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How to Efficiently Change Locks on Doors

Man checking a lock on a door
Written by :

Ollie

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Table of Contents

Introduction to Changing Door Locks

The process of door lock replacement is a crucial aspect of home security maintenance. This task, often performed by a professional locksmith, requires a certain level of technical proficiency. However, with the correct knowledge and tools, it can also be a manageable DIY home improvement project. This guide aims to offer an in-depth understanding of the process, from discerning when a lock change is necessary to selecting an appropriate new door hardware. Door locks are the primary defence against potential intruders, making their condition and quality paramount. Over time, locks can deteriorate, become damaged, or simply outdated, potentially compromising the security of the property. Hence, grasping how and when to conduct a door lock replacement is an essential skill for homeowners and property managers alike. The act of changing door locks extends beyond merely replacing an old lock with a new one. It’s a process that encompasses assessing the current home security level, identifying the type of lock that is most suited to the property, and correctly installing the new door hardware. This guide will delve into each of these aspects, providing a comprehensive resource for those seeking to bolster their property’s security.

A close-up image of a door lock system showing a metal door handle, a key inserted in the lock, and multiple locking bolts on the side.

When should you change your door locks?

There are several situations where changing door locks becomes necessary. One of the most common reasons is when keys are lost or stolen. In these instances, a locksmith can provide a key duplication service, but changing the locks is an essential step to prevent unauthorised access. Similarly, if there’s suspicion that an unauthorised individual has a copy of the keys, lock changing should be carried out immediately. Another circumstance that necessitates a lock change is upon moving into a new property. Previous tenants or homeowners may still possess copies of the keys, posing a potential security risk. Therefore, conducting a door lock replacement upon moving in ensures full control over who has access to the property. Locks should also be changed if they show signs of damage or wear. Indications of wear include difficulty in turning the key, the lock becoming stiff, or the key not fitting properly. Damaged locks not only compromise home security but can also result in lockouts if they fail completely.

A hallway features a black console table with candles, books, and a vase of white flowers. Artwork decorates the wall above. A front door lock with keypad secures the brown door to the right. A staircase is on the left.

How to Choose Your New Door Lock

Selecting a new door lock should be a decision made with careful consideration. The type of door hardware chosen will largely depend on the level of home security required. Deadbolt locks, for example, offer a high level of security and are commonly used for external doors. They are resistant to lock picking and forced entry, making them an excellent choice for bolstering home security. On the other hand, knob locks or lever handle locks may be more suitable for internal doors. These locks provide a basic level of security and are typically used in combination with a deadbolt for external doors. When selecting a lock, it’s crucial to consider the door’s material and thickness as these factors can affect the type of lock that can be installed. Lastly, the lock’s grade and certification should be taken into account. Locks with a higher grade offer superior security and durability. Certifications from recognised security organisations can provide assurance of the lock’s quality and effectiveness. By considering these factors, one can make an informed decision when choosing a new door lock for their home maintenance or DIY home improvement project.

Close-up of a gray door's locking mechanism, showing the latch plate secured with screws and the key slot of the door lock.

Understanding Different Types of Door Locks

Door locks, a crucial component of door hardware, play a significant role in home security. A locksmith is often required to guide one through the diverse range of locks available, each designed to meet specific needs. Deadbolt locks, known for their robustness and durability, are a popular choice for door lock replacement. Typically used on exterior doors, these locks are difficult to pick, making them an essential part of home security. Knob locks, another type of door hardware, are commonly used inside homes due to their convenience. However, their security level is not as high as deadbolts, making them unsuitable as the primary lock on external doors. For DIY home improvement enthusiasts, knob locks can be an easy installation project. Smart locks, a modern innovation in the locksmith industry, allow homeowners to control their locks remotely using a smartphone application. These locks, often part of advanced home security systems, can be programmed to lock and unlock at specific times. Their installation, however, may require professional door installation services. Mortise locks are another type of door hardware often found on older properties. Known for their strength, these locks provide high levels of security. While their installation might be complex for a DIY home improvement project, professional locksmith services can ensure a secure fit.

1-Star and 3-Star Euro Cylinders. Two yale brand cylinder locks, one silver and one gold, with matching keys on a white background.

