Re-keying lock

10 Replies

How much does it cost for a Home Depot or Lowe's to re-key your lock?

Both options are a bit far and inconvenient so I want to know how much I'll save doing that vs going to a near by locksmith.

And, if re-keying is fairly inexpensive and fast, then why don't more landlords re-key their locks instead of using something like Kwikset SmartKey Locks which are notoriously easy to break into?

I rekey almost all my locks. To have a locksmith come out to my area, its a minimum of $100 bucks vs Rekeying no more than $10 bucks a lock at any local mom and pop key shop. They are all over the place where I live, but not sure about your area.

@Dana R. , you're asking why landlords don't have other people rekey locks. My question, taking it a step further, is why landlords don't personally rekey their own locks. I think I know the answer, as I'll explain.

I think Lowe's will rekey a lock only when you buy it there. Typically, you are asking the Lowe's employee to make your new lock or locks work with the key of another lock in your house. Home Depot might have the same policy, but I don't know.

I personally rekey my locks with rekeying kits from Change-a-Lock or Prime-Line, which are available online and at some Home Depot locations. They are much less expensive than having a locksmith rekey multiple locks when you get a new tenant. I can rekey up to six locks, and usually get one extra key made, for about $15.

I think many people have not heard of the security problems with the Kwikset user-rekeyable locks. I also see posts from people who buy new locks to avoid locksmith charges.

I think few landlords rekey locks themselves, even though it's cheaper and -- at least for me -- faster, because they are not mechanically inclined, don't want to learn and think their time is better spent on other things. And, of course, many landlords don't manage the properties themselves.

I use a local hardware store that rekeys for $5 a lock. I also try to rotate spares. I have 5 sets for a 3 unit building for example. So when someone moves I just grab one of the two spare sets and swap. I recently bought a 12 unit and had the hardware store sete up with 14 sets all keyed differently so I'll never have to rekey there because I can rotate the spares. For this to work you have to have the same configuration on all units. 2 knobs and 2 deadbolts for example.
Rekeying locks is fairly easy and you can buy a rekeying kit for around a $100 and key hundreds of locks for basically nothing except your time. But it does take time if you are doing this on a regular basis and working on houses that have multiple entry points. We rekey locks every time a tenants moves out but when a new lock is need we always switch over to Kwikset smart keys. The are so much faster to rekey for very little extra in price. I don't think there is a safety issue. I have never seen or heard of a lock being picked to break into a house. I have seen a lot of broken windows kicked in doors but never a picked lock.

How do you take out the lock and bring it to the locksmith? Is it by unscrewing the screws on the side of the door? 

I was looking up on how to re-key doors in order to know what to bring to locksmith, but they all assume that you've already taken the lock out.

And, the lock works but its also hard to operate. Would re-keying make it easier to open and lock or this more of a lock problem so I need to get a new lock and not just re-key?

I have at least one extra lock per each type of lock on my apartments.  Some have 3-4 matching locks (2 entries with handle lock and deadbolts) or two matching common entry doors.  My local hardware store will rekey them for me for $5 per lock, and if I need a fresh key will provide that too.  I use the same hardware to make new keys so I am going to be there anyways.  I make sure I have rekeyed locks ready to go well before turnover, and pass out new keys to the tenants that aren't moving for the common entry doors with a notice indicating which date I will change the entry lock.

I am not sure about Home Depot or Lowes, I am not sure they offer the service- they didn't when I asked 2 years go.  I didn't have great results with the keys they made for me so I just use the local hardware store.  Never had a problem with a key from any of those.

Eventually I plan to get a rekey kit, but for the meantime $5 per lock is cheap and when done at my leisure time isn't an issue.


you would remove the whole lock and take it in, leave the latch in the door. 

My thoughts-

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I just swap out the locks with new locks.  If I buy a property and the locks are still good, I'll keep them around for use at a future property.  Many times the locks on REOs and foreclosures are junk, or they don't have all the keys, so they wind up getting tossed.  A double lock (2x handle and dead bolt) is only $30.

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