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8 Types of Barn Door Latches

Thursday December 2nd, 2021
Sliding barn doors have become wildly popular in recent years, thanks to their space-saving nature and the unique aesthetic they provide. One of the biggest concerns for sliding barn doors, though, is maintaining the same level of security that a standard hinged door provides. Thankfully, with the right barn door latch, you can have the best of both worlds. Latches like these can provide all the privacy and security you need:

8 Types of Barn Door Latches

  1. Hook and Eye Latch
  2. Self-Latching Systems
  3. Tear Drop Latch
  4. Privacy Barn Door Lock
  5. Surface-Mounted Privacy Lock
  6. Cane Floor Bolt
  7. Hasp Lock System
  8. Barrel Slide Bolt
Each of these latching and locking systems is designed to provide a different level of security. Some of these will work best when closing interior doors, such as closets and bathroom doors. Others are intended to provide heightened security for exterior-facing barn doors, such as sliding barn doors on sheds, garages, and barns. Finally, some of these locks are ideal for high-security situations, such as home or work offices, wine rooms, gun rooms, and supply rooms. By choosing the right system, your door will provide you with as much security as it does aesthetic enjoyment.

What is a Barn Door Latch?

Sliding barn doors have become popular for use in nearly every type of structure—from barns and houses to sheds and sunrooms. Not only does their beauty and aesthetic appeal add to the value to the inside or outside of a home, but modern hardware for these doors provides an extra layer of safety and efficiency when in use.

Understandably, one of the biggest concerns when installing a sliding barn door is security. Will it be able to close and provide the type of security and privacy a regular hinged door provides?

We are happy to tell you that, with the right type of barn door lock, the answer is a resounding yes.

A barn door latch can come in a variety of styles to meet the needs of homeowners and business owners. The styles are directly related to the layer of security they provide. A barn door for closet latch, for example, will provide adequate closing power, but the latch doesn’t need to provide the type of security required for a home office or even an exterior-facing door on a shed that stores expensive power equipment.

Barn Door Latch Types

There are a wide variety of barn door latch ideas for varying circumstances. The latch types outlined below cover just about every need. When it comes down to it, every latch for barn door security will, at a minimum, keep your barn door shut, provide privacy, and establish a layer of security that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

1. Hook and Eye Latch

Of any barn door lock, the hook and eye latch is the most simple and straightforward sliding barn door lock available. If you’re looking for an unobtrusive barn door lock that matches your sliding barn door hardware and is easy to install, look no further.

The hook and eye latch comes in two parts – the hook and the latch. When it comes to sliding doors, the hook gets installed on the door, and the latch is placed onto the wall or door jamb. When the door is closed, you can place the hook into the latch and the door will be secured. If anyone on the outside tries to open the door, the latch will grab and prohibit the door from opening.

Best for: Light interior use for areas, including bathrooms, closets, storage, and other low-security areas.
Not intended for: Heavy use, exterior-facing doors, high-security needs.

2. Self-Latching Systems

If you’re looking for a latch lock system that can be locked from either side of the door and automatically latches, look no further! The self-latching lock system is ideal for interior sliding barn doors that need to latch closed without supervision and lock from time to time from either side. This type of lock isn’t meant for a high-security situation or exterior door, but for interior light use, you might not find a better latching hardware kit.

The self-latching system can be fitted to existing doors and installs simply, with no drilling into walls or doorjambs required. You can choose the finish to match your existing hardware and mount this system for instant use with single sliding barn doors, bi parting barn doors, and bypassing barn doors.

Best for: Light interior use, such as home offices, libraries, playrooms, and other areas where locking from either side is preferred.

Not intended for: Heavy use, exterior-facing doorways, or high-security needs in homes or office buildings.

3. Tear Drop Latch

One of the simplest designs for a latch is the tear drop latch. Installation is fast and easy, enabling you to install and put the latch to use in under a half-hour. Though this type of latch is not of the same caliber as a privacy lock, it will keep your barn door secured and in place when in use.

The tear drop latch consists of two pieces: a tear drop latch that mounts on the jamb, and the receiving plate that mounts on the door. When the plate matches up with the latch, the latch can be tilted toward the plate until it fits securely into the slot, securing the door. When in use, the door won’t be able to be accidentally opened or moved. This lock can only be engaged on one side of the door.

The latch comes in numerous finishes such as matte black, oil rubbed bronze, brushed steel, and white to match the style and tone of your barn door. Installation is simple and can easily be mounted onto an existing barn door.

