decades of use.