Summary: How much does it cost to change a lock, average lock installation costs and average lock prices.
It could be that you've just moved house, or have lost your keys. There are many reasons why you may need to change the locks on your property. Luckily, replacing a lock is a relatively simple job which can be completed with minimum effort in a matter of minutes.
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to use the same keys (for example if you have lost yours), or if you want a new set of keys (for example if you have too many of your old keys in circulation and you are concerned about security).
The easiest lock to change is a Yale lock. It is one of the simplest DIY jobs there is. Be sure to check the exact type of your existing lock before you purchase a new one. If they are identical then the new cylinder will simply slide into the place of the old cylinder and provide you with new keys. If you do not get an exact match the job becomes a little harder, but still relatively simple as you have to modify the door to accommodate the new lock. You will need your old key or a core key if you are simply replacing the lock barrel. Also you will need to measure the distance from the latch of the door to the middle of the door knob, then you know exactly where to replace everything when installing the new lock, if necessary.
If you don't fancy doing the job yourself, it's important to use a qualified, insured, reliable and vetted tradesperson. Do check their credentials, as there are scams where thieves have pretended to be locksmiths. It will take a specialist locksmith about quarter of an hour to change a standard lock, such as a mortice, nightlatch or Yale; specialist locks will take longer. If you choose to use a tradesperson to do the job for you, check that they are using British Standard locks. Confirm how many new keys you will be given with the new lock, as original keys always work more smoothly than duplicates (or duplicates of duplicates!).
If you don't fancy doing the job yourself, it's important to use a qualified, insured, reliable and vetted tradesperson.
If you choose to use a tradesperson to do the job for you, check that they are using British Standard locks.
If the only part of the lock that needs replacing is the barrel or cylinder this is a much cheaper and simpler job than if the whole mechanism needs to be replaced. A cylinder can simply be released, slid out and replaced with a new cylinder in a matter of minutes. All locksets purchased from a home improvements store will include clear instructions of how this simple process works. Whatever lock you are changing, you will need a minimum of tools; a set of screwdrivers, pliers and hacksaw to cut new shank to length and a cloth to place on the ground to protect your flooring and catch any loose lock or door parts.
If you use a tradesperson, be prepared to pay a fixed call out charge as well as labour charges. Call out-charges can be higher in the evening or at weekends. Be sure to check exactly what is covered by these labour costs, e.g. new lock mechanisms, re-keying etc. Fees can vary greatly between different locksmiths so it's well worth your time shopping around.
If you have multiple locks to replace, for example, when you have moved house and you want to ensure that you are the only person who has keys to your property, it may become more cost and time effective to get a locksmith to do the job for you. Many locksmiths offer smaller top-up costs for additional locks after you have been charged the basic call out charge for one lock.
Another alternative is to rekey the lock, where you keep all the lock parts but change the lock settings so a new key can be used. This can either be done by taking the lock part to a locksmiths shop, or by calling out a locksmith, or by purchasing a rekeying kit yourself. The project will take under a day to do and all specialist tools are included in these sets. Rekeying kits are available for most brands of locks but are not interchangeable between brands.
Remember, if you're doing the job yourself do take your time, get everything you need before you begin and check each step – the last thing you want is to have to leave the house unlocked to go and buy replacement parts if you've forgotten something or something goes wrong. If your house gets burgled while you're out, that could prove to be the biggest cost of all.
A cylinder can simply be released, slid out and replaced with a new cylinder in a matter of minutes.
Many locksmiths offer smaller top-up costs for additional locks after you have been charged the basic call out charge for one lock.
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