The locks on your home’s doors provide the first and strongest line of defense against intruders. That’s why it’s important to keep them in good working condition. If you have a problem with your lock installation and repair, it’s best to get it repaired right away rather than waiting for the situation to worsen.
Locks come in a variety of sizes and types, so it’s important to know your options before you start trying to fix or replace them. Most doors are predrilled to accommodate locks, but if you’re replacing an old lock, you’ll need to measure the existing holes to make sure your new lock will fit. If the hole isn’t the right size, you’ll need to drill new ones.
Changing the locks on your door is an easy do-it-yourself project that only takes a few minutes and minimal tools. PJ Fitz offers an excellent step-by-step guide to changing a Pella lock, but the principles are the same for any door. First, locate the screws holding the knobs to the base plate. Remove these using a screwdriver. Once the knobs are removed, you can access the latch plate and strike plate. Remove these with a screwdriver and remove the deadbolt, if you have one.
If you do have a deadbolt, make sure to remove the metal screw covers that cover the screw heads, which can be removed by prying with a thin screwdriver or pulling out with locking pliers. You’ll also want to clean out any dirt or dust that may be in the deadbolt recess, and reinstall the faceplate.
Some locks require additional steps to unlock, such as a spring catch or pin that must be depressed with a hammer and punch before the knob can be pulled off. You can usually do this with your finger, but if you’re having trouble, use a butter knife or screwdriver to gently depress the lock.
Often, you can simply tighten the screws holding the exterior and interior lock mechanisms to the plate in order to repair it. If you’re unable to tighten the screws because of stripped threads or wood fibers, however, it’s possible that the screw holes have been affected by extreme weather conditions. This could mean that the new screw won’t stay tight or even hold the plate at all.
While the majority of locks are relatively simple, you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions before installing a new lock to ensure that you follow all necessary procedures and have the correct tools on hand. A locksmith can also assist you in determining what type of lock your door needs and how to install it properly. This will save you a lot of time, hassle, and money.