Can you lock a barn door?

The answer is definitely “YES”.  But plan ahead a little.  Do you want to lock a single door to its jamb or are you planning on double barn doors with a lock. Do you want to lock from the inside only or from the outside?  Do you want a keyed lock?

And please think about SAFETY!

Let’s start with safety

With small children or elderly people you do not want to ignore the lock type and function,  regardless of the room type, The last thing you want is a scared child locking themselves in the room and not knowing how to release the lock. An elderly person who may have fallen and is stuck in a room that you can not access to provide care.  The slide lock definitely has the ability to be unlocked from outside the door, all that is needed is a credit card or similar object to release the lock.  The tear door latch (depending on the install) can also be unlocked from the outside.  The double door latch lock can also be unlocked from the outside again provided there is a small space allowed during installation. The hook and eye CAN not. Keyed lock obviously can be unlocked form the exterior of the door.

Keyed locks – plan ahead

For double doors (biparting) the locks need to be morticed in to the doors when the doors are built. This is the best method for achieving a nice fit.  It can be done on site but it is rather messy and controlling tolerances is easier when shop fitted.

For a single door planning is key.  A simple retro fit door will not accept a key lock.  New construction or major renovations allow for the prep work.

Essentially, the door when rolled closed must butt into a wall or other framed object.  The wall or other object is what the latch will need to lock into.  This is a bit confusing so just call us and we can talk you through the process.

Room type

Bathrooms are an obvious location for locks (on the bath side).  Master bathrooms are not as much a requirement as often it is just couples who use the master bathroom.  But ½ baths, powder rooms etc., are typical lock required. Our recommendation is the slide or teardrop, if safety is a non issue latches will work fine.

Bedrooms are also a “sometimes” nice to have lock.  Again as with bathrooms consider the safety factors and age of inhabitants.

Key locks- we have seen these on offices, alcohol bar areas, media rooms and commercial jobs. As mentioned above double doors are pretty straight forward but if a single door pre planning is required.  Call us if you need help understanding this process.


By far the keyed lock is most secure followed by the latch lock (if safety is not an issue).  The slide and teardrop locks work well but a sliding barn door has a little bit of play in it (by design) and we have seen cases where pushing/wobbling the door can cause the lock to disengage.  If this is a concern then you may want to select a different lock type.