There are a number of good reasons why you may want to change your door locks, for example you may have lost your keys and be locked out, have reason to believe someone has a set of keys who is not authorised to have them, the door lock may be broken or faulty, or you may be concerned that the existing locks do not offer sufficient levels of security. There are a huge range of locks available today, for both DIY installation and specialist security locks for fitting by registered locksmiths.
The main types of lock associated with timber doors are cylinder Rim or Yale style locks, and Mortice or Chubb style locks. Today most insurance companies in the UK will insist on five lever mortice locks conforming to BS 3621. When replacing mortice locks it would be a false economy to use anything less. uPVC Doors generally are fitted with multi-point locks. The number of locking points varies but all eventually suffer from problems associated with thermal movement causing locking mechanisms to become jammed, normally requiring re-towing and heeling to rectify the problem, but if a new lock is required, there is a choice of cylinder or multi-point locks.
If it is simply a case of lost keys, then usually the only the cylinder will need to be replaced. If the multi-point lock is broken or faulty, then it is unlikely that a locksmith will have a replacement lock of the right type in his van, due to the array of locks fitted to double glazed doors. This will mean extra expense and a second visit once the type of lock has been identified. Window locks are fairly inexpensive and key operated locks can be fitted to most kinds of windows. You should consider fitting window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and other windows that are easy to reach, even small windows such as skylights need locks.
If your front and back doors are not secure, your home is not secure. Around two thirds of burglars in the UK gain entry through a door. Locksmiths can fit a five lever mortise lock to all your outside wooden doors including French doors, to greatly enhance security and even reduce insurance premiums. A Mortise Deadlock can be fitted about one third of the way up the door, as you can only open a deadlock with a key, thieves can't simply smash the nearby glass panel to open the door from the outside. in addition with deadlocks fitted, even if burglars gain access to your home some other way, they can't carry your belongings out through the door!
To simply put a new barrel in a Yale type lock, this can be done DIY and only takes about 15 minutes, the new barrel and two keys will only cost about £7 from your local DIY store. However a locksmith will charge you £40 to £60 if you cant fit it yourself. To change the whole “Yale type” lock if it’s broken then a new lock will cost between £10 and £60). However, bear in mind that Yale type locks are easily kicked open as they are just held in place by screws into the frame and the door.
Modern UPVc doors will likely be fitted with a multi-point security mortice lock which are much more secure and resistant to break ins. These are trickier to fit yourself as there are so many different types on the market. A locksmith will replace a mortice lock from around £100 depending on the make and model of the lock fitted. Unfortunately, if you have been the victim of a break in, you may also have to also change the door and/or frame due to the damage caused, which will cost several hundred pounds.
It can be a costly mistake not choosing a competent and qualified locksmith, many people suffer shoddy work and others get scammed with additional unnecessary and expensive work. Unfortunately, there is no legislation or regulation with regards to locksmiths in the UK at present, so anyone can call themselves a locksmith, whether competent or not.
To find a recommended locksmith use the "post your job" button on this page to have locksmiths near you get in touch with advice and prices. Check they are members of the Master Locksmiths Association or Institute of Certified Locksmiths, this means that they will already have been vetted, plus always ask for a fixed quote in writing before any work is carried out.