How Are Locks Rated And Graded

ULC Rating

ULC Rating

Locks are either fire rated or they are not. A fire rated lock is not required when used in an external door application. The fire rated lock is mostly found in a setting where there are doors that lead from a common area like a hallway into a stairwell which is also considered to be a fire exit.

They are usually rated by ULC (Underwriters Laboratories Canada). ULC places the lock under stringent testing in order to determine the length of time that the lock can withstand fire before melting. This gives the lock its fire rating.

As far as lock grades are concerned there are three grades available in commercial and residential type deadbolt and handle style locks. Quite simply the lock is either Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3. The grading is established through the number of uses that a lock is able to endure before showing signs of wear.

A Grade 1 type handle or deadbolt is the best lock you can buy and is usually more expensive than the other two grades. It really depends on the application as to whether you require a Grade 1 lock or not. These are usually used in a high traffic area where it is expected that it will see a high volume of use.

The Grade 2 handle or deadbolt type lock is a medium duty type lock that can be used on doors that see a considerable amount of use but not high usage. Apartment, condominium, townhouse and even homes have this type of lock on the doors.

Both Grade 1 and Grade 2 type deadbolts usually have the same features built in and the only difference between the two grades is the wear factor of the lock although one may have a fire rating and the other not. Both are usually supplied with and keyed to a solid brass 6 pin cylinder. They also have a hardened ring that hides behind the lock trim ring that goes around the lock face. The center of the bolt also contains a hardened steel rod that is impossible to cut. Both locksets are usually supplied with 1/4″ bolts that sandwich the front and back of the lock to the door.

Generally speaking Grade 3 locks are usually used in applications where there they see very little use. The lock cylinder and housing can be composed of brass, plastic or cast metal and can be any combination of these three materials. Some of these deadbolts will have a hardened piece of steel in the middle of the bolt but usually none have a tempered steel ring as these rings are usually hollow. They are in most instances supplied with a 5 pin cylinder. Grade 3 locks provide absolute minimal protection.

The grade of lock you choose, and whether it is fire rated or not really is dictated by its intended use.

Security Article Written by: Toronto Locksmith


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