This is a rim lock on a swinging "carriage style" garage door from 1925. The lock is terrible, very hard to adjust, and to keep adjusted as seasonal variations occur in the spacing. The lock is keyed on the outside.

What type of lock would be better?

barn door style short throw rim lock bad

  • Is the problem in the alignment only, from top to bottom, or is it also the catch? As in a lot of pressure need to get it to latch, or a hard slam. Each has a different fix. Another question, without the lock, do the doors close well on their own or do they spring back as if something was pushing back? – Jack Dec 10 '13 at 15:29
  • @Jack Everything about the current system sucks. Without the lock the left hand door swings itself open, the right hand one sticks. No hard slam is needed, except to get the parts to line up. A good yank and the door opens even if locked. – Bryce Dec 12 '13 at 19:26
  • It may be good to solve a few issues first, sounds like the doors flap around where they meet, is there a cane bolt for the bottom? If not is there a means to get one panel stationary at the bottom, and while we are at it, the top too. It really would make a big difference if the doors work right first, then add the lock. A few more questions on how you use the garage. This will help determine perhaps what hardware to use, or at the least, how far to take the repairs. Having to slam a door to get it to shut, and dealing with a stuck door, is a real aggravation, if you use the doors regularly – Jack Dec 13 '13 at 1:43
  • @Jack the other problem with the old lock is it's not very secure. The seasonal variations come largely from the frame, not the doors themselves. – Bryce Dec 15 '17 at 5:14

The lock is a standard household door lock, not really designed for doors that slop around as much as garage or barn doors do. You'd have to do a bit of jury-rigging, since they are virtually all designed for modern-style roll-up garage doors, but a garage door style lock will have considerably more slop and adjustability. You'd probably have to mount either an actual section of garage-door track, or simply something else with a slot to accept the tongue/bolt to use most "garage-door" hardware.

Here is one I found looking for "gate" locks, described as a "long throw rimlock" (key cylinder on the other side, this is the inside view) that would not appear to require jury-rigging. Note that there is considerable room for the parts to move up and down or side to side while still locking.

rimlatch lock


Here is a set of doors on a house I am working on they are probably 15-20 years old, been repaired one time. The hardware is very simple, a regular deadbolt, a foot bolt and spring loaded top bolt. After I threw the deadbolt, which locked very easy, I pushed and pulled on the doors, they are very stable for doors that are nearly 8 ft. tall. The active side has a door closer. It is important that the doors at their minimum, no locks, latches. Nothing but the hinges, get that right, make it stable, then add the lock.Pic1Pic2Pic 3Pic 4

I think the diagonal cable is added to torque the door into a different plane so it matches the other door where it meets. Other wise it is on upside down. You may need to add one, or something that does the same thing that will lift the dragging edge that makes the door stick.

Just tossing stuff out there...

  • 1
    The wrong way cable gave me a laugh. They must be solid doors to survive that... – Bryce Dec 15 '17 at 5:16

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