Home ImprovementThumb Turn Locks 101: What Are They and How They Function
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Bathroom thumb-turn locks are budget-friendly and a simple way to achieve a relaxing experience in your bathroom without worrying that someone will interrupt you. Your bathroom door lock not only gives you privacy but can also be opened from the outside in case of an emergency. It’s no wonder why so many people have these convenient and affordable.
Now, you are probably eager to know:
Then, read along and learn how to fit a bathroom door lock.
Like any standard lock, the bathroom thumb turn lock (also known as a turnkey, thumb turn latch) allows you to prevent unwanted entry and embarrassing mishaps. So, you never have to worry about your privacy with a turn of a little knob. The difference comes from:
In the simplest terms, you set the thumb turn clockwise to lock, and anti-clockwise to unlock. The mechanical explanation behind this is: when twisted, the thumb turn operates a deadbolt to lock/unlock the door from the inside of the bathroom. It’s simple as that.
Once you’ve chosen the bathroom thumb turn lock and are prepared for the work, it’s time to fit it. We warn you that the task may be tricky, tedious, and may cause hammering mishaps. So, better follow the professional’s thumb turn lock fitting instructions. Or, leave it to the lock fitters if you don’t feel confident enough.
Installing a thumb turn lock on a new bathroom door is straightforward. But if you wish to replace your tarnished, old-fashioned or faulty lock with a thumb turn, you have to pass one more step: the removal of the existing door hardware. To change the lock you you have to unscrew the current lock mechanism and alter the hole(s) to fit the new turn & release set.
This task could be challenging, but you never know until you try. So, let’s start by covering a few tips on how to fit a bathroom lock on a new door:
When open, the door may move back and forth. So, use an extra hand to help out, a scrap piece of wood, a book, or a door wedge to support it before drilling. Then, step number one is to use the body of the lock as a template and mark the desired lock position.
No rules here. All you need is a place that is accessible, functional, and brings you ultimate comfort. As a guide, the height of your lock should be around 1m above the floor.
Use a standard pencil to mark the top and the bottom of the door lock mechanism on the door. Then, find the door edge centre-point and pencil in a straight, vertical line through the marked points to aid the drilling process.
Now, you have to drill with a suitable boring bit to make a hole for the lock. If you want to admire your work, the preparation tips below may be helpful:
Once you have prepared, start upside down by making a series of drills down the vertical line you’ve already drawn. Allow the holes to overlap, so you can finally form a tunnel where the lock mechanism will be accommodated.
You see, the lock mechanism slot is bumpy. So, carve the holes with a sharp chisel to smooth the hole sides. Also, dust and wood chips will build up. Then, the vacuum cleaner will come in as a handy tool to suck them up. Finally, you only have to set the lockset into the hole and test if the diameter/depth of the tunnel is enough. If not, you can always adjust it.
Once the “bed” for the lock mechanism is ready, your next step is to craft the recess for the lock to sit flush with the door. Here’s what to do step-by-step:
Do you see the small holes inside the locking mechanism? This is where the screws for the handle and thumb turn spindle should fit into.
Just hold the door lock as straight as possible in position against the face of the door (next to the area where you will insert it into the door). Once you find the correct place, pencil in the handle spindle and thumb turn spindle to aid the drilling. Each mark corresponds to a screw hole, so remember to mark both sides of the door. Then, use the same wood drill bit and drill over the marks.
We warn you — don’t drill all the way through the door. Complete the drilling through the other side to prevent the risk of wood split and paint chips. You can also start with a 2mm drill bit to reduce the risk of splitting. Then, proceed with the correct size bit for the screw.
Once the thumb turn and handle holes are made, you need to secure the lock mechanism in place. Double-check if the spindle holes align. If everything is alright, push the lock mechanism through the opening, cover it with the latch plate and screw them in.
To finish the task, place the handle spindle through the hole and slide the handle on the spindle on the other side. Tighten them with screws.
Follow the same logic to fit the bathroom thumb turn spindle. Here, you have two options to consider:
When you decide, pre-drill pilot holes and secure the thumb turn with screws. Finally, check if the handle operates the latch correctly and if the thumb turn is rotating smoothly. If not, the culprit should be the alignment of all components.
You can’t say the fitting of our bathroom thumb turn lock is done until you fit the strike plate. So, your next step is to locate it following the instructions by the lock manufacturer. If a template is not available, align the faceplate and the latch with the strike plate on the door jamb to create a preliminary outline of the last one. Use the markings as a reference to position onto the metal part on the door jamb.
With everything marked out, it’s now time to put the drill and chisel in action. Hollow out the hole for the bolt to form a 1-2mm recess — as deep as the strike plate. Do a light sanding if unwanted protrusions are in the way. This will help you remove the excessive wood until you reach the needed depth and the surface is flat.
The process produces a lot of dust and wood chips. For the finishing touches, clean them out with a vacuum cleaner and a soft lint-free cloth. Or, let the experts make your home sparkling clean. At the final line, remember to test-fit and secure the plate with screws. Ensure the lock works flawlessly. And don’t bother with any marks left from the pencil – you can rub them off with an eraser.
That’s it — you are all done.
You want a sturdy bathroom thumb turn lock that runs smoothly, resists corrosion, and withstands the test of time, don’t you? Here’s what you need to know about these quality bathroom locks:
Still confused? If you are not familiar with the technical jargon and the bathroom thumb turn lockset, check out the major parts:
A thumb turn lock might sound very much like a privacy lock, but there is a difference. Bathroom thumbturn locks have an emergency coin release on the exterior side of the door while the actual thumb turn mechanism is on the inside. The point is for you to be able to lock it when you’re inside the bathroom without anyone disturbing you. Still, in case of emergency, the door can be unlocked from the outside with a coin.
Privacy locks are quite similar. They also have a button or a tab that people turn when inside the room. The difference is that these locks unlock when you turn the handle from the inside. A small convenience, actually.
While you might be enthusiastic and endlessly fascinated that you can fit a privacy lock, don’t try to do everything on your own. Lots of things can go wrong. For example, your hand may shake for a moment and you can damage the door. Even shaping a straight, square recess is a problem until you have mastered it.
In case fitting/replacing a thumb turn lock seems like a lot of effort, your best bet is to entrust the task to the professionals. From fitting a thumb turn lock on a new toilet/bathroom/changing room door to replacing the current lock mechanism, they can tackle them all! So, save yourself the hassle and let the Fantastic Services lock installers do the precise work instead of you. And if you want to know how much fitting a lock can cost you, our helpful post has the answers!
A Fantastic locksmith is up for the task!
Now, it’s your turn. Please, share questions or further tips in the comment section below!