When Should You Replace Your Locks?

Between the number of secure buildings that are part of your life and the multiple doors they have, there are a number of reasons for getting locks replaced, some of which are more obvious than others. In this post we’ll go over replacing locks vs. rekeying, as well as some common scenarios for when you may want to get your locks replaced.

Replacing Locks vs. Rekeying

First, you need to identify whether you want your locks replaced or rekeyed. Replacing a lock requires a full replacement of the locking mechanism and any accompanying knob or handle. Rekeying involves removing the pins and springs in the lock cylinder and replacing them with new ones that operate with a new and different key. 

When to Get Your Locks Replaced

So how often and when should you replace your locks? Let’s look at some scenarios where changing your locks is best for your security and peace of mind.

Misplaced Keys 

Misplacing keys is a common occurrence and one that warrants replacing your locks. You can’t be certain that someone else hasn’t found your key, so changing your locks in this situation is inconvenient. However, it will put your mind at ease.

Stolen Keys

Stolen keys mean that one (or more) people have access to your property. Don’t wait to see if your keys resurface. Move quickly to get your locks replaced.

Worn Out or Rusted Locks

Even the best of locks suffer from wear and tear over time due to heavy and repeated use. Lock stressors can range from stiffness and looseness to rust and tarnish. Old, well-worn locks are easy for criminals to pick while newer, tighter locks are impossible to open without the right key. Replace your old locks and secure your home.

Renting out space or adding a new roommate

Subletting a room or an apartment, or sharing your living space with a roommate, are common reasons for changing out your locks. The tenant receives keys to the property upon rental and returns them upon termination of the lease. Replacing the locks is necessary if this process does not go smoothly or if the tenant distributed copies of keys to other people.

Moving into a new home

Because you can’t be certain who has duplicate keys to your new home, even if it’s a brand-new build, it’s smart to replace your locks. The former owner may have distributed copies to other people, or the home may have had a realtor lockbox, and that key has passed through many pairs of hands. Never assume that the locks on your new residence are tamper proof; replace them and rest easy in your new home.

Home invasion and burglary

Burglary is a horrible invasion of your sense of security. In this scenario, you need to expect the worst: the criminals have your keys and access to your home. Don’t take the chance that your keys haven’t fallen into the wrong hands. Replace your locks after a home invasion and restore your sense of privacy.

House sitting

Consider changing your locks if you’ve had someone watch your house while you’re on vacation. Even if you trust that person, you can’t be sure that someone didn’t get access to a key without the house sitter knowing.

Regardless of your particular scenario, it’s a best practice to upgrade your security by replacing your locks every few years for both better performance and greater security. 

How to Choose the Right Door Closer

One of the most important mechanisms installed on your commercial doors is the door closer. Without a proper closer your doors could be slamming shut causing damage to the door and frame or not closing at all letting valuable energy escape and compromising building security.

To ensure you’ve got the proper equipment installed, follow these basic tips before deciding on a door closer.

Questions to Consider

First and foremost, you need to be able to answer these basic questions in order to narrow down your door closer choices:
1) How much traffic does this entrance see?
2) What is the size and weight of the door?
3) What are the backswing requirements?
4) Am I looking to outfit an interior or exterior door?
5) What is my budget?

These will help you determine which direction to start looking in. 

Door Closers Based on Traffic

Some door closers are better for high traffic areas. A durable option is the overhead door closer – best used for medium to heavy traffic – and can be used on either interior or exterior doors. They’re also the most common door closer on the market. The three main types of overhead door closers are:

Regular Arm

Installed on the outside of the door, this door closer juts out from the door frame, never laying flush with the door. However, this is the most power-efficient option available.

Parallel Arm

With an arm that sits parallel with the door when closed, the parallel arm option are most common in schools and commercial buildings as they minimize the opportunity to vandalize doorways. Keep in mind they’re not the most power-efficient.

Top Jamb

If you’ve got a glass or aluminum door frame, a top jamb door closer is your best option. The spring loaded box which enables the door to close on its own is mounted on the face of the doorframe.

Heavy Duty Door Closers

If you’ve got a heavy traffic zone you may consider something a bit more heavy duty in which case a floor-spring or overhead spring closer would be more appropriate. This variety is not visible like the traditional overhead door closer, so if you’re concerned about aesthetics this would also be a good option. 

A floor-spring door closer is great for glass door storefront locations. Installed in the floor, the closer is fitted to the bottom of the door making it less visible. This variety will generally come with an option to leave the door propped open and just provides a more sleek look to your entryways. 

Other Things to Consider

If you have automatic door openers you’ll need to keep these in mind when choosing a door closer. Many automatic door openers have a closing mechanism of their own and installing more hardware on top of that may cause damage to your door.

Building codes will have an impact on the type of door closers you install. Every jurisdiction is different when it comes to building code requirements. Check with the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, American National Standards Institute and the American with Disabilities Act requirements. Each of these resources will keep you within code requirements.  

Don’t forget that just because your doors are now closing perfectly on their own that you still need to install locking mechanisms appropriate for your doors. The doors may be shutting on their own but you’d like them to stay that way!

If you’re interested in equipping your doors with automatic door closers, contact a professional to ensure proper installment.  

The Importance of Latch Protection

There are several ways to improve the security of the doors to your home or business. High tech security systems, commercial grade locks and regular spot checking are all ways to further secure your entryways.

However, break-ins are often executed the good old fashioned way, with brute force or door prying. So, how else can you prevent intruders from gaining access to your building by essentially walking through your front door?

Latch Protectors

Chances are you’ve seen latch protectors in your daily life but didn’t realize their purpose. A latch protector is a either a stainless steel or a cold-rolled steel plate that is affixed to the door itself. The plate overlaps with the door jamb which helps prevent prying and jamb spreading. Since it’s affixed to the outside, it also makes it more difficult to kick a door in.

