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Under lock and key

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11th Feb 2010, Daily Monitor by Sarah Tumwebaze

Locks are not only a key part of your house security, they can also be fashionable, writes Sarah Tumwebaze.

Door locks and handles are a key part of any home. The right types provide safety and also look good. Mr Herbert Mulawa, the sales officer of East African Distributors, says the common door locks are cylinder locks and lever locks.

There are four basic categories of door knobs. These include; dummy knobs, entrance door knobs, passage door knobs, and privacy door knobs. “Passage door knobs are also known as closet knobs or hall knobs, which are generally placed where a lock is not essential. Privacy door knobs are normally used for bathrooms and bedrooms.

These door knobs can be locked and do not have a cylinder, which needs to be keyed. Dummy door knobs are fixed knobs; they are an excellent solution for closet doors. The passage door knobs are mostly used on the inactive doors, which are a set of double doors.

Mr Mulawa says cylinder knobs provide maximum security because they are covered throughout unlike the lever knob which permits one to see what is going on in the room if they remove the key because the key hole is a bit big.

The considerations

Before you buy a door knob or handle, consider its purpose, the material of the door, level of security required and how often the door is going to be used. “If the door knob is for a place like the toilet which does not need a lot of security, you can buy a cylindrical door knob with a two level security and it can be of any colour,” he says.

He adds that cylinder door knobs are also good for the entrance and exterior doors because they provide maximum security and they come in different designs. Their colours include; polished brass, aluminum, stainless steel and antic brass.

Mr Benjamin Ndyishimije of GBR Investments Ltd, a furniture workshop in Nakawa, says fixing door knobs and handles is done by drilling a small hole in the door and then screwing the knob onto the door. However, at times these locks and handles get broken or discoloured. Mr Ndyishimije advises that you either replace or repaint the door knob in such situations.

Quick door accessory tips

Lever locks

  • They are cheap.
  • Easy to fix.
  • Have five levels of security.

Cylinder locks

  • They provide maximum security.
  • In case of damage, replacement is easy.
  • The key cannot be duplicated.

Door lock types

  • Privacy lockset
  • Entry lockset
  • Mortise lock
  • Keyless Entry System
  • Handle set
  • Night Latch
  • Surface Mounted Deadbolt
  • Dummy knob
  • Passage locket

Door knob replacement

  • Get a screw driver that suits your door knobs.
  • Unscrew the screws on the trim on each side of the door and remove those pieces.
  • Also, remove the long screws that hold the door knob.
  • Pull the knobs apart and remove the door knob from the door, then replace with a new one.
  • Test the door from inside by closing and opening to ensure it is well fixed.


  • Lever locks range from Shs40,000 to Shs150,000 depending on their material and level of security.
  • Cylinder locks range from Shs80,000 to Shs400,000.

Where to buy

  • East African Distributors, Jinja Road Tel: 0414 425 543
  • CK Hardware, Market Street : 0774 390545
  • Hardware Deals (U) Ltd, Nakawa Industrial Area, Tel: 0414 288 560
  • Maple Enterprises Ltd, Market Street Tel: 0414 250 060
  • Siva General Hardware, Entebbe Road Tel: 0414 343 916 or 0712 434 314

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