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Replace or Rekey Locks: This is What You Should Do

When there’s an issue regarding a house’s locks, many homeowners will opt to replace the locks entirely. This usually isn’t because replacing one’s locks is the ideal option. Instead, it’s because most homeowners don’t seem to know that they have another option – queue in rekey locks.

Rekeying a door lock is often an entirely new concept to homeowners. And in some situations, it can be a much better solution than changing out your entire lockset.

And if you’re struggling to decide which choice is right for you, there’s no need to worry. We’ve got you covered.

Continue reading and we’ll walk you through what it means to replace and rekey locks and how these methods can impact your security.

What It Means to Rekey Locks

The term “rekey” is actually fairly self-explanatory. Basically, a locksmith is going to change the internal workings of a particular lock so that that it can work with a different key. But the aim is to do this without sacrificing security.

In simpler terms, you’ll keep your old lock but your old key won’t work with it anymore. Rekeying can be a cost-effective process because the lock body stays where it is. There are just a few important components that are adjusted in order to work with a different key.

In order for a locksmith to rekey locks, he’s going to have to get access to the lock cylinder. For him to reach this part, the lock is going to have to be taken off of the door that it’s connected to.

A person who knows their way around locks may be able to rekey themselves but it can be a complicated task to accomplish. And it’s not worth sacrificing the security of your home just because you don’t want to have to call a locksmith.

If you go about rekeying on your own and happen to make a mistake, you can compromise the integrity of the lock. Only if you’re highly skilled at working with locks should you attempt to rekey locks by yourself.

Our locksmiths can rekey any kind of lock. Even mortise locks, which add a level of complexity to standard locks. We even rekey for commercial offices too.

The Process of Rekeying a Lock

In order to rekey a lock, you’re going to want to focus your attention on the key pins and the lock cylinder which houses them. These are the principal parts that have to be rearranged and changed so that the lock can be rekeyed.

You’re also going to have to have the corresponding key with you. If you don’t have the current key in your possession, you’ll have to pick the lock in order to start rekeying.

The key pins inside of a lock will correspond with a specific key. So if the key pins are rearranged or changed, the key won’t work with that lock anymore. For a person to correctly set the key pins to their new positions, they will have to know what pin sizes will match the key depths.

A key decoder, pinning size chart, and depth chart are all extremely helpful at decoding the necessary information. A key decoder will help get rid of the guesswork when a person is trying to figure out which key pin they should use.

The Pros of Rekeying a Lock

Now that we have a better understanding of what rekeying is and how it works, let’s take a lot at its pros and cons. First, we’ll focus on its advantages.

More Sense of Security

By resetting your key control and invalidating all other keys that could work with a particular lock, you can achieve a much greater sense of security.

This is a common process that many new homeowners do as soon as they move in. It’s a simple way to prevent previous homeowners from entering a home that’s no longer theirs. And homeowners can feel that they are off to a sort of fresh start.


As we stated in the above, rekeying a lock consists of changing the key pins that are situated within the lock cylinder. When compared with the cost of new locksets, key pins are much less expensive. This makes the process of rekeying a great option for new homeowners who are looking to increase their security without spending too much.

Easy and Fast

An experienced locksmith who knows what he’s doing can rekey a lock is not a lot of time and with very few tools. In fact, a locksmith really only needs to use a catch tool, the current key for the lock, spanner, and a key decoder.

The Cons of Rekeying a Lock

The major downside of rekeying a lock is that the security improvements are limited. This isn’t to say that rekeying a lock won’t bring you added security, but it won’t approve any other security features aside from the ones already listed.

However, if you own a lock that has subpar security, you’ll still have an ineffective lock after it’s been rekeyed. But if your main concern is stopping people with corresponding keys from getting in, then rekeying can be a great option for you.

What It Means To Replace a Lock

The primary difference between rekeying a lock and replacing one is that now, you will be using a totally different lock. Replacing a lock tends to mean that the lock body will be totally different. This process costs a lot more money than rekeying but it will also give you a lot more control over the functioning of your lock.

The biggest reason as to why this process is more expensive is simply because you have to pay for a new lock. The first step to replacing a lock is choosing which new lock you’ll want to install.

