Multipoint Locks Continue to Gain Momentum

Benefits seen in patio door market are translating into growing demand for entry doors
Amber Grayson, Amesbury Door Hardware
March 1, 2007
FEATURE ARTICLE | Materials & Components

Society continues to demand better and better security, both at home and work. Homeowners and businesses alike want to ensure they are protected against the opportunist thief. Additionally, insurance companies have been quick to demand that every practical step is taken to minimize the risk of theft. The reporting of crime suggests this problem is not going away, and none of us wants to experience the feeling of violation that follows in the aftermath of an intrusion into our home or business. Hooks or tongues at various locking points not only provide maximum security, they assure precise door alignment to provide better weather resistance.

Partially in response to trends, door security has changed dramatically over the years. Hardware is moving from the simplest of single locks to today’s multipoint locking solutions. The combinations of hooks and shoot bolts in multipoint systems offer unprecedented security and weather resistance in homes and businesses. This type of hardware first gained popularity in patio doors. Today, homeowners and builders are seeing the value of using this high security style lock on entrance doors of many homes in North America. Entrance door manufacturers and prehangers are making changes to embrace this time-tested European style of locking, to improve their customer’s sense of security.

Typically, there are at least three locking points on a multipoint system. This divides the “forced entry” pressure or load across the full length of the door panel, instead of only in the middle. Hooks or tongues used at the various locking points provide precise compression of the weatherseal and door alignment in the frame, ensuring the lock operates smoothly and achieves maximum security. Additional security is achieved by the effective use of shoot bolts that throw a bolt into the head and sill of the frame by an upward movement of the handle.The range of multipoint handleset styles offered by manufacturers today can accommodate the most discriminating buyers.

Multipoint lock systems most commonly come in several pieces, are assembled in the door factory or prehanging operation and then installed in the door. This allows door manufacturers with multiple door height offerings to utilize several lock extensions, while only having to stock one main lock body. These components can be easily trimmed for customized panel heights.

Multipoint locks grabbed the attention, and the confidence, of patio door manufacturers for one main reason—wood door panels can warp. The nature of wood allows the panel to “change or move” during the life of the patio door. For this reason, the door could pull away from the weatherseal, allowing air, dirt and even water to leak inside, as well as reducing the security of the door. The use of multipoint locks has proven to be a key component in the reduction of these problems. The success of these products in wood doors has also translated to demand in vinyl, aluminum and other types of doors. Increasing demand for hardware that can meet the needs of coastal applications has led to ready availability of complete stainless steel systems. Entrance door manufacturers are recognizing the value and need of installing a stainless steel multipoint lock for the same reasons.

Code and market requirements are translating to growth in demand for tested, rated and certified patio and entrance doors in the fenestration industry. Invariably, the use of multipoint locks will be one of the key components that will help door suppliers meet and exceed code requirements. As the bar is raised to improve security and weathering demands, the multipoint lock system is the solution moving forward.

Multipoint lock systems are available with a plethora of handlesets from which to choose. More than 30 colors and plated finishes are available on the market today, along with styles capable of satisfying the most discriminating homeowners. Handlesets in popular finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze, satin nickel and even the more rustic or weathered cast bronze handlesets appear to be gaining in popularity.

Amber Grayson is hardware marketing manager of Amesbury Door Hardware, based in Sioux Falls, SD. She has been with the hardware manufacturer and distributor for more than 3 years. Amesbury Door Hardware, one of the first U.S. companies to bring English multi-point lock hardware to North America, is a division of Amesbury Group/Laird Group, headquartered in the United Kingdom with manufacturing and sales facilities throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. In partnership with its sister company, ERA, one of England’s prominent multipoint lock manufactures, Amesbury Door Hardware brings the experience and reliability of products proven in the UK to the North American market. In addition to the South Dakota location, Amesbury Door Hardware operates a manufacturing/distribution facility in Buellton, CA. For further information about Amesbury Door Hardware, please contact or see the company’s Web site at