An email message came in recently from a customer needing to replace a defective deadbolt latchbolt and they wanted to know if we had the part to replace it. Unfortunately not all latchbolts are the same and there isn’t a universal option out there. At TheHardwareHut.com we stock three brands of replacement latchbolts, Dexter by Schlage, Schlage Residential and Schlage Commercial, and Emtek. Lets talk about the brands and what options they come with.
First you’ll need a little knowledge on faceplates and backsets.
These are the decorative plates around the bolt that comes out of the edge of the door. There are three options – Radius Corner, Square Corner, Drive In. If on the edge of the door the routered out area for the latch has round corners you’ll need the Radius, if they are square corners you’ll need the Square, if there is no routed out area then you’ll need the Drive In.
A Triple-Option latch typically comes packaged with all three faceplate options to make it interchangeable in the field. Using Schlage as an example, their triple-option latches come preinstalled with a radius mortise faceplate, but also include a square corner faceplate and a drive-in faceplate. To switch to square you insert a flat head screw driver in a slot on both ends of the faceplate and turn a little to separate the finished piece from the holding piece behind it. Be careful not to damage the holding piece behind it. Now the square faceplate won’t lock into place on the holding piece as the radius corner one did, and that is perfectly fine, it will still install the same. If you need to switch to the drive in, you’ll do the same process but after the faceplate is removed you’ll turn the holding piece behind it to line up with some tabs on the latch so it’ll come off, you can then put on your drive in faceplate lining up with the tabs.
The backset is the distance from the edge of the door to the exact center of the hole bored in the door. In the US they are typically 2-3/8″ or 2-3/4″. Rarely will you find 2″ or 5″ but they do exist.
Dexter by Schlage – This one is a little tricky as Dexter existed before Schlage bought them. When Schlage took over making the locks they changed them just enough that the new latchbolts don’t work in the place of the old ones. You’ll want to check the faceplate of the latchbolt to see if it says Dexter or Dexter by Schlage. We only carry the Dexter by Schlage latches and again, they won’t work with the old Dexter models. The Dexter by Schlage bolts are adjustable from 2-3/8″ to 2-3/4″. Adjusting them from 2-3/8″ to 2-3/4″ isn’t as intuitive as I had thought, you first have to extend the bolt, then twist down, pull it apart, then twist back up to set it in place. The tailpiece of the deadbolt fits through a Plus Sign or Cross shaped piece that activates the latch. They are supplied with triple option faceplates.
Schlage Residential – The Schlage residential series has an adjustable backset from 2-3/8″ to 2-3/4″ and is super easy to change between. Hold each end of the latch in each hand and twist 180 degrees. You’ll know which backset it is on by the little markings on the latchbolt that tell you so. These have a slot with a large round hole in the center for the tailpiece of the deadbolt and come with a triple option latch.
Schlage Commercial – The commercial versions are NOT adjustable so you’ll need to measure your backset first. The shape is the slot with a large round hole in the center just like the Schlage Residential. These come in two faceplate options, square corner mortise or drive in.
Emtek – The latchbolts from Emtek are also NOT adjustable backsets so measure first. The shape is Plus Sign or Cross like the Dexter by Schlage. We only stock them with square corner faceplates. We can special order a radius corner option for you if you need one, Emtek does NOT make a drive in version for their deadbolt latches.
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