In my 1924 house, I have a swing door between the kitchen and the dining room.

We use the dining room to contain our dogs on rainy days when we don't want them in the rest of the house. The problem is that one of our dogs has figured out that the door does not latch, and then gets out to roam the rest of the house.

I'm trying to find some kind of double sided latch so that the door will latch no matter which side we push.

It seems like my searches always bring me back to regular door handles with one-sided latch, or dead bolts that can be unlocked only on one side.

I don't want to lock the room, like with a key. The latch or bolt must be operated from either side. And it can't be a fence latch, not for a door in my house. The problem is, I don't know if this exists, and I don't know how it would be called.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about or have a practical solution?

Thank you,


  • Is this door a conventional single acting ("push" on one side, "pull" on the other) door, or a double-acting door? Jun 11, 2020 at 12:06
  • There are at least 2 of us assuming this is a swinging door like what one sees on an "old west" saloon.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 11, 2020 at 15:58
  • 1
    Are you opposed to installing a stop and a conventional knob? Does the door really need to swing both ways?
    – isherwood
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:11

3 Answers 3


I am assuming that when you say you have a "swing door" you mean that it swings both ways. That would be called double acting, and most that I have seen in residential settings use an adjustable-tension ball or roller catch:

enter image description here

These are catches as opposed to latches, there is no positive connection. The tension is adjusted by screwing the ball in/out which changes the force the spring behind it applies. A smart dog with a head of steam might be able to head-butt it open, but if adjusted right it might knock him silly unless it's a bulldog.

  • 1
    I voted for this, however, some testing might be necessary to determine if there's enough force in the closing door for it to actually latch. If the ball is adjusted far enough out to hold tight against an enthusiastic dog, it might have too much force to actually let the ball slide past and actuate the latch.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 11, 2020 at 15:55
  • I've used these with a few double (French) doors. They're pretty light protection against a persistent dog. Maybe a person could install several of them for more resistance, but then the user would need to be deliberate when closing the door--gravity or spring hinges wouldn't do it.
    – isherwood
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:12

The only thing I could think of is apparently called a "butterfly latch", and looks like this:

enter image description here
Image courtesy of Hoover Fence. No endorsement implied, it was the first one I could find.

You open the latch by lifting the "wing" on your side, and when the gate (or door, in your case) closes, the swinging force pushes the wing up so it can catch.

Granted, this is very ugly and is designed for a gate in a chain link fence, but it's the only option I could come up with. Maybe a search for "butterfly latch" will yield a nicer looking one, or a local metal worker could make something similar but nicer looking for you.

It's possible that you may be able to find something similar designed for indoor use. I'd think that it would need to have a pretty light action to allow it to actually latch itself with a reasonably light inside door, yet be strong enough to hold back against the force of the dog ramming into it. This thought leads me to believe you may need a custom build, quite likely with an adjustable and/or replaceable spring to get just the right amount of tension for your needs.


Use a conventional bathroom deadbolt, but buy an extra knob so it can be operated from either side.

Typically a bathroom deadbolt will have one knob and the other side will have a slotted cover that engages the spindle. If it's from a range of knobs they you might be able to buy another compatible knob cheaper, or you might have just buy two deadbolts.

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