There are several aspects that you must consider before deciding which new lock to install. A major aspect is what kind of budget you’re dealing with. You’re also going to have to think about the kind features and preferences that you want to get out of your lock.

Once you decide on which lock you’d like to get, you can either order it from your locksmith or pick it up yourself from a local hardware store. Like with anything else, there are several pros and cons with regards to replacing a lock that a person needs to first think about.

After calling our service, our locksmiths can get to you in as little as 30 minutes for an installation.

The Pros of Replacing a Lock

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of lock replacement, we’ll take a look at its pros and cons. First, we’ll start with the pros.


When you install a new lock, you have the ability to totally customize your security. And by that, we mean that you get to decide how your lock feels and looks.

You will also have control over how your door lock functions alongside the other security setups you have in your home. When you choose to replace your lock, you basically have a blank canvas on which you can impose your security needs.

Opportunity to Upgrade

If you decide to replace instead of rekeying your locks, you now have the opportunity to upgrade your home’s locks and therefore, your security setup in general.

For example, if you’ve got a Grade 2 deadbolt lock installed on your door, you wouldn’t be able to upgrade to a Grade 1 lock simply by rekeying. You’d have to do a full replacement. Also, you can completely switch out your old locks and install some fancy new smart locks.

The Cons of Replacing a Lock

The main con with regards to replacing a lock is the cost of parts and labor. While the rekeying process is fairly inexpensive, replacing locks can certainly get a lot pricier. This is mainly because, in addition to paying for a new lockset, you’re going to have to pay a locksmith to remove the old locks and install new ones.

And the cost of just a lockset is already far more expensive than the standard key pins. Homeowners with a lot of money on hand probably won’t mind the added costs. But people looking to keep a tight budget would definitely want to mull over this point.

What’s the Best Choice for Your House?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to a question like this. But we can help walk you through the most important factors that you should be thinking about in order to help you come to the right conclusion.

There are certain scenarios where either option listed above will be the ideal one. So continue reading and we’ll help you decide which is best for your home.

How Satisfied Are You with Your Lockset Brand?

If there’s nothing wrong with your locks, you’re totally happy with the brand, then it would probably be in your best interest to not replace the locks.

If you want to improve your home’s security, then rekeying should be enough to get the job done. If you’re happy with the performance of your locks, then you might as well save your money get them rekeyed.

Have You Lost a Copy of Your Keys Recently?

Losing keys happens a lot. It’s unfortunately fairly easy to do. And if the thought of someone else having your key makes you uncomfortable, then you should definitely rectify the situation.

However, a lost key problem can easily be solved with a simple rekeying. There’s no need in this situation to replace your locks.

Do You Want to Change Your Locks for Security Reasons?

When it comes to improving locks for security reasons, you either replace them or rekey them. Because both of these processes can work, it’s important that you get more specific with your security goals.

If you want to upgrade your entire security home system including your locks, then replacing the locks may be in your best interest. If this is the case, you should go ahead and research different types of locks and their features so you can find the one that will work best for you.

However, if you’re just looking to have better control over all of the keys in your home, then rekeying your locks may be the perfect means for you.

What’s Your Budget Look Like?

Many times, your budget will end up being the determining factor for if you go down the rekeying or replacing route. As we’ve mentioned several times earlier, there’s usually going to be a fairly big difference in prices between rekeying and replacing locks.

If you don’t think that your security has been compromised and your locks are still in good shape, then rekeying may be a great affordable option for you.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Locks?

Although it might not be something that we often think about, it’s important to remember that locks don’t last forever. Whether it’s an immediate emergency or notice you’re locks are getting old, you’re going to eventually have to replace them.

If you’re looking to improve your home’s security and also have an old lockset, then just going ahead and replacing the lock could be the right move for you. Especially if you think that you’re going to have to replace your lock not too far in the future.

Of course, no matter which method you choose, just remember that you still have to actually lock your doors. Nearly 28% of all burglaries are just from thieves walking through an unlocked door.

The Importance of Knowing if You Should Replace or Rekey Locks

Hopefully, you now know the difference between these two processes. And you can make a more informed decision as to whether you should replace or rekey locks in your home.

Both of these solutions are going to greatly improve the security of your home but they also have their own distinct pros and cons worth considering.

Interested in getting your locks rekeyed? Contact us today and see how we can help you!

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