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I live an apartment and am unable to secure my bedroom door due to a large gap in the frame. Due to the gap, it is extremely easy to take a credit card and open the door from outside. Even when the door is locked, the latch can be depressed! Is there not a type of door lock whose latch will not depress when locked? I am not talking about the deadlatches where there are two latches and the smaller one has to be depressed to prevent the latches from depressing. That will not work due to the door being unaligned.

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  • Remove the gap. If it's behind the stop, then you can fill the gap with glue and tap in a brad or finish nail in front of the plunger. If the card's route's in front of and around the stop, you need to move the latch closer to the stop by moving the plate forward (which involves filling screw holes and re-drilling) or if you're lucky, you can simply thicken the back wall (room side) of the hole in the latch plate, so as to keep the door more tightly shut. I did this in an apt with posterputty and small cut down (a few times) piece of linoleum tile, but any hard flat substance will work.
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 20:51
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    You can put an eye and hook lock on the door and frame to keep you safe w/o touching the lock. There's also temporary locks that prevent occupied entry by wedging or wrapping the frame, sold for travelers mostly. Unoccupied entry prevention w/o lock replacement uses an ugly strap + padlock, nobody wants that...
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 20:54

2 Answers 2

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The deadlatch prevents that from happening.

Your door is horribly mis-installed, so it has no chance of working properly.

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The deadlatch is the small half-moon shaped piston. When the door closes, the latch falls into the hole in the strike plate, but the deadlatch does not.

When the deadlatch is pushed in flush with the door, it pins the latch so it cannot retract. This defeats "credit card" attacks.

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  • Is the physics of an automatic deadlatch that doesn't need to be pushed in to prevent retraction impossible or something? It seems reasonable that using a key to lock the door should prevent retraction, and kind of unreasonable that it does not. Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 13:13
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    @Al the strike needs to be installed properly so the latch falls into the hole but the deadlatch does not. Then the deadlatch will do its job. If it falls into the hole, however, then it won't do anything at all, and credit card attacks will be effective. A correctly configured deadlatch will defeat credit card attacks even if the door is unlocked. Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 17:34
  • To me, it seems reasonable that using a key to lock the door should prevent retraction, and kind of unreasonable that it does not. Even without a deadlatch. Is there an actual reason it can not work without a deadlatch? Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 1:47
  • A latch lets the door close and then holds it closed until retracted (with the intent that it holds the door closed until the knob is turned). This means that it needs to retract when pushed even if the knob is locked to prevent the knob from being turned. The credit card attack simulates the push on the strike plate that happens when the door closes in normal operation. The deadlatch mechanism prevents this simulation by saying that the deadlatch must be pushed in simultaneous to the wedge part of the latch and not after. …
    – RLH
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 2:46
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    To have “locking with the key means I want the bar fro door to frame not to move until I unlock with the key” you need a deadbolt. As compared to a latch, the bolt will not retract automatically when you close the door, meaning that you can only set it after the door is closed.
    – RLH
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 2:50
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Schlage has high security locks that do not retract without using a key. I think it’s Type “C” locksets.

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    I've seen some Grade 1 (I presume it's Schlage but can't tell for sure) hardware that uses a different deadlatch configuration than the norm, but it's mortise-only (as the deadlatch config I'm talking about can't be made in KiK -- it uses a "V" folding latchbolt with the deadlatch mounted at a different spot altogether) and likely going to be hard to retrofit to a residential door to begin with Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 2:21
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    Schlage also makes a “storage lock” which remains locked all the time and cannot be unlocked. A key is required each time to enter or exit. So, not a credit card nor anything will retract the lock except the key.
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 3:43
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    Storage function locksets require the key to enter -- they still permit free egress though Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 3:56
  • "This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content." @LeeSam add your comment to the answer itself, that will be more helpful.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 13:03

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