Replacing your front door locks isn’t as daunting as it sounds! The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to have a professional come in to do the work either! It can be a great way to improve your sense of security in your own home, and boost your DIY confidence! Just grab your power tools, pluck up the courage, and start replacing (After you’ve read through this guide of course)!

Why Change your Door Locks 

There can be all kinds of reasons for wanting to change the locks in your doors. As mentioned above, this can create an added layer of security and help you and your family feel safer in your home

  • Moving house: You can never be sure how many copies of your new keys had been made before you bought your property. This is why it’s extremely important to get the locks changed after you move in
  • Old or broken locks: Old locks can be compromised due to rust and consistent use. Ideally, you should change your locks every seven years or so
  • Stolen keys: If you know that a set of your keys has been stolen, then you’ll want to get your locks changed immediately to avoid burglary
  • When a housemate or tenant moves out: Like above, once someone moves out of a property, it’s impossible to know how many copies of the current keys have been made. This is why it’s important to change the locks once someone moves out. 
  • After a burglary: 25% of burglaries include lock-snapping. Once your locks have been snapped, you’ll have to get them replaced. You can easily find and install locks that are snap-proof to avoid it happening again.  

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

What is the Difference between Lock Replacement and Lock Rekeying?

Lock rekeying and lock replacement are both viable options for improving your home security. Both methods ensure that old keys won’t open the new lock, though you may find that one fit’s your situation better than the other.

Lock Replacement: Replacement is a more in-depth process than rekeying. It can be more complicated and expensive, though improves the security in your home more than re-keying. This involves removing the entire locking mechanism from the door and installing a brand new lock. 

Lock Rekeying: Used more often than lock replacement, lock rekeying is a cheaper, faster option to improve home security. Rekeying allows you to realign the pins and springs in a locking mechanism to fit a new key. 

What are the Components of a Standard Door Lock

You can buy a standard door lock set that comes with four basic components:

  • Two doorknobs
  • Latch
  • Strike plate
  • Screws

Tools you’ll Need to Replace Locks

A DIY project is nothing without its trusty tools! To replace a lock you’ll need the following, though it may differ depending on the type of lock you’re removing.

  • Set of screwdrivers
  • Claw hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Twist drill bits
  • Safety glasses
  • pliers

With these tools and your lock kit, you’re on your way to a safer home!

How to Remove a Door Lock

The first step to changing your locks is removing the original. This should be done right before installation to avoid leaving your front door vulnerable for an extended period of time. 

This step is easily done by unscrewing the door knobs – just enough to loosen them. Once they’re loose enough, you should be able to remove the latch on the side of the door using your screwdriver.

Changing a Rim Lock

Depending on the type of lock you have, you may need to follow different steps for installation. A rim lock can be changed in a few easy steps:

  • Remove the night latch by unscrewing the casing to reveal the cylinder
  • Remove the fixing screws on the cylinder, then remove the cylinder from the side of the door
  • Compare the size of the old cylinder to the new cylinder. Is it too long? If so, you can use a hacksaw to cut it.
  • Place the cylinder in the hole at the front of the door, and use the screwdriver to fix the screw at the back. 
  • Fit the backplate or mounting plate
  • Reattach the night latch by placing it over the cylinder and onto the bar. 
  • Tighten the screws
  • Test the lock

Changing a Mortice Lock

Mortice locks are found inside the door. Giving a clean look to the door surface.

  • Before purchasing a new lock, measure your current mortice lock from the edge of the door to the centre of the keyhole. This will tell you what size lock you need:
    • Distance: 45mm = 65mm mortice lock
    • Distance: 55mm = 75mm mortice lock
  • Remove the screws on the lock faceplate that is on the edge of the door. 
  • (If removing a sash mortice) remove the handles and the spindle that connects the handles
  • Check that the bolt has been turned so that it’s showing
  • Using pliers to pull the bolt and lock out of the door
  • Compare the old and new locks to make sure they are the same. If the new lock is longer, a hammer and chisel can be used to adjust the hole in the door.
  • Push the new lock into the hole, and fix the faceplate and lock using the screwdriver.
  • (If installing a sash mortice) fit the handles
  • Remove the keep from the doorframe (the second part of the lock)
  • Close the door with the bolt out to measure and mark where the bolt is on the doorframe. 
  • Put the new keep next to the markings to make sure it will fit in the existing hole
  • Use your chisel and hammer to make adjustments to the hole in the doorframe if needed
  • Fit the keep into the doorframe
  • Test the lock

Changing a Cylinder Lock

Cylinder locks are one of the most common types of locks. What’s better is that every euro cylinder will have the same profile, so you wont have to worry about finding the right shaped lock.

  • Begin by measuring the length of the lock – while euro cylinders have the same profile, some are longer or shorter to work for doors of different thicknesses. 
    • Open the door
    • Measure from the middle of the centre screw to the face of the door on each side

Now we can begin replacing.

  • Open the door and unscrew the fixing screw
  • Loosen the door handle screws to make it easier to remove the lock
  • Turn the key in the lock slightly to align the cam tongue with the body of the lock
  • If done correctly, you can gently pull the key as you turn to remove the lock with the key
  • Insert the new lock into the hole with the cam tongue lined up
  • Screw in the fixing screw
  • Tighten the doorknob screws
  • Check that the lock works properly.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Lock?

If you’ve spent far too long trying to determine how to change your locks and would rather just leave it up to the professionals, then good on you for trying! 

The cost of professional lock replacement can vary depending on the type of lock, the number of locks needing replacement, and the type of door you have. 

A typical lock replacement can range from £80 for a euro cylinder to £150 for a mortice lock, plus installation fees. 

Want to learn more?

Maintaining your front doors can lead to a higher sense of satisfaction in your home. If you’d like to learn more about front doors and how to take proper care of them, check out some of our informative articles.

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