Rekey a Lock vs. Replacement

New lock cylinder with keychain

It’s the age-old debate: stick with the old or venture into the new. Your business may be facing this dilemma when it comes to security and its locks. Should you rekey a lock or invest in replacements? Your first instinct may be to stick with what you know. You know your existing locks work well, but there are also advantages to replacing and upgrading.

What Does it Mean to Rekey a Lock?

Rekeying a lock, also called changing a lock, means changing the lock system to allow a new key to operate it. The mechanism within is altered so that the old key is no longer accepted, and only the new key will work. If you have a quality lock that works well, rekeying is your best option for upgrading your current locks.

One example of it being necessary to rekey a lock is when you purchase a new home, building, office space, etc. Since there is no guarantee that the previous tenant turned over every key copy, rekeying ensures any existing lock keys will no longer work. This act is called key control since you can account for each key to the space and who has them once the locks are rekeyed.

Rekeying a lock is often cheaper than replacing it. The price of the lock’s key pins being replaced is more affordable than purchasing brand-new parts. A locksmith replaces the tumblers and pins to create a lock that can be opened with a new key. The locksmith can also evaluate the lock’s condition and add lubrication to maintain it properly – saving you more money in the long run.

When to Rekey a Lock

Rekeying a lock makes more sense than a complete replacement in most circumstances. For example, if your locks use different keys but are the same brand or have the same type of keyhole, you can have those locks rekeyed to operate from the same key. Another example involves misplacing an existing key. If you are concerned someone will find the lost key and have unauthorized access to the building, you can rekey the locks, so they don’t accept the old key anymore.

Changing the Look

If you want to upgrade the look inside your home or office, locks are a relatively easy feature to switch up. Sometimes, whether through desire or necessity, the metal hardware throughout the space needs updating. Changing locks when doing this helps provide a more cohesive look.

Switching to a Keyless Lock System

Upgrading your home or business’s security system to include a modern, keyless lock system means completely replacing the existing locks. In this case, you will need to follow the lock system’s guidelines for DIY installation or hire a professional locksmith to complete the replacement.

Upgrading to a Master Key System

If your home or office’s locks are different brands and types, but you wish to have them work with the same key, you will require a professional locksmith to rekey and set up a master key system.

Using a Low-Quality or Older Lock

If your keys constantly get stuck and hardware lubrication isn’t doing the trick, it’s time to replace and upgrade. If you already have high-quality locks, opt for rekeying.

Rekey vs. Changing a Lock

If you are unsure of whether to replace a lock or rekey it, it is essential to know the instances where replacing is the better option. These include:

  • You lost your key, don’t have a spare, and the doorknob is locked. In this instance, you cannot remove the lock to rekey it.
  • Remodeling your home or office space and an updated style is desired.
  • You don’t feel confident rekeying your locks and cannot find someone to do it professionally. When in doubt, always opt for guaranteed security.
  • Your locks are worn or damaged. In this case, rekeying won’t help, and replacement is necessary.

If you wish to rekey your locks to use the same key, all locks must be from the same manufacturer. When that isn’t the case, choose your favorite and replace the others to match, then rekey them.

Rekeying a lock: Professional vs. DIY

Man fixing a lock on the door while a senior couple is standing next to him.

The process of rekeying a lock requires in-depth knowledge and the right tools. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and incredibly risky. So, how do you know when to do it yourself and when to call in the professionals?

Your House is Old

It is not impossible, but finding a replacement for vintage locks can be difficult. Call a professional specializing in rekeying older locks if you have an old house with a non-standard deadbolt.

You Want a Master Key System

At some point, you may want to add a master key system to your home or office building – e.g., a lock system where one key opens all doors. You can complete this task independently, but a locksmith is trained to install these types of complex lock systems.

You’re Not Confident in Your DIY Skills

Some DIY projects are low-risk and acceptable to take on as a beginner. However, it’s best to be safe and call in some help when it comes to security and protecting your home or office. The DIY route will save you money when changing locks, but a potential lapse in security can be costly in the long run.

Top 5 top reasons to invest in a locksmith:

  1. Knowledge and Experience

If you want to rekey exterior doors for a newly bought home or office building to provide single-key convenience, it’s best to call professional help. A qualified ALOA (Associated Locksmiths of America) professional can handle the most difficult of key jobs and provide the security you can trust.

  1. Value

When it comes to locksmiths, you often get what you pay for. Hiring a quality professional to complete the job correctly from the start will be well worth the price. This is especially true if your home or office has a non-standard door. Often these doors require expertise and adjustments beyond the skill level of even the most experienced DIY-er.

  1. Convenience

Licensed, registered locksmiths have the proper tools and expertise to handle almost any challenge. Employing their services will save time by allowing you to get professional assistance on your own time.

  1. Peace of Mind

Millions of burglaries occur each year, and a good chunk of them involve the perpetrator entering through the front door. The security of your home or business shouldn’t be trusted with just anyone. Having a professional locksmith conduct your rekeying or lock change provides a certain peace of mind not available to those who perform these acts independently.

  1. Quality You Can Trust

It isn’t always easy to rekey door hardware because some rekeyed locks don’t meet specific quality standards. Professional locksmiths often offer guarantee-backed services when it comes to quality of service.

How A&B Security Can Help

A&B Security has a team of experienced locksmiths capable of handling even the most complex rekey and key change tasks. We can replace working keys with new ones that work in the existing lock without replacing the more expensive locking device. Our process invalidates the old key and is a low-cost option to help give you added security.

At A&B Security, we also make sure these services are available as needed since we know security breaches are almost always sudden and unexpected. Contact us today, and we’ll be there when you need us most.