Adding suitable locks to your garage door: DIY guide and all lock types explained to the smallest detail

Each year, there are over 1.4 million burglaries in the United States. The trend is going down thanks to advanced security features and systems that make burglaries almost impossible. Nevertheless, most homeowners believe that burglaries will happen to their house. Actually, most of them occur through a garage. As such, you need to make sure that your garage is strong security link in your home protection and to install all the features you can.

First and foremost, you will lose valuable items from your garage. A new lawnmower can cost you $1000, additional items can cost you even more. Then we have the worst possible outcome. Burglars will use your garage to gain access to your home and they can steal literally anything there. The best feature you need to install as soon as possible is the lock to your garage door. This simple feature offers superb safety and can prevent 99% of burglaries. A good thing is that you can do this type of improvement all by yourself, but you need to know about different types and how to install each one. All of that is explained below.

Where safety locks should be installed?

Most of you have either overhead garage doors or smaller doors that are used by people. Overhead garage doors are controller by garage door openers and they are already safe. You won’t have any issues here and you only need to keep remote controller safe and sound. Yes, even these doors can be opened by force but this is a loud and complicated process that will be impossible for most burglars.

All other garage-related doors have to be secured by locks. This refers to smaller doors that allow you to enter a garage and the ones that link your garage to your house. Both of them are much safer when a safety lock is installed and they will make you and your items safer as well.

All types of garage door locks explained

Not all garage door locks are the same. As a matter of fact, there are 4 different types and each one is different. Each one should be installed in a different way and each one will be the best choice for a specific type of homeowners.

  • Deadbolt
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These locks are the best for most of you. Reasons for that are obvious. They are affordable, easy to install but extremely safe. You will have to use a key to move the locking mechanism from locked to the unlocked position and without a key, it is almost impossible to open the door. Burglars and thieves know this and they will likely avoid that door. Deadbolt locks use pistons that will enter the sides of the door and connect them to the wall.

  • Digital

Digital locks are an enhanced version of the previous type. What this means is that they use the same mechanism to lock the door but they are controlled using a code rather than a key. You won’t have to use the key but a specific code to open or close the door. When it comes to safety, these locks are extremely safe and reasonably affordable but more expensive than the first type. The next best advantage is in the fact they cannot be picked.

  • Electronic (fingerprint locks)

Electronic locks are something special. They are actually an improved version of the digital models. The first advantage is in the fact you will have to use your fingerprint to lock or unlock the door. This makes them extremely safe and immune to all burglars. Then we can see that you can add as many fingerprints as you like. All your family members can use their fingerprints to open or close the door.

The only drawbacks are related to the price and installation. These models do look great and elegant, but they are very expensive and they can cost high. Installation is usually recommended to be completed by the professional technician.

  • Slide Bolt

These locks are a bit special. They are always installed from the inside on the inner side of the door. They will use pistons extended to all corners of the door and they will make it impossible for anyone to open the door from the outside. You won’t be able to open the door from outside either.

The idea here is to secure your garage door when you are inside a house and make it impossible for a burglar to gain access. Most homeowners use them as an additional lock to secure the property rather than a separate lock.  The price is extremely affordable but the safety is generally lower than electronic locks provide.

garage door lock with a deadbolt
garage door lock with a deadbolt

Which type is the best for your garage door?

One of the biggest questions is which type of a garage door lock you need. The first and most common type are deadbolt locks. They are affordable yet very safe and they are commonly used. If you have a high crime rate in your area, we recommend you to choose an electronic model. They are more expensive but safer as well. If the crime rate is low, then electronic locks are not needed so you won’t get the full potential they offer. Also, keep in minds that they are generally an expensive option.

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The bets lock type is the one that you can afford easily and that can provide safety your neighborhood requires, as we have mentioned earlier. Deadbolts will do the job just fine most of the cases. If you want better safety, go for the digital lock. Each system can be even better and safer by adding the slide bolt. As you know by now, these locks are used as an addition to other locks and they can make a massive difference.

Installation steps for all 4 types of garage door locks

Each type of garage door lock is different, as you saw and each one requires different steps to install. Most of them you can install within minutes and with the use of basic tools, but some systems are more complex than that. Anyway, below are all the steps and the explanations you will need. With our help, you will be able to install any type without hiring a professional.

  • Deadbolt

They are the simplest garage door locks you can install. These days all manufacturers offer their special instructions which should be followed. But, in general, the steps will look something like this.

You will need to make two holes. The first one should be made using a saw drill and it will be used by the locking mechanism. The second hole is made using a drill bit and you will place the bolt inside. Once connected you can screw all down and test. Make sure that you need a hole in the doorjamb as well. Use masking tape to mark the precise location, drill a hole and add the metal component. Screw it down as well and test the mechanism. It will work perfectly.

  • Digital locks

Digital locks are easier to install than you may believe. You will get a keypad with a locking mechanism. If your garage door already has the deadbolt lock, you will have to remove the lock and insert the digital one. Add batteries, set a code and you are done. If there is no deadbolt lock, use the previous guide to install one and then simply add the digital lock.

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It is advised to take notes or photos of the lock before you remove it. By using this you can restore it if needed easily. Once you are done, test the system and you should see that it is working perfectly. If you have a system that uses power source, connect it using the backside of the door where the hinges are.

  • Electronic locks

Electronic looks may look extremely complicated to install but they are far from that. They are basically the same system as the digital lock except they use fingerprints instead of code. What this means is that you should remove the old lock and place the mechanism for the electronic lock. Set the fingerprints you will want to use and test the system. If you don’t have a deadbolt lock mechanism, follow the first guide from above and then add an electronic lock.

  • Slide bolt locks

Slide bolt locks are very easy to install if you know a few basic things. The first one is where to place them. Ideally, you will use all 4 corners and 4 locks of this type in each corner of the garage door. Place a lock to the door and use a pencil to mark the spots for the screws. Use a pilot hole to make this easier and screw down the main mechanism. Now, measure the location where the bolt itself will go into the door frame and drill a hole. Add any additional components and you are done. Apply a fresh coat of paint to the installation and you are already safer.

The final thoughts

All you need to remember that a lock to the garage door is a mandatory safety feature that will make you and your family 100% safer. You can choose any of these types and you will get the just mentioned advantage. We will tell you that digital locks paired with the side bolt locks are the best alternative, but you can be free to choose any type that suits you the most. Don’t forget that the need for the most suitable lock will be based on the cost of the lock and your neighborhood. Where the crime is high, the better lock is needed. Where the crime is low, a cheaper alternative is preferable. See more at our garage security section.