Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Can you lock yourself out on your deck?

     Second floor decks are very common on all kinds of construction but particularly on all the townhouses sprouting up like Kudzu (this allusion is for all my Southern friends) all over town. 

     These decks, with no stairs to the ground, usually only have one access----the door from the home. 

Locking yourself out on your deck     A VERY common issue with these doors is the use of locksets that allow someone to lock themselves out on the deck.  As one can see in the picture, the locking mechanisms for this door include a lockable handset and a separate dead-bolt.  The handset is the type----as it should be-----that when you turn the handle it lets you out of the door without having to fiddle with the locking mechanism of the lockset.

     The problem with this particular type of lockset is that it doesn’t actually “unlock” the mechanism.  When one goes through the doorway onto the deck and then closes the door, one is locked out on the deck.  A “safer” system would be to change the handset to a non-locking type lockset and rely on the deadbolt----or multiple dead-bolts depending on what part of town one lives in or how paranoid one is.

     People go to great lengths to put the most complicated and redundant locking mechanisms on doors when “actual” security can be measured by the closest brick----especially when the door is all glass like this one is.

     Locking oneself out on the deck can rate anywhere from mere embarrassment----if it was pitch dark when one stepped out to look at the stars naked-----or result in hypothermia and death if no one is around to hear ones screams.  Climbing down is not usually a good option and most downspouts---contrary to the movies----will not support a person weight.

     Can you lock yourself out on your deck?


Charles Buell



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Comment balloon 26 commentsCharles Buell • February 09 2009 06:58AM
Can you lock yourself out on your deck?
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