What are the different types of locks?

The locksmith industry offers a variety of door locks. Cylinder locks are among the most common, featuring a keyhole on the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. Easy to replace, these locks offer a reasonable level of home security. Key duplication services can easily replicate keys for these locks. Padlocks, a versatile and portable lock option, come in a range of sizes. From securing garden gates to storage boxes, padlocks are a popular choice. Despite their simplicity, lock picking can be a challenge, adding to their security value. Cam locks, often used in filing cabinets or mailboxes, are easy to install, making them a popular choice for many applications. A locksmith can easily perform key cutting for these locks if required. Lastly, electronic locks offer a high level of security. These can be opened using a code, card, or fingerprint, eliminating the need for key duplication. However, their installation and maintenance require professional locksmith services.

How to Choose the Right Lock for Your Needs

Choosing the right lock for your needs depends on various factors. Consider the level of security required. For external doors, deadbolts and mortise locks offer high levels of security and are suitable for door lock replacement. For internal doors, knob locks or cylinder locks may be adequate for home maintenance. Convenience is another factor. Smart locks can be a great choice for those who often lose keys or want to control their locks remotely. However, these locks may require professional door installation services. The installation process is another consideration. Some locks are easy to install and can be a DIY home improvement project, while others may require professional locksmith services. Finally, consider the cost. High-security locks may be more expensive, but they can provide peace of mind and could potentially save money in the long term by preventing break-ins. Key cutting and key duplication services, often required for traditional locks, add to the overall cost. Weighing the cost against the benefits can help make the right decision for your home security needs.

A person is using a screwdriver to install or repair a door lock on a brown door. Several keys are hanging from the door's keyhole.

Replacing vs Rekeying: What’s the Difference?

The distinction between replacing and rekeying door locks is a critical aspect of home security and home maintenance. These locksmith processes, although similar in purpose, are fundamentally different in approach and execution. The choice between the two is often dependent on the specific circumstances, such as the condition of the existing door hardware or the need for a security upgrade. Here, we delve into the intricacies of both processes, providing a comprehensive understanding to aid in making an informed decision.

Understanding Replacing

Door lock replacement is a process that involves the complete removal of the existing lock system and the installation of a new one. This is an extensive procedure that requires a thorough understanding of the lock mechanism. The existing lock, including the bolt and all associated door hardware, is removed from the door. The new lock is then installed in its place, ensuring a secure fit and smooth operation. This process is a common DIY home improvement project, but it can also be performed by a professional locksmith. Door lock replacement is often the preferred solution when the existing lock is beyond repair. This could be due to extensive wear and tear, damage from attempted lock picking, or internal failures within the lock mechanism. In such situations, the lock is unable to function as intended, compromising the security of the property. Replacement ensures the installation of a fully functional lock, restoring the integrity of the property’s home security. The process of door lock replacement also provides an opportunity for a security upgrade. The market offers a wide range of door lock systems, each varying in security grading and functionality. You may choose to replace a standard lock with a high-security lock, or perhaps switch from a traditional lock to a smart lock system. The choice is largely dependent on your specific home security requirements and budget. However, it is important to note that door lock replacement can be a costly affair. The cost of the new lock, coupled with the labour charges for the installation, can add up. Furthermore, the process is time-consuming, often requiring professional assistance for proper door installation. Despite these factors, door lock replacement is a worthwhile investment for the long-term security of your property.

Understanding Rekeying

Rekeying, in contrast, is a less invasive process that involves changing the internal configuration of the existing lock. This process allows the lock to be operated by a new key, while the old key becomes obsolete. The existing lock remains in place, but the key that operates it changes. This is achieved by altering the tumbler or wafer configuration within the lock mechanism, a process typically performed by a locksmith. Rekeying is a viable solution when the existing lock is in good working condition but needs to be operated by a new key. This is often necessary in situations where keys have been lost or stolen, or when moving into a property where others might still have the old keys. By rekeying the lock, you maintain control over who has access to the property, enhancing home security without the need for a complete lock replacement. The process of rekeying is generally faster and less costly than lock replacement. It requires fewer resources, as the existing lock remains in place. However, the security grading of the lock remains the same. Rekeying does not upgrade the security of the lock, but simply changes the key that operates it. This process often involves key cutting and key duplication services provided by a locksmith. Despite its cost-effectiveness, rekeying may not always be the best solution. If the existing lock is old or of a low-security grade, simply rekeying it may not provide the desired level of home security. In such instances, lock replacement may be a more suitable option. The decision between rekeying and replacing should be made after careful consideration of the specific home security needs and circumstances.

