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Security Basics

How to Lock a Door Without a Lock

Posted June 18, 2020 by Cove

How To Lock a Door without a lock, shows a lock, screwdriver, and rope symbol.

Locking a door without a lock sounds impossible, or at least extremely difficult. However, there are actually several simple tricks that make locking lockless doors uncomplicated and easy. But, before we share our simple tricks, why would you want to lock a door without a lock?

There are doors in every home that are lockless. They’re meant to be used as a door from one room to another and not as a security measure. Often, bedroom, closet, and pantry doors will not have locks. In some cases, however, you may want to lock the door. A locked bedroom door can give you more privacy and help you to feel safer. No matter the reason, locking the keyless door is easy, even without a lock. Just make sure you have another way in and out of the now-locked door since the only way to unlock one of these doors is by unlocking it from the inside.

Now that you know why you might want to lock a lockless door, let’s discover DIY and commercial options that can help you lock a door.

Temporary DIY Door Lock Options

Here’s how to lock a door with items around your home.

Infographic: 5 ways to lock a door without a lock.

1. Block the Door From the Inside

The first, and perhaps the easiest of these easy tips, is to block the door. To successfully block the door, you will need to do it from the inside. If you try to block the door from the outside, the intruder can simply push the objects to the side.

You can block the door by moving furniture in front of the door. If you move a bookshelf or chest in front of the door, you’ll have a DIY door lock that will make it harder for the intruder to push the door open. Unless you’re trying to prevent the Hulk from busting through the door, it’s likely that moving furniture in front of the door frame will prevent anyone from getting the door open.

A black cushioned folding chair in a studio.

2. Remove the Door Handle

Another easy way to lock a door is by removing the handle. To describe this tactic briefly, a person can’t get into a room without using the door knob. If you remove the knob, the door won’t open. When a door handle turns, it retracts a latch. The latch is what closes a door and holds the door closed. When a door is locked, the lock is simply preventing the door handle from turning. If you are desperate to lock a door, you can remove the knob on the outside.

To remove the door handle, you will need a head screwdriver (such as a Phillips head screwdriver) or a flat head screwdriver. With the screwdriver, unscrew the bolts holding the door handle in place. When the bolts are removed, pull off the knob. For most basic doors, this should be the end of the process. Once the door handle is removed, however, you will need to put the handle back on to unlock the door from the outside.

We do not recommend using this trick unless you’re desperate to have a locked door. Once you remove the handle, you will be locked in the room. If the door is the only way out, you’ll have to replace the handle to get back out. This could put you in a dangerous situation if a disaster occurs. This means that no one will be able to get to you, and you won’t be able to get out. We don't recommend using this option if you’re trying to lock the bathroom door for privacy in your family’s home. Instead, try communication. We recommend trying other door lock hacks before removing the door handle for simple door locks.

A red screwdriver on a wooden surface.

3. Anchor the Door Handle

Another way you can lock a door with no lock is by anchoring the door handle. Anchoring the door handle will physically prevent the door from being opened from the outside. If the door you’re locking swings outward, connect the inside handle to something sturdy in the room. It’s best to secure the handle to the bottom leg of a heavy piece of furniture or even to another door handle. This prevents the door from opening because of the weight behind the door handle. If the person on the other side of the door was to open the door, they would have to pull the entire anchor to get the door open.

You can find other ways to anchor the door handle and prevent the door from opening, though it might take some innovation.


4. Fork

It may seem crazy, but did you know you can make a DIY door lock with forks? This process takes a little work, but it can come in handy when you have a door with no lock or a broken lock. The best fork for this project has tines about two inches long and a tapered handle. Here’s how you do it.

Find a fork that fits inside the latch hole of the lock. Once you have it, use a permanent marker to mark how deep the fork sits in the latch. Now you’ll need to use a hammer to bend the tines at a 90-degree angle along that measurement line. When you get the fork bent, it’s time to cut the handle off. We recommend using a hand saw for this, but anything that cuts through metal will work. Make sure the handle fits between the tines, and you’re almost done with your DIY door lock.

Put the bent tines in the latch hole and shut the door. Take the handle and put it into the middle space of the fork, pushing it in until it can’t move anymore, and you’re done. You’ve learned how to lock a door with a fork!

A Hand Opening a Door to a Hotel Suite.

5. Belt or Rope

For double-handle doors, tie the two door handles together. You can do this with rope, string, zip ties, or even a shirt. When the two door handles are tied, the door will open at the same time. However, since the doors open simultaneously, the tie between the handles will only allow the door to open a few inches. This type of lock works best for french doors and double doors.

6. Use a Chair

The fastest way to block a door from the inside is by placing a chair under the door knob. You’ve likely seen this maneuver done in movies, but we’ll help you accomplish it on your own.