Levels of Security

There are three levels of security offered by latch protectors.
Level 3: Commercial grade security preventing forced entry
Level 2: Includes an anti-spread pin preventing forced entry and door jamb separation
Level 1: Contains 2 anti-spread pins providing an optimum deterrent for forced entry and door jamb separation.

Depending on your needs, you may choose to have the most heavy duty option or the basic latch protector.

Aesthetics

We can never forget about the fact that our doors add a level of aesthetic appeal to our homes and office buildings. Just like with many other security features, latch protectors come in several finishes to match your overall décor scheme. Aluminum, antique brass, chrome, stainless steel, mirrored brass…there are plenty of options to choose from.

Latch protectors are often overlooked by homeowners because they seem a bit too commercially driven. However, if you’ve ever had your home broken into you know that you can never take too many security precautions. With latch protectors coming in so many finish options, it should be simple to choose one that works well with your home’s overall appearance.

Installation

Latch protectors provide additional security for the latch and deadbolt. To be sure you’re not interfering with the door’s other mechanisms, it’s best to seek the advice of a professional locksmith before installation. Installation plans will revolve around several factors such as door type, amount of surface area to cover, how the door swings and ensuring that once it’s installed the door will latch properly. During installation people often find that there are adjustments which need to be made to the door beforehand. A professional locksmith will be able to assist you with any snafus that may appear.

As always, be sure you’re following basic door security tips on a regular basis. No matter how many bells and whistles you have installed on your entryways, if they’re not properly maintained you could be asking for trouble.

Jamb Jackets for Security

When’s the last time you took a good look at the state of your door jambs? If you haven’t paid them much attention recently, take a second on your way out and give it a peek.

Chances are that if you haven’t recently had new doors and jambs installed, they’re looking pretty haggard. If you do notice that they’re a bit worse for wear, consider installing a jamb jacket to provide a higher level of security to your home and office doorways.

At Risk Doors

Wooden doors weaken and become damaged more easily than most other materials. Constant use and weather may cause the wood to soften, splinter or deteriorate, making your doors less secure. Look at the door jamb. If it appears to be worn down or pieces easily splinter off then you need to address the issue sooner rather than later.

Even if your doors are made of another, less soft material, the door jambs will need reinforcing at some point in time. Aluminum and other metals may become dented preventing the door from properly latching.

Concerns with Reinforcing Door Jambs

Often times, people leave their crumbling door jambs as they are because they’re under the impression they’ll need to do a rip and replace of the entire door set or frame to fix the issue. Fortunately, jamb jackets are the perfect solution for someone with this concern. The jamb jacket is installed over the existing door jamb so there’s no need to replace anything.

Another concern is that the jamb jacket will interfere with aesthetics. In actuality, if appearance is something you’re concerned with, jamb jackets can help! They create a smooth, clean surface and are available in a few color options.

Installation can also seem too complicated for the everyday homeowner. If ease of installation is a barrier for you, contacting a professional locksmith to pop one in is a safe bet. Realistically, any time you’re installing new hardware on your doors you’ll want to get a professional to take on the project with you. You can never be too careful when it comes to securing your home or business.

Benefits of Jamb Jackets

The primary benefit of installing a jamb jacket is added security. If your door jambs are weakened from overuse and deterioration, a burglar can easily kick in the door and gain access to your home or business. Even if you’ve installed the most sophisticated high grade lock you could find, a weak door jamb will never hold up to brute force. The disappointing part is that it could have all been easily prevented if properly addressed.

A side benefit is that they truly do streamline the look of your doorway. Also, if you’ve got little ones running around, you could mitigate the risk of some nasty injuries from splintering wood or sharp metal projections.

Talk to your local Boston area locksmith if you see some signs of wear in your door jambs. They’ll be able to make recommendations and help with your new jamb jacket installation.

Decorative Residential Locks

Our homes’ doors and locks need to serve two purposes: provide safety and add to our home aesthetically. Commercial buildings have it a bit easier, mostly focusing on the practical issues when purchasing door locks, but when it comes to our homes, they not only need to keep intruders out but must also be appealing to the eye. Here are a few options to consider when choosing your new decorative residential locks.

Keyed Handle Set

Handle sets add a regal look to your entry way. With a handle, thumb operated latch, and matching deadbolt, this particular variety of decorative locking system not only looks polished but also offers a single or double cylinder deadbolt option to up your home’s security. Many manufacturers offer “dummy” sets for French doors to ensure both sides are perfectly matched.

Electronic Door Locks

An electronic lock or smartphone operated lock adds a greater level of security, convenience and value to your home. Many different manufacturers have a variety of faceplates to choose from to match the style of your home. This way you won’t have to worry about being stuck with a futuristic looking faceplate if you live in a traditional house.

Passage Door Lock

This type of lockset is best used for interior doors, or doors leading into a secure area such as your backyard or patio, as they only lock from a single side or not at all. They look like standard door knobs but come in many different finishes, making them virtually customizable to any design scheme.

Using this lockset on non-main entry doors (think back, side and patio doors) provides an added security benefit. Since they require a key to unlock, there’s no chance of an intruder breaking a window, reaching in and simply turning the locking mechanism to gain entry.

Additional Security Hardware

If you’ve found the perfect lockset to compliment your design preferences but feel like you need additional security measures, consider having a professional locksmith install extra hardware, such as:

• Night latch – secures the door from the inside only
• Door viewer – a standard peephole
• Door jam security hardware – designed to strengthen vulnerable areas of the door jam to help withstand applied force such as kicking

There are different grades of locking mechanisms for all the doors in your home. Once you’ve chosen the perfect look, check with your local Boston area locksmith about your options to feel more secure in your home.