Many homeowners try to save money by trying to fix or install locks themselves. Unfortunately, a small mistake can cost a lot of time and money.
If your lock doesn’t work, it may be due to mechanical problems like wear or damage. The good news is that most lock issues can be fixed.
Locks require a key to operate, but over time keys wear down and can become stuck or damaged. A locksmith can help with a broken key in a lock or a lock that won’t open at all.
Lock installation can also upgrade your locks to a higher security standard, a necessity if you’ve experienced break-ins or want heightened protection for your property. They can also install smart locks that can unlock with a phone or other remote device, or even remotely open the door.
If a doorknob lock or deadbolt is not opening, you may have a frozen latch assembly or lock mechanism. Trying to fix this yourself can damage the door or lock, so it’s best to leave this to a professional Lock installation. A simple repair you can try yourself is to place a bit of graphite into the lock keyhole, either by squeezing it from a tube or dusting it onto a key and operating it in the lock.
Deadbolts offer additional security and can decrease the odds of break-ins that would require filing an insurance claim and a resulting increase in your premium. However, even these robust locks aren’t immune to the ravages of time and use. That’s why a qualified locksmith is an important part of the team when it comes to installing or repairing these sturdy, effective locks.
To prep a door for a new deadbolt, start by removing any lock hardware that’s attached to the faceplate. Depending on the type of bolt you choose (there are two standard backset measurements: 2 3/8 inches and 2 3/4 inches), mark the recommended spot on the edge of the door with the provided template.
Next, transfer this mark to the door jamb and create a mortise slot using a chisel. This will be the location where your strike plate sits when the bolt is thrown. It’s also the spot that will receive the metal screw covers when you install a double-cylinder deadbolt.
A faceplate is a plate secured over socket back boxes, switches and other electrical outlets to conceal wired connections and improve safety and security. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and finishes. Some have recessed screw holes which allow screws to sit snugly in the faceplate and others are secured by screwing into place.
The cross bore hole is the central hole drilled through the door to install the lock body (chassis). The latch bore, or edge bore, is a smaller diameter hole drilled in the edge of the door for the tubular latch mechanism to rest recessed in.
Several types of faceplates are offered, with plastic being the cheapest online and metal versions more expensive. There are also options for a range of finishes and textures to suit your taste and home décor. Designed to streamline the functionality of a lock, faceplates help ensure that the latch bolt engages correctly when the handle is closed.
If you have a door that won’t latch, your strike may be causing the problem. The strike is the metal plate that catches the bolt or latch in the door frame and keeps it from trashing the doorjamb. A strike provides a correctly-sized hole for the latch and a lip to help guide it into the hole. If your bolt is hitting or rubbing on the strike, you can see where that’s occurring by locking and unlocking the door several times. This Old House suggests putting some chalk – lipstick also works – on the strike to mark where the latch hits it, and you’ll be able to determine whether your strike is too high or low.
Most electric strikes are recessed into the doorjamb, and they require a mortise to be cut in order to be installed. For that reason, Kisi explains that installing these types of locks is often best left to a professional. In addition, most AHJs (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) require that electric strike locks are configured in fail-safe mode, so people can exit the building in case of a power outage or fire alarm.