To block the door with a chair, you will need a chair. The chair needs to be the right size to fit under the door knob. If the chair is too tall, it won’t have the proper leverage, and if the chair is too short, it won’t be able to reach the handle. Once you’ve found a chair that fits under the knob, lean the chair on its back legs and wedge the back of the chair under the door handle against the door. If someone tries to open the door against the chair, the top of the chair will hit the door handle, making the chair sturdy as a barricade and DIY door lock.

7. Use a Doorstop

You can make a DIY doorstop in a pinch from different materials around your home. You just need to follow some simple guidelines to make it work.

You should place the doorstop 1-3 inches from the edge of the door. Make sure your DIY doorstop has a wedge shape with an angle of 15-30 degrees. This angle depends on the size of the gap beneath your door. Fit the wedge snugly between the door and floor. The tighter the fit, the better it should stay in place. Use a sturdy material. Rubber is ideal, but cardboard or fabric would also work. We don’t recommend using plastic, though. Whichever material you use, ensure it has a non-slip bottom to keep it secure.

Simply fold the material accordion-style and pinch the side that goes under the door. Once the doorstop is in place, you can fan open the outside edge to create a taller piece.

Commercial Door Lock Options

8. Use Portable Door Lock

A portable lock provides a temporary way to lock the door. The lock itself is completely portable and will move with you. The lock can be attached to the door in minutes and will also work to lock sliding doors, depending on the portable lock you use. There are several types of portable door locks that you can use to secure a door.

The first type of door lock that you can use is called the Addalock. The Addalock is a branded portable door lock meant for locking doors without locks. It works by locking the handle of the door in place. Since the lock is mobile, it can be used at hotels, AirBNBs, and while traveling. It adds additional security to any door, whether that door is in your home or while you’re traveling, and helps you feel safer.

Another portable door lock is the traveler's security lock. This type of door lock is more advanced than the Addalock and provides additional security. It is completely removable and can be reused on different doors. It works best on inward opening doors. The difference between the Addalock and the traveler's security locks is that the traveler's security lock can withstand more force than the Addalock. For travelers looking to lock their doors against forceful entry, the traveler's security lock might be a better option than the Addalock.

9. Install a Door Alarm

A door alarm “locks” a door in a different way than the other door locks. Instead, it prevents a person from entering a room because it sets off an alarm. The door alarm is installed on the door by connecting one part of the alarm to the door frame and the other to the door itself. The two parts connect when the door is closed and create an electrical current. The current is broken when the door is opened, and an alarm is triggered. Even if the intruder were to lock pick the door successfully, the alarm would still be activated the moment the intruder opens the door.

If you’re worried about home intrusions, door alarms are one of the best ways to prevent someone from entering the house or a specific room. A study done by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology determined that intruders are deterred most efficiently by alarms. Most burglars are good at lockpicking and are willing to shove through a door if needed. However, alarms scare burglars away because it alerts neighbors and local police authorities that something is wrong. So, although a door alarm doesn’t “lock” a door, it does provide the same safety benefits as a locked door.

10. Security Bar

The last thing you can use to block a door is a door security bar. A door security bar works similarly to placing a chair under the door handle. It is secured under the door handle and connects to the floor at an angle. The angle prevents the door from opening inward. Another type of door bar is the outswing door security bar. This type of bar is installed parallel to the floor of the room and physically pushes up against the door. The door will collide with the bar when someone tries to open the door. However, with an outswing door security bar, it will be difficult to lock and unlock the door.

11. Door Jammer

A door jammer works similarly to a doorstop, though it is stronger and more effective. This door lock is a triangle-shaped device with an added knob at the bottom of one side and a flat edge on the other. A door jammer should be placed in line with the door handle for the best results.

When you need to use a door jammer, simply slip the flat end under the door and make sure the jammer is snug against the door. The knob at the bottom is a screw, and you’ll turn it clockwise until it is secure against the floor. Pull on the door handle to ensure the door doesn’t open, and you’re ready. This is a great way to lock a door without a lock or with a broken lock.

12. Floor Barricade

You can use different floor barricades to lock a door. The first type is a permanent floor barricade with pieces attached to the bottom of the door and the floor in front of it. In an emergency, you slide a handle into the door piece that then drops in the floor piece. This prevents the door from being opened since it is anchored against the floor.

Another option works similarly to a door jammer, but it is larger and fits across the entire bottom of the door. These floor barricades slip under the door and have anchors on the back that push against the floor to keep them in place when you need them.

13. Strike Plate Lock

The strike plate is the metal portion of your door-locking system that sits on the door frame, so these types of door locks work around that space.

