How do I re-key a lock?

We want to change the locks on our house. There are double doors in front, with one deadbolt and a knob on each door, and another doorknob lock and deadbolt on the back door. The front door doorknob is the only one we got a key for when we bought the house.

My husband called a locksmith to come to the house to do it, and he quoted us over $800. My husband told him that was insane, and he dropped the price to $500, but then wouldn’t take an out-of-state check, and wanted more for a credit card, so my husband just paid him $30 for the house call and sent him away.

So, how do we do it ourselves? Or do we just need to find a less skeevy locksmith? (Or was that a totally fair price and we’re just out of touch?)

Buy new locks and install them yourself. If you are even marginally adept with tools it’s an easy fix.

Oh, I should add that there are kits to rekey a lock. Google it.

Pull the old lock and take it to the store. Make sure everything lines up with the new one.

Rekeying a lock isn’t expensive.

Best thing to do is remove the locks and take to a Locksmith’s shop. They’ll usually rekey them while you wait.

Sometimes locks aren’t compatible. My house had a yale lock on the front door and a much better on the back. To make one key for both locks, the locksmith had to put a yale cylinder in the back door lock. Yales are funny because their keys only work in yale cylinders.

When my wife’s purse was stolen, I just bought a pair of new deadbolts at Home Depot or Lowes, and replaced the old ones. Probably easier than rekeying a doorknob. Make sure the two have the same number on them, so the keys match. We didn’t bother with changing the doorknobs, but I’d do the same with them as well.

This is if your doors are new and standard enough that you can just replace the knobs.

When I rekeyed a couple of locks at my house, I learned that Weiser keys will work in a Kwikset lock, but not vice-versa.

Re-key kits are commonly available for Kwikset and Schlage locks - these two, and various mechanically compatible brands are probably on better than 90% of all homes.

They usually come with enough bits to re-key four or five cylinders. The process is easy enough, but the parts are tiny, easily dropped and easily put into the wrong place. I’d recommend starting with the deadbolt cylinder from a door that has a deadbolt and a regular keyed latch or knob. This way, if you find that working with tiny things is not your strong point and the springs go flying out, you’ll still have one working lock on the door while you go to the hardware store to buy new locks.

If you’re really lucky, you may have newer Kwikset SmartKey cylinders that can be re-keyed in a “learning” process that doesn’t even require taking the lock out of the door. You can identify these magic beasties by the small rectangular slot on the face of the cylinder near the keyhole. The re-keying kit for these is just a batch of new keys.

Otherwise, take a good look at your locks - if they seem old and flimsy, it may be better to just replace them completely. Fair warning - once you get new locks, the rest of the door will look cruddy and you’ll want to paint it, and then the trim will look bad and it will need to be repainted, and you’re not going to put that nasty old door mat back are you? (Ask me how I know how this winds up…)

It’s really not that hard, check for videos. I’ve done it, and I had no experience and was quite intimidated at the beginning. I shouldn’t have been, it really was quite simple.

This. If they are the same key style then pull all the locks off and let a locksmith do it. Common sense would tell you that it should be cheaper than a new lock.

$800 hahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

FWIW, I just ran a locksmith check on and found the average price for rekeying a house in Portland at about $80.00 plus $50.00 for callout fee. Seattle shouldn’t be ten times more expensive.

I think that locksmith tried to scam you big time.

I agree with with what has been posted, but may I offer you a suggestion.
Key all the doors alike. Then you only have to carry one key.
I carried this one step further at Casa de Rick. When I put in new doors, I had all 4 doors locks in the house and the door to the garage keyed alike. The two steel gates to the yard are keyed so that my house key will act as a master and open them, but I have a separate gate key that will open the gate, but not the house. So a gardener or who ever can get into the yard, but not into the house, and I only have to carry one key, not a ring full.
If you decide to go the new lock route, there are lots of retailers on the net that can supply your needs. I used these guys for my locks they handled the keying like pros.

Some lock kits are sold as matching pairs using the same keys.

Shortly after I moved in I paid around $AU1,000 to rekey every lock in my partner’s house to the same key, as having 6 different keys drove me insane. My keyring now holds exactly one key. Worth every cent IMO.

IOW I don’t think $800 was all that outrageous.

When I worked at a hardware store, we used to rekey locks for $5 each. Local landlords used to bring in bags of locks every time they had a tenant move out. We only did Kwikset though; they’re easy to rekey, and I’m sure you can buy kits for it. We used to time ourselves to see who was fastest; one guy had it down to 20 seconds.

This is an excellent suggestion. In our old house, we had three outside doors to the house itself, and then deadbolts, PLUS we had two lockable outbuildings. That’s 8 keys. It’s a hell of a lot easier to just carry two keys, a deadbolt key and a regular key.

$800 that seams a little high. No seam a lot high if only repinnning the locks. If it was a simple repin the cost should have been show up fee and maybe one hour, two if you are out in the boonies. And parts, 5 pins per lock at a price of 1 to 10 cents per pin.

Now if the locks are different brands and it going to take majic to match locks maybe a little more.

As others have said take the locks off the doors and take them to a locksmith shop and see what they have to say. Better locksmith than a clerk in a hardware store.

By the way my house Has 3 dead bolts, 3 door knob locks, and 2 gate locks. Also I have 3 padlocks. All pinned to one key.

I have deadbolts also. They are keyed the same as the knobs. One key does it all.

$800 is highway robbery. $500 is equally outrageous.

A competent locksmith should be able to rekey 6 residential locks in an hour, especially if you want them all to work with the same key. If they all already have the same keyway (keyhole shape) the expense should be minimal; if the locksmith has to provide new cylinders it may cost a little more but cylinders are dirt cheap; many locksmiths will recycle parts taken from locksets they’ve removed from other clients and may not even charge for the cylinders.

Don’t pay more than $100-150; most of that will be the minimal charge for a 1-hour housecall, labor included.