Door locks are essential for securing your home, but they can also be quite expensive to replace if you’ve lost the key or otherwise need repairing. This is why it’s always a good idea to know how to change a door lock in case of an emergency.

When changing your locks, there are many different things you should consider: from what kind of lock you want to be installed all the way down to what type of screws and tools will work best on your door. In this tutorial, we will go over everything you need to know about changing door locksets as well as some helpful tips for finding the right person for the job.

These questions below are helpful to ask:

  • What kind of door do I have?
  • What type of lockset do I want?
  • What tools and screws will work with my door?


1) Determine Your Door Type

Before you can begin to change a lock, it’s important that you know what type of door your home is equipped with. This information will help determine the type of lockset you need for replacement and whether or not your particular door is compatible with the installation. There are three main types of doors: steel, wood, and fiberglass.

  • A steel door is usually constructed with a metal outer frame or even an added metal plate surrounded by insulation to make it soundproof and more durable.
  • A wooden door on the other hand is often made of plywood, fiberboard, or other similar materials.
  • A fiberglass door is usually made of three panels; one outer panel and two inner panels which are often covered in insulation for added soundproofing.


2) Choose Your Lockset

Once you’ve found out what type of door your home has, the next step is to determine what kind of lockset you want.

Single Cylinder: For single-cylinder locks, the lock is turned with a key on one side and you turn the doorknob to open it from the other. This type of lockset also comes in two different versions; deadbolt or rim lock.

Deadbolt: deadbolts are cylinders that work up and down in a vertical motion and are often installed in external doors.

Rim Lock: Rim locks work by using a key to turn the lock from the inside while you use the knob to open it from the outside. This type of lockset is better for internal doors, such as your front door or bedroom door.

Double Cylinder: A double cylinder lockset is similar to a single-cylinder except instead of using a key from one side, you have the option of using a key from both sides. This type of lock can be found on both internal and external doors, for example, your front door.

Lockable Thumbturn: Often used in conjunction with lever handles, thumb turn locks can be locked simply by twisting the handle towards the door. This type of lockset is less secure than other types because you could open it using a flat blade screwdriver. However, they are typically used in internal rooms where double cylinder locks might seem too secure or conspicuous to use.


3) Upgrade Your Hardware

Another factor that will determine what type of lockset you will need is the current hardware on your door. This includes screws, hinges, etc. The first thing you want to focus on is the hinges for your door. Hinges come in two different types: butt and continuous.

 Butt Hinges

Butt hinges are fixed at one end and swing away from the door. This type of hinge is attached to the frame with one or more screws and works well with most lock types including deadbolts, rim locks, and thumb turns.

 Continuous Hinges

Continuous hinges allow you to open your door 180 degrees and work best with levers and handles. These hinges also come in a butt hinge form or a center-hung design which requires a separate track for each side of the door.

Finally, if your door has been previously drilled, you may need to replace the hardware that’s already there before installing new locks.


4) Find a Professional


Once you have the type of door, lockset and hardware figured out, it’s time to find a professional locksmith near you. There may be many options in your area but make sure to choose someone who has a solid reputation for quality work and fair prices.

When dealing with an emergency situation where you need immediate help, you should never be trying to pick locks or force your way into the property. That approach can damage the door, lock, and surrounding areas, making it unsafe for everyone involved.

Once you’re ready to start the process of changing the lock, call King Locksmith & Doors for 24/7 service! We are available at (202) 800-2622.

For Maryland and Baltimore locksmiths, call (240) 345-1455.


5) Switch Out the Lockset

After you’ve selected a locksmith, it’s time to get your new set of keys cut and the lockset installed.

Using the key, or a drill if you do not have one handy, remove any screws that hold the existing lockset into the door. Save the screws somewhere you can find them later so they are not misplaced.

Next, install the new lockset by inserting it into the hole of your door and securing it with either of the two options mentioned earlier. Once you have ensured that the lockset is flush against the door with no gaps between it and any surrounding part, finish tightening the screws.


6) Cut the Keys for Your New Lockset

This step requires a bit of effort and will require that you or your locksmith be well-equipped with the proper tools, but it’s worth it, as cutting keys is quite expensive to have done by someone else.

This is also a good opportunity for you to use the additional set of keys cut by your locksmith for yourself or to give them to a trusted family member.


7) Test Functionality

Once you’ve finished replacing the lockset on your door, test it out with the deadbolt and key, making sure that they both work properly before locking up for the night or leaving the property.

For double cylinder locks, you will need to rotate the handle in both directions to make sure that it rotates freely without getting stuck in either direction.


8) Finish Up, Install Strike Plate, and Re-Key Existing Locks

Most locksmiths will offer to re-key your deadbolt. If they don’t, it’s good practice to do so yourself if you only have one key for the lock. The process may seem intimidating but professional locksmiths can cut keys quickly and easily using different methods.

After installation is complete, it’s time to replace and install the strike plate. This part of the process is simple and shouldn’t require any additional help from your locksmith if you have someone come out to change your locks.

Once everything has been installed, re-keyed, and tested for functionality, make sure to double-check that you have all the screws and keys that were originally included with your lockset.

If you’re unsure how to re-key your lock, contact King Locksmith & Doors for assistance! We’d be happy to help (202) 800-2622 or (240) 345-1455 for Maryland and Baltimore locksmiths.


9) Keep Track of New Keys


Once your new lockset has been installed, it’s a good idea to keep the extra key sets organized and easily accessible. If you have many, make a system of some sort so that family members or trusted adults can find the keys if they ever need them in an emergency or otherwise unexpected situation.

It’s also a good idea to keep the keys in a safe, secure place away from children and pets just in case they get curious and try to figure out what they open. A magnetic key holder or specifically designed toolbox can help you store them safely until more permanent solutions are found.


10) Troubleshoot for Future Lock-Ups

Once you have finished installing your new lockset, it’s important to understand the cause of the issue in case it happens again. If you frequently find yourself locked out of your house or apartment, consider getting a rekey done by a professional locksmith. This will prevent any unwanted keys from being made and used against your knowledge.

If you are unable to get back into your home with the same key, contact a professional locksmith for more information on how they can help you out!


Call King Locksmith & Doors for 24/7 service

If you’re looking to change a lockset in your home or business, King Locksmith & Doors is available 24/7! We have locksmiths standing by to help you throughout Washington DC and Maryland, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at either (202) 800-2622 or (240) 345-1455.

If you’re looking for more information about changing locks, check out our additional resources!

A change in locks can be taken advantage of by burglars. Make sure to purchase high-quality replacement doors and new locksets to prevent burglary break-ins.

Call King Locksmith & Doors for professional locksmiths that can meet all of your Washington DC, Maryland, and Baltimore security needs.

King Locksmith and Doors Inc. DC & Maryland