How to Put a Lock on a Door Without Drilling

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Locking a door is the first and most practical way to provide security for a room, whether you want to ensure privacy in a bathroom, keep children or guests out of unwanted areas, or gain extra security for your belongings when living in shared housing.

However, many people can’t drill into a door due to agreements with landlords, lack of tools, or door materials and door jamb layouts that make it difficult to install a traditional lock.

There are a variety of ways to install a lock on a door that don’t require any drilling, and many of them are simple and inexpensive. Here are a few options.

Keyed-entry Door Knob

Keyed-entry Door Knob 

If you can’t drill to install a lock, consider simply removing and replacing the door knob. Keyed-entry knobs (also called “privacy knobs”) usually have a turning lock on one side of the door, and a keyhole on the other side. They only require a key for entrance in one direction.

They are not secure enough to install on exterior doors, because many of these kinds of locks are relatively easy to defeat with some practice, but they are frequently used for interior doors within a home. They are a good choice for bathrooms and bedrooms, or to prevent accidental entry into basements.

Keyed-entry door knobs with simple turning locks can be accidentally locked by children, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you always have access to the key if you are using a keyed-entry door knob to childproof a home.

Installation of keyed-entry or privacy door knobs can generally be done with a screwdriver, by simply replacing the existing door knob with the new one, using the existing holes in the door.

Temporary or Portable Door Lock

Another option for putting a lock on a door is a temporary or portable door lock. These locks require no drilling or installation, and are great for situations where you don’t want a permanent lock. They are perfect for temporarily childproofing a house for guests, securing a room or space from unwanted intrusions in the case of a remodel or open house when there are a number of unsupervised guests, or for taking with you to add extra security to your hotel room or temporary lodgings.

These locks are generally applicable only for inward-swinging doors, and have the effect of locking you inside the room. They provide extra security while you sleep or bathe, in instances where you are unsure of the security of a space. These kinds of locks typically cannot be used when you are absent, however, or on outward-swinging doors.

Temporary door locks usually work by jamming the door shut from the inside, often by blocking the latch and sometimes by locking the hinge. They install and remove in seconds, and can easily be taken from place to place.

Door Lock

Top-of-Door Lock

Top-of-door locks are another method of childproofing a door, and will not protect a door against unwanted intrusion by an adult. However, they are an effective way of placing a door lock high up and out of reach of children, to prevent unwanted opening and accidental locking by a child. These are generally designed to block a door from opening from either direction, but in a way that can be accessed from either direction by someone who is tall enough. They clamp in place, and require no drilling to install, and can be removed cleanly when they are no longer needed.

Because of the needs of parents and travelers to be able to secure a door without permanently installing or drilling anything, there are a number of options for no-drill locks that are intended to be portable and temporary. However, some of these are only suitable for being installed on doors that open a certain direction or can only be accessed and opened from one side.

While temporary locks can help you secure yourself inside a space for security and privacy while bathing or sleeping, they won’t always work for securing a room when you aren’t present. For the most security on interior doors, consider a keyed-entry door knob, that would allow you to lock and unlock the door with a key or with the turning knob. These knobs allow you to lock a door when leaving, and are good for extra privacy in shared living spaces.

Whatever your goals, you have a number of options for no-drill door locks, for a variety of doors, situations, and needs, that require no tools and won’t violate a rental agreement.

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