Many people think that replacing a lock is the only option available when you want to change the security of a lock set. Re-keying is another option. Rekeying and replacing a lock set both offer pros and cons. Sometimes it is clear which option is the best for you. Here is how you can figure out when to rekey or to replace the locks on your home.
Often when a homeowner takes possession of a home, they will upgrade the locks. New locks provide a greater sense of security and ensure the previous owner and anyone they gave a key to can no longer gain entry to the home. If there was a break in and the existing locks get damaged, it is necessary to replace the locks. Sometimes if there is a string of break ins and robberies in an area homeowners will take steps to update their locks to ensure a higher level of security.
Rekeying a lock is when the internal components get reconfigured in a way that a new key is required to engage the lock. The lock body, like the door knob and other elements, are the same, but the original key no longer works.
To rekey a lock the cylinder has to get removed. The key pins are rearranged. This renders the original key incompatible and means a new key is needed to engage and unengage the lock. The cylinder is then reinserted into the lock body.
Rekeying a lock set can be very cost effective. All of the hardware stays the same, and only the pins change. The pins are inexpensive, so it is overall less expensive to rekey a lock compared to changing the entire lock set.
A professional locksmith needs to rekey a lock; this is typically not the sort of thing a homeowner can do on their own. When handled by a professional rekeying a lock can be a quick and easy job.
Rekeying a lock requires an understanding of how the particular lock mechanism works. Locksmiths are trained to know how locks work, so adjusting the pins is not a difficult task. It is possible for a homeowner to rekey a lock. However, without the training and understanding that a professional locksmith has it may not be an efficient use of time for a homeowner to take this job on themselves.
There are tools specific to this job, such as a key decoder, spanner and catch tool. These are tools a locksmith will have and is familiar using, while they are not tools a homeowner may have available.
Rekeying a lock changes the shape of the key necessary to operate the lock, but it does not change the overall quality of the lock. If the lock set was inexpensive before it was rekeyed, it would still be a lower quality lock set after it is re-keyed. The opposite is true, too in that a higher quality lock set will still be a high-end security device after being re-keyed by a professional locksmith.
When a lock is replaced, the entire lock body is replaced. This gives you the ability to completely start over. If you prefer one type of lock over another, you have the opportunity to install the lock style of your choosing. If you have cosmetic preferences and want to upgrade the curb appeal, replacing the entire lock set gives you the chance to install what you want.
Lock sets come with hardware, and when you replace the lock set, you can upgrade your hardware. Using longer screws makes the set more secure. You also can add additional security pins.
It is more expensive to replace the lock set. An entire lock set costs much more than the pins necessary to rekey a lock. If you opt to install the new lock set yourself, you will save money on installation, but it will take your time and is often harder to do than you think. A professional locksmith who is trained and competent installing a new lock set and rekeying an existing lock will take about the same amount of time. And you have the assurance the lock is properly fixed or installed to provide the highest level of security.
There is not a right or wrong decision when it comes to rekeying or changing a lock set. Both are practical solutions. Sometimes the answer is easy to identify. For instance, if the existing lock set is not the desired color or finish changing the whole thing is the clear solution. If you are looking to make a change to your locking system because your home was broken into upgrading the entire lock set is the most secure option. If budget is a driving factor rekeying could be the right call. A local locksmith can help you make the right choice.
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