The Most Common Questions from Architects About Lockers


DeBourgh Lockers’ own Patrick and Zach travel the country talking with architects about lockers and the many details there are to know about these fascinating storage solutions. As they discovered anew at a recent event, it turns out that there are a lot of common misconceptions and misunderstandings about the lockers DeBourgh works so hard to perfect.

Here are the top five questions that we get most often.


  1. What’s the difference between a welded locker and an all-welded locker?

This can be a subjective definition, meaning something different for every manufacturer.Welded Locker

An all-welded locker for DeBourgh means that all the components, the back, the sides, the top, the interior partitions, would all be welded together, before going through the painting process. The only part that wouldn’t be welded would be the door. This would generally be on a formed product. Hooks, recessed cups, clothes rods, and other secondary features would get riveted or bolted. But the integrity of the all-welded lockers is that the entire locker is welded together as a single structure.

Other lockers are described as welded even if only part of the locker is welded together. Some companies say fully welded, but then we see that the frames are welded around the door, but the body of the locker isn’t completely welded together.

  1. What is a knock-down locker?

Knockdown Locker

The term ‘knock down’ means that the parts of the lockers haven’t been assembled yet. Zach’s analogy is that it’s like receiving a box of parts from, say IKEA, which makes the name a bit of a misnomer. It’s not that it’s ‘knocked down,’ it’s that it hasn’t been assembled yet.

Many people think that lockers are all built in pretty much the same way because the units arrive assembled, but that’s not the case. A knock-down locker is anything that has individual pieces that could be assembled by the manufacturer or on site. Each piece is a separate component, not built together on a common back, like with an all-welded locker.

  1.  What is a welded knock-down?

So, is it possible to have a hybrid? Technically, yes. “Welded knock-down” means that the pieces come in individually, and the manufacturer weld the knocked down parts together.

This is a decent step up from a knock-down or heavy-duty knock-down. It’s harder to wiggle loose an extra piece in the back if it’s a substantial weld; it will hold longer than any rivet or bolt. But it is still made up of many different pieces — it’s just using a weld to hold it together, rather bolts or rivets. It won’t be as sturdy as a locker built off of a common back.

  1. What is the standard for connecting to a door with a recessed cup?

Every manufacturer has its own style, and there are always different trends that try to improve on the design. A common option is one rivet to connect a door with a recessed cup. At DeBourgh, we have been encouraging the use of four rivets, because then you really don’t have to worry about anyone meddling with the setup and even if they do, it is pry and vandal resistant.

Recessed Cup

A lot of manufacturers have turned to a style that doesn’t require as many fasteners

(rivets) to keep the recessed cup in the locker. Using one rivet with a few hooks is an attempt to save money on parts and to save time on assembly, but can be problematic. Kids can work the hooks out of the door, leaving a big hole in the locker. In most cases, a hand-sized hole in the door is not what we would recommend.

Another trend that is working its way around is a cup with no rivets, where pressure is used to pop it in place. But it, too, can easily be removed if someone gets the angle right or simply from regular use. Ultimately, this attempt to save money and be more competitive on pricing is hurting customers by giving them a less secure product.

  1. Can you increase metal gauge to increase the strength of the locker?

Recently, we were doing a presentation, and someone asked: “Instead of doing the all-welded option for a slope top, couldn’t you increase the thickness of the steel?” That question is exactly how the Category 3 locker  was created. Instead of forming the lockers so that the entire system rigid by itself, wouldn’t it work if we just made it out of stronger steel? Unfortunately, no.

#DeBourghStrongA thicker metal may give a very small increase in strength, but, as with locker construction, building something in a rigid structure will always be better than simply heavier gauge. The best way to make sure that you’re increasing the value of the locker is to improve the quality of the construction — to build rigidity into the construction of the locker.

We’ve found that you can actually use a lighter gauge material if you just build it in a way that keeps it as rigid and firm as possible, so you aren’t losing its shape or function. But just increasing from 18 to 16 gauge in steel is not going to give you the security you need.

Have other questions about lockers? Give us a shout out at DeBourgh!

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