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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

8 Questions To Ask Before You Replace Your Deadbolt Lock

by Ralph February 21, 2018
Installing Deadbolt

Many resources will take you through the steps to replace a deadbolt lock, but very few will give you the information you need to deal with preparing for the things you don’t expect. Even fewer prepare you for buying the right lock and achieving the goals you have for your replacement lock.

A broken door lock might be more serious than you think, so be sure that you do not delay in necessary deadbolt lock replacement. But there are a few reasons you may be looking to replace your deadbolt lock, and further questions, which you need to ask yourself.

1. Why replace a deadbolt lock?

The reason that you are looking to replace a deadbolt lock will influence every decision you make. It is the most important question to answer. These reasons will affect your approach and your concerns in the following ways:

Broken or Malfunctioning Deadbolt – If you are looking to replace a deadbolt, you need to know why it has broken. When a deadbolt breaks, it can give you insight into what to consider in a replacement. Perhaps the reason for the broken lock breaking is because it was not the right lock or was poorly made.

A deadbolt that breaks always breaks for a reason. If the reason is just that it was old and worn, your only concern will be replacing the deadbolt lock correctly. A common issue when you think you are replacing a broken deadbolt lock is that the issue is actually with the door or the key. Replacing a deadbolt lock will only be effective if the lock itself failed.

Upgrading Security – When you replace a deadbolt lock to make a room or building more secure, it is important to know how much force the deadbolt will withstand and resistance to lock picking. Understand the protection your original lock provided and what you are looking to get in your new lock.

You must also be sure that your security will be properly upgraded when you replace your deadbolt lock. For example, if you are looking to make an improvised DIY panic room, you will need to do more work than simply replace a deadbolt lock.

Aesthetics – The main concern when you replace a deadbolt lock for aesthetic reasons, is that you may lower your security or buy a lock that is generally inappropriate for the purpose. In the case of replacing a deadbolt lock, you do not want to use a double or single cylinder inappropriately.

In almost every case, you will need to replace a deadbolt with another deadbolt. Unless the deadbolt was inappropriately used in the first place, you should not use a different type of lock for a replacement. For instance, a bathroom door lock should not use a deadbolt.

2. What kind of door do you have?

When you replace a deadbolt lock on a glass door (or partial glass door), you need to use a double cylinder deadbolt. This is even more important if you are replacing a deadbolt to upgrade your security. Using the wrong lock on a glass door makes it much easier for criminals to break in.

If you have a hollow core door, there is no reason to replace a deadbolt lock with another deadbolt. The door will be so insecure that the lock matters very little. It would be better to go with a locking door handle when you replace a deadbolt on an insecure interior door.

3. Are you adding a new lock to the door?

Drilling Lock Mounting Holes In Door

Whether your door is new, or you want to add another deadbolt to an existing door, it is important to understand the door that you are dealing with. Many doors that do not come with pre-drilled cross bore holes for mounting deadbolts, were not meant to hold deadbolts. A good example of this are hollow core doors meant for interior use. If you are installing a deadbolt on an interior door, make sure it has a solid core.

The issue that is most likely to come up when you are adding a lock where there was no lock prior is that every hole you cut weakens the door. If you are adding several deadbolts, even to a strong solid core door, you are removing a lot of material, and subsequently weakening the door. Make sure to install metal slip covers and heavy locks to add metal content where large amounts of wood have been removed.

4. Have you taken your measurements before you replace your deadbolt lock?

To replace a deadbolt lock with the same brand and model, there is no need to worry about measurements. However, if you are making any changes to the type of deadbolt you are using, be sure you know the size of the pre-drilled holes in your door. This includes diameters of holes, the width of doors, and the distance of through hole from the main lock hole (length of the cross-bore hole).

There will be different considerations for mortise locks and euro cylinder deadbolts. The lock bodies for these locks can vary quite a bit in their dimensions. But no matter what type of lock you have, as long as you are buying your device from one of the most trusted door lock brands and have a standard door, most things will fit. It will just pay to know that you are not dealing with non-standard measurements.

5. Are you planning to make other upgrades when you replace your deadbolt lock?

When you replace a deadbolt, you can take that opportunity to make a couple other upgrades to your security. This is extremely important if the reason you want to replace the deadbolt is to increase your general security. There are basic ways that anyone can improve their front door security, but the best things you can do while you replace a deadbolt lock is to add hardware protection and longer screws.

Whether you are purchasing your replacement lock at a hardware store or online, get the additional supplies while you shop. Because your lock is only one of the best ways to secure a door, there is always more you can do. When you replace a deadbolt lock, you will have the hardware out, so you can add a slipcover, and you will have the tools to replace the strike plate screws.

6. Is the replacement deadbolt going to be electronic?

Whether it is for convenience, aesthetics, or security, you may want to take advantage of the technological advancements that have been made in the security industry. There are many types of electronic locks, but residential deadbolts are likely to consider smart locks. You should just be aware of the arguments on the security of smart locks vs traditional locks, and the features a smart lock should have.

If having a lock you can open with your smartphone does not sound appealing, you might just want a keypad door lock. This is an option that allows you to do away with keys without getting too sophisticated with using interconnected devices. However, with any electronic lock, power will be an obstacle or at least an important consideration. These door locks are not perfect yet, so you have to be more aware of maintenance and troubleshooting methods.

7. Where are you buying your replacement deadbolt lock?


If you are exclusively looking remove the lock you have and get an exact replacement, chances are you can find your lock at Home Depot. Unless you have already invested in one of the best front door locks, you will most likely have a Kwikset, Schlage, or Baldwin lock that can be found at most hardware stores. If you are looking for the best places to buy door locks, chances are you will want to avoid hardware stores and the brands they readily carry.

When you go on the internet to buy your locks, you can get overwhelmed by the options and prices. Just be sure you understand the reason for the door lock prices. There might also be items you need to buy to assist with the deadbolt replacement such as tools, so be sure that you make the purchases necessary to complete the job fully.


8. Should you call a locksmith to replace your deadbolt lock?

We have already made the case for why you should hire a locksmith to change your locks, but some of the points bear repeating as you are asking yourself these questions before you replace your deadbolt lock. Something very important to remember is that locksmiths are uniquely qualified to help with front door reinforcement.

A locksmith is going to have the tools and experience to do the job correctly the first time. They can find the best replacement deadbolt, so you don’t have to do the research yourself. A locksmith will also see the things you would have missed other issues you did not anticipate. They may also have cheaper solutions for the issue you have beyond knowing the options for rekeying or replacing your locks.

Closing Advice

Cost is always a concern, but don’t let it keep you from making the investment you need to properly replace your deadbolt lock. The cost to change locks will vary, but the need to keep yourself and your property safe never change. How much you should spend largely depends on the amount of risk that you are facing.

Category: Commercial, Residential, Safety & Security

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