Best for: Light interior use for areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Not intended for: Heavy use, exterior-facing doors, or high-security needs in home spaces or business settings.

4. Privacy Barn Door Lock

A privacy barn door lock is the perfect option for providing the ability to securely lock a barn door for complete privacy. This is ideal for high security needs, such as commercial settings—including bathrooms and dressing rooms, or residential settings where a more durable lock is required. While this is a more heavy-duty lock than others on this list, it can only be locked from one side by using a thumb turn. For this reason, this application is ideal for a bathroom or dressing room.

The look is elegant, and can easily match your style and existing barn door hardware depending on the finish and thumb turn style you choose. You can choose a thumb turn based on style, or ADA compatibility for commercial settings. These locking thumb turns are especially helpful for users with limited dexterity and degrading eyesight.

Installation is a bit more intensive, but can still be DIYed. For this setup to work, the tubular drive-in bolt is mortised into the door jamb stud. You’ll then install a strike plate onto the backside of the sliding barn door, and an emergency release feature is installed on the outside. This type of lock setup works for any door thickness of four inches or more.
All mounting hardware, including screws, is included in the privacy barn door lock kit.

Best for: Moderate use for low-security areas, such as bathrooms, dressing rooms, and bedrooms.

Not intended for: Excessive use, exterior-facing doors, and high-security areas that require a locking mechanism that can open the door from either side.

5. Surface-Mounted Privacy Lock

For a different kind of privacy lock with fewer installation requirements and no wall cuts, the surface-mounted privacy lock might be the answer. This surface-mounted lock can easily be installed with the included installation instructions, and you don’t have to worry about drilling into drywall, finding studs, or damaging moulding.

The lock mounts inside the door jamb, and the bolt-style lock extends to fit into the strike plate whenever the lever is pushed down. A strike plate is installed on the backside of the barn door. When locked, you’ll be provided with complete privacy.

The locking mechanism is simple to use and is best for users with limited dexterity. The locking mechanism works from the inside of the door only.

Best for: Light to moderate use for low-security needs such as bathrooms and bedrooms.

Not intended for: Heavy use, high-security situations, doors that need to be locked from either side.

6. Cane Floor Bolt

A cane floor bolt consists of the bolt and a catch plate that is installed into the floor. When you want to lock the door, you slide the bolt vertically downward until the bolt fits into the catch and locks. These types of locks are not double-sided, so you can only lock and unlock them from the inside of the door. However, as a barn door latch, they work well and prevent the door from opening.

Like any of the latch and lock systems in this article, the cane floor bolt can be crafted to match your existing barn door hardware. As a sliding door latch, the cane floor bolt is simple to use and straightforward in the way it functions. If you need to prevent your barn door from opening, and you’re looking for a door latch for one-side locking, then the cane floor bolt might be the answer.

Best for: Interior use, simple security requirements, bedrooms, and offices.

Not intended for: Exterior use, high-security requirements, locking and unlocking from the outside.

7. Hasp Lock System

Hasp locks are commonly used in real-world farm and barn settings for a double barn door latch, a gate, and other outside areas that require a secure latch and lock. The hasp lock consists of two parts, including a metal plate with a loop and an overlapping metal plate with a slot that the loop fits into. When both metal plates layer over each other, a latch is created.

For a secure lock, many people place a Master Lock into the hasp loop to secure it. The Master Lock can only be unlocked with a key, making this an efficient, effective, and highly secure method for locking a barn door. The lock can only be closed and locked from the outside.

While stainless steel hasp locks may not match with your sliding barn door hardware, if you’re planning to use this on an actual barn, a work shed, or another outside area, style may not be as much of a concern for you.

Best for: High-security needs, locking from the outside, use with the addition of a Master Lock.

Not intended for: Use as an interior barn door latch, low-security needs, interior settings.

8. Barrel Slide Bolt

The barrel slide bolt is an extremely secure barn door latch lock because it can be locked by sliding the bolt on one side and unlocked with a key on the other. Installation is straightforward, with the the bolt installed on the inside of the door and the key plate installed on the outside. This type of lock is compatible with sliding barn doors and provides a high level of security for residential and commercial settings.

Best for: Heavy use, high-security situations, including exterior facing doors that must be unlocked with a key from the outside.

Not intended for: Light use, low security, and one side only locking requirements.

How to Choose the Right Barn Door Latch

When choosing a barn door latch for your sliding barn door, you need to ask yourself two questions. First, what level of privacy or security do you want? Second, do you want the latch to blend in and match with your sliding barn door?