A strike plate lock works similarly to the DIY fork lock above. A metal piece is anchored into the latch hole and held in place when the door is closed. Then, another piece fits into the anchor to securely keep the whole lock in place.

White Door Sensor Attached to Open White Door

Safest Ways to Lock a Door

Now that you know how to lock a door, we think that it’s important to know the safest ways to secure the door. When it comes to door locks, not all locks are created equal. Some locks can be picked using a pin or quarter, while others are nearly impossible to break into. To have the best security for your home, you will need to ensure that your doors have the best locks.

If you’re looking for portable security, portable locks will always be your best option. To better secure your home or lock a door with no lock, you should think more about what type of locks you use on your outside doors.

Deadbolt

The safest door lock is a deadbolt. A deadbolt can withstand significant force, and it will be incredibly difficult for a burglar to break into a door that is locked with a deadbolt. The deadbolt has been tested and shown to be able to withstand 100 forceful kicks before it starts to degrade. That means a burglar will have to forcibly pound the foot with their foot (or body slam) 100 times before the door begins to buckle under the weight.

Smart Lock

Another effective lock on a door is the smart lock or smart deadbolt. A smart lock can be locked from your phone, meaning you can control when the door is locked and when it opens. If the door is unlocked, you will get a notification. It’s best to get a smart lock that is a deadbolt lock to ensure that it has strength. Electronic locks, like the smart lock, help ensure your front door's safety. Smart locks may also come with a pin code or pin tumbler. This feature removes the need for a key, making the lock safer and more secure.

Mortise and Latch Bolt

The last two locks that you can use on a door are the mortise lock or the latch bolt. Mortice locks are reliable and strong, meaning they can be used on various doors. However, we recommend using deadbolt locks before a mortise lock because the mortise lock can be picked with a credit card or a simple set of lock picking tools (if the lock picker is experienced). The latch bolt adds additional safety and works as a second lock on any door. It is installed on the inside of the door and attached to the door frame using a chain. Although this is great as a second layer of security, it is not the best to use as your only door lock since the chain can be broken.

Key in keyhole hanging from an open door.

How to Fully Protect Your Home

Locking your door is an important step to feeling safer in your home. Locked doors deter criminals and can make you feel safer while traveling. No matter your reason for wanting to lock your interior door, you should be entitled to that security and privacy.

How can you protect your home from those who are trying to get inside? Installing a door stop or door barricade on your front door isn’t an effective way to protect it. You could also try installing a keyless lock with a key pin; however, this type of lock could still be kicked in. According to a survey done by an Idaho news station, burglars will sooner kick down the front door than break the glass on a window. The interviewed burglar specifically said, “I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, and you risk getting cut.” So, installing a keyless lock won’t stop intruders from getting inside the home.

Door Alarms

The first suggestion is to install a door alarm, which we mentioned earlier in this article. Door alarms are effective because they deter the burglar from entering the home. In KTVB’s survey, they asked 86 convicted burglars the question, “If a home alarm system went off, what would you do?” Most of the burglars responded that they would immediately leave the area. Staying in the area presented more risk than they were willing to take since all eyes in the neighborhood would turn in their direction.

Any exterior door or window could be used as a burglar entrance. To fully protect your home, you need more than a door alarm.

Home Security System

The best way to give your home complete protection is by installing a home security system. A home security system protects more than your front door. It also protects your windows, your family, and your belongings. Home security cameras will provide proof and identification for the police and ensure that the home intruder is recognized and caught.

Some devices that you can expect in a Cove home security system include:

  • Door and Window Sensors. These small, easy devices are installed either below or above the doorknob. They emit a siren the moment the two parts are separated.

  • Motion Sensors. Cove’s motion sensors use PIR motion detection, providing unparalleled security and protection at every corner of the home.

  • Security Cameras. With full-range night vision, motion detection, and 7-days of free cloud storage, the Cove camera is the best option on the market.

  • Touch Alarm Panels. The touch alarm panel acts as the center of your home security system. It is where the homeowner can arm and disarm the system as well as use the “panic” option to call for immediate emergency help.

  • Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector. Although not traditionally considered “security,” smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are actually one of the most essential tools to use in your home. These devices protect against fires and other threats to your home’s safety.

Additional Safety Tips

Homeowners can also protect their homes by physically changing the look and appearance of the home. There are several things that homeowners can do that will protect the home more than installing a locking mechanism on the door.

Make it obvious that you have a home security system Give the impression that someone is home by leaving lights, the TV, or the radio on while you’re gone Leave a car in the driveway

If intruders know your home is protected and they think someone is home, they are less likely to attempt a break-in. Contact Cove today to learn more about securing your home.

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