Did you know that a lock can be rekeyed rather than replaced? The process of rekeying a lock involves altering the actual keyhole and key mechanism of the lock without changing the rest of the lock structure, which could include the door handle or the deadbolt. Rekeying is a more involved process but can be advantageous for a variety of reasons.
1. You Can Keep Antique or Unique Hardware
If you have antique door knobs or expensive hardware that you don't want to replace, rekeying locks can be very beneficial. The actual exterior of the locks will not change, only the interior, so the appearance of your door will remain the same. This is especially useful if you can't find a similar replacement. Rekeying an antique lock is also a good idea for security purposes, as you can update the interior of the lock while keeping the appearance of an antique door.
2. You Can Rekey More Complex Locks
If you're trying to replace the key in a safe or similar equipment, it may not be feasible to remove the entire locking mechanism, as the locking mechanism would be embedded in the door or device itself. Rekeying will take out only the key cylinder itself. Rekeying may need to be done through technicians who are experienced with that particular device, however. Rekeying is usually not a feasible solution if you have lost the key to a safe or similar device, however, so that should be kept in mind.
3. You May Save Money
If your door hardware was expensive, rekeying the locks will be less expensive. You'll only need to pay for the key mechanism itself and the labor for rekeying and most locksmiths are skilled enough that the labor goes by fairly quickly. But it should be noted that if you have relatively cheap hardware, rekeying will actually be more expensive--this is why you should get a quote or consultation before making the decision.
4. You Can Keep a Consistent Appearance
Rekeying a lock doesn't change the appearance of the hardware, which could be important if you have consistent hardware throughout a building but cannot get the same hardware for a replacement. For buildings that have older hardware, it can be almost impossible to keep the hardware consistent.
Your locksmith can tell you whether rekeying your locks makes sense. Sometimes it may make more sense to replace the entire setup--and some locks cannot be rekeyed because of the way that they are made. Only a qualified locksmith (such as one from Alki/West Seattle Key & Lock) will be able to tell.