Each type of latch discussed in this article comes with a certain level of privacy or security. For example, a hook and eye latch is ideal for simple closures, such as the door to a closet or bathroom. The tear drop latch is also beneficial for this type of setting. These types of locks, however, may not provide enough security for exterior-facing doors, such as the door to a workshop, shed, garage, or all-seasons porch.

The greater security you require, the more heavy-duty you want the latch to be. Latches that provide a higher amount of security include options such as the barrel slide bolt, the surface-mounted privacy lock, and a standard privacy lock.

You may also want a lock that is simple to operate for users that have special needs, such as the vision-impaired or those with lower levels of dexterity in their hands. For these situations, a self-latching system might be the best choice.

Now, how do you ensure that the latch accents the door, rather than detracts from its aesthetic appeal? At BarnDoorHardware.com, we understand the need for privacy, safety, and style. That’s why many options come in multiple styles to perfectly accent your sliding barn door. Privacy locks, for example, come with a metal backing plate that can be round, square, or rectangular. The lock turn itself also comes in a variety of shapes, including oval, oblong, and rectangular.

In addition to the right type, you’ll want to select the right style. You can do this by opting for metal finishes that best complement your door. Stainless steel, for example, works well on many modern sliding barn doors. Flat black metal provides a more rustic or industrial feel. While the color of the metal may not seem like a significant change, even something as small as changing from a stainless steel to a flat black finish can provide the sense of design uniformity you’re searching for.

How to Maintain Barn Door Latches

Regular maintenance of your sliding barn door and barn door latches is essential if you want to keep them both in excellent working condition for years to come. While indoor door locks and latches are largely maintenance-free, it’s still important to follow a regular cleaning schedule to keep them clear of dust and buildup. Exterior doors have different needs, and often require more frequent maintenance and cleaning.

For indoor sliding barn doors, you’ll generally want to incorporate sliding barn door hardware, such as the latches, into your regular cleaning routine. If your door is in your master bedroom, for example, try to incorporate the cleaning and maintenance of your barn door hardware on the same day you’re doing dusting and vacuuming. Attaching this to-do to an item already on your cleaning schedule is probably the easiest way to make sure you keep your barn door hardware cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.

Interior barn doors should be monitored for a buildup of dust, dirt, and natural oils from hands. Depending on where the door and latch are located, you may want to clean it on a daily basis. For example, high traffic areas, such as bathroom doors, back doors, and shared closets, may require daily attention.

To clean interior barn door latches, you’ll want to use a clean, soft cloth and some white vinegar. Splash a little vinegar onto the cloth and wipe down the metal. Vinegar helps remove dirt, dust, and grime while protecting special finishes on your hardware. You can also use regular household cleaners, as long as they’re safe for the type of metal latch on your door.

After you’ve wiped the metal down and dried it off, take a drop or two of olive oil and rub it onto the metal using another clean cloth. Rub it with a dry cloth until it shines, and you’ll have a nice protective coating that keeps the metal latch looking good as new.

Exterior sliding barn door latches require a similar cleaning process, but you may need to increase the frequency depending on how much traffic the door experiences and where it is. If the door is in a particularly windy, dusty area, or it gets used all day long, then you might want to clean it on a daily basis rather.

A Barn Door Latch Means Privacy and Security

Contrary to popular thought, sliding barn doors can be just as safe and secure as regular swinging or hinged doors. While they function differently by sliding and conserving space, they don’t have to compromise privacy, which is a key consideration for exterior and interior doors, alike.

By installing the proper barn door latch for your door, you can provide an extra layer of privacy for entryways to spaces like bathrooms and bedrooms. Other locks provide security for exterior facing doors on garages, workshops, sheds, pool houses, sunrooms, and back patios. With the right latch, you can have a stylish, updated, modern sliding barn door.

Thankfully, there are a wide variety of latches that are perfect for different security needs and privacy preferences. From simple hook and eye latches and tear drop latches to the more complex latch and lock or privacy lock system—you’ll never have to be without the proper latching mechanism for your door.

With the variety of choices available through BarnDoorHardware.com, you can choose a barn door latch that will perfectly meet your security needs, in addition to matching the rest of the hardware on your sliding barn door. And with just a little maintenance, you’ll have a locking mechanism that will look stunning for years to come.

Browse through the options that BarnDoorHardware.com has to offer and pick your favorite. Did you read about an option on this list, but don’t see it on our site? Contact us and we’ll help you out. We have industry connections, and we can provide the types of locks talked about in this article, even if they’re not on our website. We look forward to working with you!
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