Get Your Locks Off

There’s something gratifying about changing the locks on your new home. It’s a more concrete way of taking ownership than just signing your name to some mortgage papers. I sign papers every day. But changing locks? That is a sign to the old owners, passer-bys, ghosts, etcetera that this is my place now.

Remove screws from the lock

First step is buying the locks. In our case we weren’t too picky and there was a sale at Menard’s. The lock set is usually sold with a lock and a knob.

The second step is to remove the old hardware. All you need for this is a screwdriver. Don’t try to force anything. Force is for Jedi, not home improvement. There should be some screws on the back. The same steps are repeated for the knob. You may have to remove the knob and faceplate to access the screws on some hardware. The knob will likely have a notch to press into to get the face plate off. (Note: This is for modern hardware. If you have a skeleton key and really old hardware then you probably live in a cool old house and should not be changing that hardware anyway.)

Take of the face of the lock


Slip a screwdriver into the knob notches to remove

Slip out the lock and you are left with an empty hole (that’s what she said). Now you want to test fit your new hardware. If you’re lucky, the holes in the door are the right size and all you have to do is screw everything together.

In my case, the bored out holes were slightly too small. I tend to break things when given access to power tools, so rather than boring out a larger hole, I used a file to make the opening just the right size. This method takes longer, leaves a mess and leaves an imperfectly round but serviceable opening.

Then all you have to do is screw it all together and test it with your new keys.  I’d recommend testing it with the door open. If something isn’t quite right and you end up locked outside you’ll be left wondering if it’s all a big metaphor for something.

And that’s it!  New locks!


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