If there is anything worse than people being forced to sing for the entire time they are using the bathroom, we don’t know what it is. But if the lock on the bathroom door breaks and you prefer your privacy, that is one of your few options. Fitting a mortice latch replacement can seem daunting but if you take it step by step and have the right tools and hardware to hand, it is really easy.
First, work out what type of lock you actually need. Is it:-
- a simple door latch for an internal door like a living room or bedroom?
- a door you want to have low level security on, such as a bathroom? (Or bedroom!)
- a door you want medium security on such as an internal conservatory door?
- a door that needs full security such as a front or back door?
For the last option, you will need to ideally have a Five-lever Mortice Deadlock conforming to BS 3621. Since your home security depends on it (and you get a home insurance discount for having it correctly) we would recommend you have this fitted by a locksmith so you know the job has been done correctly.
DIY Fitting a Mortice Latch.
Your lock is made up of several parts, a facing plate screwed to the leading edge of your door, some screws and a long thin lock that slots into the door. This may connect with the handle, depending on your lock type or may be a separate piece. It may have a keyhole, or it may just be a simple mechanism for letting a door click shut.
The simplest method is to unscrew the front panel and take it and the internal mechanism to a local, friendly ironmongery stockist, such as Contract Equipment. There are various types of latch, including sash lock and tubular latch, so get help to make sure you buy the right fittings. If your lock is relatively new, you may well be able to replace the entire piece of hardware with either an exact copy or a similarly sized latch.
If you need to get a mortice latch size larger than the original, pick up a chisel (see our tools page for brand suggestions) and use it to gently widen and deepen the channel inside the door. The front plate will also be likely to need some routing as it is sunk slightly into the wood of the door face in order for it to sit flush in the frame. Use a pencil to mark out the new area of the space required and go slowly.
If the new lock is too small for the original space, use a wood filler such as Unibond Wood for Good to fill the gap.
It’s important to make sure the rounded edge of the protruding catch is facing towards the door frame when the mortice latch is fitted. This allows the door to be pushed shut but unlocked with key or handle. Depending on which way your door opens, just turn the latch to suit your requirements.
Depending on your door, you may need to ensure that your new lock interacts with the spring inside the handle element of the door fixings. This handy tutorial will help you replace the door handle spring if it is broken; otherwise, slide the spindle through the hole located in your new latch and fix it in place. The exact method for this will depend on exactly how the handle element of your door is constructed but will be the reverse of how it came apart when you removed the screws!
Finally, screw the front plate back on to the leading edge of the door.
This article is provided as a guide only. Contract Equipment take no responsibility for any injury or damage sustained when changing a mortice latch while following this advice.