A locksmith installs a new lock on a wooden door, focusing on aligning the lock mechanism.

How to Efficiently Change Your Door Lock

In the sphere of home security, the task of a door lock replacement is foundational. This task, seemingly straightforward, necessitates a meticulous approach and a comprehensive understanding of the door hardware mechanism. The objective extends beyond merely changing the lock; it is to do so in a manner that guarantees optimal home security. Changing a door lock is a DIY home improvement task that demands precision and knowledge of the lock mechanism. It is paramount to ensure that the lock is installed correctly to maintain the security of the property. A poorly installed lock can compromise your home security, leaving it susceptible to break-ins. Therefore, the seriousness of this home maintenance task cannot be overstated. The efficient changing of a door lock involves several steps, each contributing to the overall security of the lock. These steps include the selection of the right lock, preparation of the door, removal of the old lock, and installation of the new one. Each of these steps requires careful execution to ensure the lock functions as it should.

Essential Tools & Equipment

The process of door lock replacement necessitates a specific set of tools and equipment. These tools are vital to ensure the efficient and successful completion of this DIY home improvement task. The primary tools needed include a screwdriver, a tape measure, a drill (if necessary), and the new lockset. The screwdriver is used to remove the screws holding the old lock in place, and to secure the new lock once installed. The tape measure is used to measure the size of the old lock and to ensure the new lock fits correctly. A drill might be required if new holes need to be drilled into the door for the new lock. The lockset is the new lock that will be installed on the door. In addition to these tools, it is also advisable to have a pair of pliers and a chisel on hand. These tools can be used to make minor adjustments to the door if necessary, ensuring the new lock fits perfectly and operates smoothly.

Step 1: Measure and Choose the Right Replacement Lock

The first step in the process of changing a door lock is to measure the old lock and choose the right replacement. This step is crucial as it determines the type of lock that will be installed and its compatibility with the door. To measure the lock, use a tape measure to record the size of the lock cylinder, the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the lock, and the thickness of the door. These measurements will guide you in selecting a lock that fits perfectly into the existing hole and aligns correctly with the door latch. When choosing a replacement lock, consider factors such as the type of lock (deadbolt, knob, lever, etc.), the security grade of the lock, and the finish of the lock. The type of lock should match the style and functionality of the door, the security grade should meet or exceed the security needs of your home, and the finish should complement the aesthetics of the door and the surrounding decor.

Step 2: Remove the Existing Lock

The initial stage of door lock replacement, a common task in home maintenance, requires the removal of the existing lock. This process begins with the identification of the set screws. These are typically located on the interior side of the door and are integral to the stability of the lock’s knob. A locksmith would usually use a specific tool for this, but a simple screwdriver can suffice for this DIY home improvement task. Turn these screws in an anticlockwise direction to loosen the knob for removal. Once the knob is removed, the next focus is the lock cylinder. This component is usually secured by set screws located on the door’s edge, within the deadbolt. By unscrewing these, the lock cylinder can be released and extracted. This is a crucial step in the lock picking process as the lock cylinder forms the core of the lock mechanism. The removal process concludes with the strike plate. This metal piece is where the bolt slides into when the door is locked, contributing to home security. It is typically attached to the door using screws, which can be removed using a screwdriver. After the successful removal of the strike plate, lock cylinder, and knob, the door is prepared for the installation of the new door hardware.

