Living arrangements change, and sometimes we need to prevent someone who has, once had, or may have a key to our home from being able to use it again. In situations like these, we might assume that changing our locks is the only option, but fortunately, that’s not the case. Instead of replacing an entire lock, it’s often possible to get away with simply rekeying it—a process that’s typically cheaper and easier. Here are some examples of when it makes more sense to rekey a lock than replace it.
What’s the difference between rekeying and replacing a lock?
Replacing or changing a lock involves removing the entire existing door lock and hardware and installing a different lock and hardware. It typically costs between $50 and $300, depending on the type of lock, whether you’re installing it yourself or hiring a professional to do it, and the complexity of the labor. Rekeying a lock, on the other hand, is limited to changing the pins inside the lock itself, so its current keys would no longer work, though the lock and hardware remain the same. This can cost as little as $10 or as much as around $160, based on several factors we’ll discuss below.
When does rekeying a lock make more sense than replacing it?
After years of use, some locks wear down, and no longer function properly. In this scenario, replacing it with a new lock is the solution. Similarly, if someone wants to change the look of a door, they may want to remove their current lock and hardware, and install a new set in a different color or finish. But beyond these relatively straightforward examples, homeowners have to decide between rekeying or replacing their lock if they want all current keys to the house to stop working.
Here are a few examples of when it makes more sense to rekey a lock:
- If one of your house keys gets lost or stolen
- If you had a roommate or ex who moved out and you no longer want them to be able to access your home
- If you have multiple exterior doors with different keys from the same brand and you want them to match
- If you purchase a new home and want to put off the expense of changing the locks, but want to make sure any current keys no longer work
Can you rekey your own locks?
Rekeying a lock is typically done in one of three ways:
1. Purchasing a rekeying kit and doing everything yourself
It’s not necessarily a beginner-friendly DIY project, so you’ll need some time and patience, along with a rekeying kit specific to the brand and key type of your current lock (e.g., a specific type of Schlage lock). These kits typically cost $12 to $15, and come with the materials you need to rekey six locks. It’s also possible to get a rekeying kit that can be used on any lock from a particular brand, but those usually go for $70 to $100, and they come with a lot of pieces you won’t end up using.
2. Calling a locksmith to come to your home and rekey your lock
You’ll probably pay between $50 and $160 for the convenience, but there are a few situations where this makes sense—like if security is a concern and you need it done quickly, or if you’re trying to rekey locks that have different manufacturers and you don’t want to buy more than one kit, or you have security concerns.
3. Removing the lock from your door and bringing into a hardware store to have it professionally rekeyed
In most cases, this will work out to be the cheapest and easiest option. Be sure to call ahead to make sure that a particular hardware store offers this service. In the past, I’ve had locks rekeyed at Ace Hardware: It took around 15 minutes, and cost $10 per lock with two keys included.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.