While there are a number of locks that can be used in residential and commercial facilities, having the right key that will keep your place secure is just as important. Knowing the right key you need involves knowing the basic part of a key:

    • Head or bow – This is also called the key head and can be unique to the type of lock brand or design you have within your facility. Most, if not all keys have a hole in the head for attachments to key rings or fobs.
    • Shoulder stop – A shoulder stop is very important, as it regulates how much of the key blade enters the lock, but also helps in key alignment during the cutting process.
    • Grooves – The grooves of a key are designed to fit certain cylinders within the lock. This distinguishes one lock from another and helps to choose the right key blank for duplication.
    • Blade – The blade of a key encompasses the shoulder stop to the tip.
    • Tip – The tip is the bottom of the key and can assist in aligning a key where there is no shoulder stop.

Keys for residential facilities

There are many key manufacturers that specialize in door keys. As most residential facilities use Mortise locksets, lever handle locks, privacy locksets, entry locksets, handle sets and surface-mounted deadbolts, having specific styles of keys may be beneficial in meeting the residential building requirements and in distinguishing what types of keys are needed for each particular facility.
Student housing usually uses a thick, square key that works with mortise locks. These keys are larger in size than a standard house key, and usually has an engraved number or identifying mark on the key head. For senior or rehab facilities, standard keys with a rounded or oval shape may be an option, and are usually prevalent in deadbolt locks.

Can these keys be duplicated?

Most keys can be duplicated. A good locksmith will be able to recreate the key when they have the right key blank available. Most commercial facilities have master keys and will duplicate keys for each lock for the resident or individuals who will be using the space at a certain time. In residential facilities, keys that are duplicated are usually larger in size for safekeeping and easy identification.

What are commercial keys made of?

Many commercial keys are made of solid brass, but are also made with aluminum or steel, depending on what color they are. Most keys for student housing are brass, but the normal keys that are used in standard offices and residential facilities are steel.
Most keys are flat, but there is a noted shift in the use of keys with magnetic signatures that are used in public buildings and residential facilities.

Shapes of keys

There are a number of shapes available in brass and steel. Large, square keys are common for student housing, while rounded or smaller square keys are usually seen in other types of residential facilities and commercial spaces. The shapes may vary, based on the key maker, and include keys that are shaped like a hexagon or keys that have more than one hole in the key head. Keys are available in all shapes and sizes, and have even become customized based on current trends.

How to determine the right key for your facility

Determining the right key structure for your facility should be done during planning and construction. This should be largely dependent on the amount of traffic within the facility, access to certain areas, how secure the doors need to be, and the type of lock that will be used on each door. Working with a contractor and locksmith to make these decisions goes a long way in getting the right lock and key for your needs. Most keys have a SC1, KW1 or KW10/11 distinction, which helps determine the type of key blank that will be used in duplication.

With so many different lock styles that may be present in one commercial facility, maintaining continuity among keys is important. A locksmith will be able to give you in-depth information on what may work best for your needs, and offer workable solutions that may be cost-effective. For more on the different types of keys available that may be of use to you, contact an associate at Great Valley Lockshop today! Call us at (610) 644-5334 or send an email to [email protected]

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