Step 3: Install New Lock Hardware

The next step in door lock replacement is the installation of new door hardware. The first task is the insertion of the new lock cylinder into the door hole. It is paramount to ensure the correct alignment of the lock cylinder with the door hole. Misalignment can result in the lock not fitting correctly, compromising home security. Following the lock cylinder, the new knob needs to be attached. This is achieved by aligning the spindle on the knob’s back with the slot in the lock cylinder. Once the alignment is correct, the knob can be pushed into place and secured using the set screws. This is a vital part of door installation that requires precision. The final part of this step is the installation of the new strike plate. The strike plate must be correctly positioned to align with the bolt for the lock to function correctly. Once positioned, secure it in place with screws. With the strike plate, lock cylinder, and knob correctly installed, the door hardware is ready for use.

Step 4: Check Functionality of New Lock

The final step in this DIY home improvement process is to check the new lock’s functionality. Start by testing the lock with the key provided. Insert the key into the lock and turn it. The bolt should extend and retract smoothly. This is a basic test in key duplication and lock picking to ensure the lock cylinder and knob are correctly aligned. In addition to the basic functionality test, it is also necessary to test the lock from both the inside and outside of the door. This ensures that the lock operates correctly from both perspectives, a crucial aspect of home security. Finally, close the door and lock it from the outside. The door should lock and unlock smoothly, indicating that the bolt is correctly aligned with the hole in the strike plate. If any issues arise, adjustments may be necessary. This final check is a key part of home maintenance and key cutting processes.

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Cost Implications of Changing Door Locks

When considering a door lock replacement, understanding the cost implications is crucial. The total cost is influenced by various factors such as the type of door hardware, the complexity of the door installation, and the professional locksmith fees. High-security locks, for instance, are typically more expensive due to their advanced features and the level of home security they offer. The complexity of the door installation also plays a role in the overall cost. Some door hardware requires professional locksmith intervention due to their intricate design and the need for specialised tools. This can increase the cost, but the enhanced home security often justifies the investment. Lastly, if you decide to hire a professional locksmith, their fees will add to the overall cost. While this might seem like an additional expense, it can save you time and ensure the lock is installed correctly, providing you with peace of mind.

How much does it cost to change your locks?

The cost of a door lock replacement can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above. On average, you might expect to pay between £50 to £200 per lock in the UK. This estimate includes the cost of the door hardware itself and the labour fees if you hire a professional locksmith. However, bear in mind that this is just an average estimate. The actual cost of door lock replacement could be lower or higher depending on your specific circumstances. For instance, if you’re replacing a simple cylinder lock, the cost might be on the lower end of the range. On the other hand, if you’re installing a high-security lock that requires professional locksmith intervention, the cost could be significantly higher.

Frequently Asked Questions About Changing Locks

Changing door locks is a common home maintenance task that many homeowners and business owners need to undertake at some point. However, this DIY home improvement task can raise several questions, especially for those who are not familiar with the process. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can I Change Door Locks Myself?

Yes, it is possible to change door locks yourself. However, it requires a certain level of DIY home improvement skill and the right tools. If you’re comfortable with basic DIY tasks, you might be able to handle a simple door lock replacement. However, if the lock is complicated or if you’re not confident in your DIY home improvement abilities, it might be best to hire a professional locksmith. They have the necessary skills and tools to ensure the lock is installed correctly and securely. They can also provide key duplication and lock picking services if needed. Remember, the main purpose of a lock is to secure your property. Therefore, it’s crucial that the lock is installed correctly to provide the maximum level of home security. If you’re in any doubt, it’s always best to call in the professionals. They can also offer key cutting services, adding another layer of convenience to your home maintenance tasks.

What Tools Do I Need to Change a Lock?

When it comes to door lock replacement, a specific set of tools is essential to ensure a smooth and efficient process. A locksmith’s toolbox would typically include a range of screwdrivers, a fundamental tool for removing the old lock and securing the new one. The door hardware may require different sizes or types of screwdrivers, making a versatile set invaluable for this DIY home improvement task. A lock pick set is another crucial tool in a locksmith’s arsenal. Lock picking is a skill that allows the internal components of a lock to be manipulated without the original key. This can be particularly beneficial when dealing with a stubborn lock during a door lock replacement. Moreover, a lock pick set is often necessary for key duplication, a common task in home maintenance. Sometimes, the new lock may not fit perfectly into the existing hole in the door. In such cases, a chisel and hammer are used to adjust the size of the hole, an important aspect of door installation. Lastly, a tape measure is vital for ensuring the new lock fits correctly, a crucial step in enhancing home security.

