While doing home inspections I often come across screen doors that lock in one of two ways. While there is no “right or wrong” option for screen doors, I do like to point out some of the pros and cons of the options that I often see during the inspection. This will at least educate the buyer, and allow them to make a decision about what works best for them when buying the home.
A door with a keyed dead bolt (as seen in the photo taken on a Prescott Home Inspection) will mean the door is secure and can’t easily be opened from the outside even if someone cuts the screen to get at the lock. The drawback is that in the event of fire you will need to have the key nearby the door so that it can be unlocked quickly to exit the home. In this case the home owner had the key tucked in a nearby drawer – close enough to the door, but out of reach from the outside.
A door with a thumb bolt latch allows you to quickly open the door in the event of an emergency, but can also be easy to unlock from the outside by cutting through the screen. There are options to make this harder to do, so check the door and see if it is truly secure with just the thumb latch.
Just something to think about as the weather gets nice and you want to keep the doors open at night for the cool breezes. Enjoy the fresh air, and stay safe.