With Halloween approaching, we want to provide some helpful tips about door security and convenience. This blog post covers some of the trade-offs that can be made when choosing door hardware that is used for door security.

It can be spooky to have your security compromised without warning. We want to help prevent this wherever and whenever possible. No door security system is completely invulnerable, but there are ways to improve it so that weaknesses are hard to find.

Mechanical Locks vs. Electric Access Control

When selecting the type of locking hardware for a door, you should consider who needs access to the area. This can be determined by the type of occupancy that is specified for the building or other considerations. The people who have access will either need a key or a key card. So which is better?

Simply having a locked door handle is not enough to ensure complete security. How the lock is keyed and who has copies of the keys can vary greatly. If the door lock is cross-keyed and master-keyed and can therefore be operated by several different change keys, then you have a high chance for what is called a “ghost key”. A ghost key is a cut key that fits the cylinder and operates the locking function of the hardware but was never meant to work in that lock. A ghost key works because there are so many combinations in the cylinder that the ghost key combination will operate a random combination that was not planned.

Ghost keys are scary business. Who wants to go into a locked room only to find someone inside that shouldn’t be there? It’s as if they walked right through the door like a ghost!

A way around having so many keys operating one door lock is to add electronic access control. This way, a key card or key code can be used and assigned to individuals. When key cards are lost or key codes are forgotten, the electronic credential reader can be reprogrammed or new credentials can be issued without having to re-key the locking hardware.

Commercial Door Closers

This situation is pretty straight forward. You walk into a secure area or space and you forget to close the door behind you. Simple mistake. But that can lead to trouble if you’re not careful. A door closer can be installed to help ensure the door closes behind you and latches securely.

Besides the obvious benefit of keeping a door closed as it should be, door closers also help maintain climate controlled areas, door closers help reduce sound transmission, and they can control the door in other ways. This includes having built-in door stops or hold-open functions that help in controlling the flow of traffic through the door opening.

Egress and Life Safety

A common question that comes up when thinking about functions of locking hardware is, “If the door gets locked will I be able to get out from the inside?” The quick answer to this is, yes. Most of the common lock functions available for door locks and hardware allows for free egress (or “free exit”) through the door. Life safety codes often dictate where installed hardware must function for free egress.

In a panic situation you would want to be able to get through a door to safety no matter what. That is unless a scary monster is waiting for you on the other side of the door. Then you would want the outside trim to stay locked and function very securely.

When the door hardware is used for egress it doesn’t mean the outside trim has to be unlocked. The function of the installed hardware may unlock the outside trim as the inside trim is operated or the hardware might remain locked. For example, when a panic device is installed on a door, the panic device allows immediate and free egress while the outside lever will remain locked if the trim functions accordingly.


Whenever a question of convenience, security, or life safety comes up, Beacon Commercial Door & Lock can help. We provide onsite consultations as well as free estimates for projects that are new or existing. Beacon stocks many well known hardware brands as well as doors and frames for purchase. Come in today or call to get quality service. We’ve been in business for over 52 years and have the experience and support to help you get the job done.

Happy Halloween!