How Long Does It Take to Change a Lock?

The duration of a door lock replacement can depend on various factors. For an experienced locksmith, a standard lock change can be completed within 20 to 30 minutes. However, factors such as the type of door hardware or unexpected complications can extend this timeframe. If the new lock does not fit correctly into the existing hole, or if the old lock is difficult to remove, the process can take longer. This is where skills like lock picking and key cutting can come in handy. For individuals undertaking this as a DIY home improvement project, the process may take longer due to the learning curve involved. Given these variables, it’s reasonable to allocate around an hour for a door lock replacement. This provides ample time to handle any unexpected issues that may arise, ensuring the task isn’t rushed, which could lead to mistakes and compromise home security.

Conclusion: Ensuring Safety Through Efficient Lock Changes

Efficient lock changes are paramount to maintaining home security. Using the correct tools and allowing sufficient time for the process, one can ensure that the door lock replacement is successful and effective. This is a key aspect of home maintenance that can significantly enhance the safety of a property. While the process may seem straightforward, it requires precision and patience. An incorrectly installed lock can lead to a multitude of issues, from being locked out of the property to creating an easy entry point for potential intruders. Therefore, it’s recommended to hire a professional locksmith if you’re unsure about the process. This ensures that the lock change is executed correctly, providing peace of mind and enhanced home security.

Recap of the Lock Changing Process

The lock changing process begins with the removal of the old lock, typically using a screwdriver. This is a crucial part of door installation, and may also involve lock picking if the lock is stubborn. Once the old lock is removed, the next step is to prepare the door for the new lock. This may involve adjusting the size of the hole using a chisel and hammer if the new lock does not fit perfectly. It’s crucial to perform this step with care to avoid damaging the door. The new lock is then installed, again using a screwdriver. This is a key step in door lock replacement, and it’s important to ensure the lock is installed correctly and securely. In conclusion, changing a lock is a process that requires the right tools, patience, and a certain level of skill. While it can be a DIY home improvement task, hiring a professional locksmith is recommended if there’s any uncertainty. This ensures the task is carried out correctly, providing peace of mind and enhanced home security.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Efficient Lock Changes

The significance of efficient lock changes in the realm of home security is a crucial aspect often overlooked in DIY home improvement. Lock changes are not merely about door lock replacement. They represent an integral part of a comprehensive home maintenance strategy, involving the upgrading of door hardware to a level that can effectively withstand potential threats. The efficiency of a lock change is determined by several factors, including the quality of the lock installed, the expertise of the locksmith, and the appropriateness of the lock to the specific security needs of the property. When discussing the quality of the lock, it’s essential to consider the rapid evolution of technology. It’s vital to choose door hardware that is technologically advanced and resistant to common methods of lock manipulation, such as lock picking. While high-quality locks may initially seem more expensive, the long-term home security benefits they provide far outweigh the initial cost. These locks offer superior durability, reliability, and advanced security features, making them impervious to most common break-in techniques. The expertise of the locksmith is another critical factor in determining the efficiency of a lock change. A professional locksmith possesses not only the skills required for door installation and door lock replacement but also the knowledge to recommend the most suitable lock based on a property’s security requirements. They can accurately assess the vulnerability of a property and suggest a lock that complements the existing home security infrastructure. An efficiently executed lock change by a professional locksmith ensures that the lock functions optimally and contributes to the overall security of the property. The appropriateness of the lock to the specific security needs of the property is a third factor contributing to an efficient lock change. A residential property, for example, may not require the same level of security as a commercial property. Similarly, a property in a high-crime area may need a more robust lock system than one situated in a low-risk area. Therefore, an efficient lock change also involves choosing a lock that is most suited to the particular security needs of the property. In conclusion, efficient lock changes are vital to maintaining the security of a property. They involve the installation of high-quality locks by professional locksmiths and the selection of locks that are most appropriate for the specific security needs of the property. By prioritising efficient lock changes, property owners can enhance the safety and security of their properties, providing peace of mind in the knowledge that their properties are well-protected.

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