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DIY Door Security: How to Change uPVC Door Locks

DIY Door Security: How to Change uPVC Door Locks

uPVC doors, common in modern homes, offer great security. But sometimes, keys get lost, locks wear down or you simply want to upgrade. So, can you change a uPVC door lock yourself? Thankfully, changing a uPVC lock is an easy job achievable with the right tools and know-how.

Before You Begin

Safety First
Ensure the door is propped open or secured safely so the procedure is completed without the door closing between the procedure.

Gather Your Arsenal
You’ll need a Phillips head Screwdriver, a new lock cylinder (matching your existing key system or a new one if desired) and a spare key for the new cylinder (if applicable).

Change a Lock on uPVC Door Fast

Taking Out Old uPVC Door Lock

Handle Removal
Unscrew the screws on the interior handle, allowing both handles to be removed together. Some handles might have hidden screws under decorative caps.

Taking extra care
Once you’ve removed the screws, both the outer handle and the interior handle will slide out together. Make sure you do this slowly and keep hold of both outer and interior handles as you remove them. You don’t want to lose or damage any pieces in case they are needed again in the future

Locating the Lock Screw
Locate the lock barrel screw which is underneath your door lock and usually stands out from the locking mechanism of the screws of the door as it’s a different colour.

Unscrew and Release
Unscrew this lock cylinder screw completely. With the key turned in the lock (if possible), gently pull the cylinder out from the outside.

Installing the New Lock

Cylinder in Place
Insert the new cylinder from the outside, ensuring it aligns properly.

Key Test
The new door cylinder should fit perfectly into the space from where you removed the old one. Insert the key into the new door lock and push the cylinder into the space in the door.

Turn the key until the lock cam is flush with the cylinder. This is the reverse of the process you followed to remove the old door cylinder.

Screw Secured
Tighten the lock cylinder screw using your screwdriver.

Handle Reattachment
Reattach the door handles by inserting the spindle through the handles and screwing them back into place on the inside of the door.

Double-check that the lock functions flawlessly from both sides of the door. If everything works smoothly, you’ve successfully replaced your uPVC door lock.

Change Lock in uPVC Door: Additional Tips

Measure Up
When buying a new cylinder, take note of the length of your current one. New cylinders come in various sizes.

Going Solo?
If you’re tackling this alone, consider placing a piece of tape on the door frame to catch the cylinder as you remove it.

Expert Help
If you’re unsure about any step or have a more complex lock system, consider consulting a professional locksmith.

New keys
Don’t forget to replace old door keys with new ones. This is particularly important if you’ve changed the locks on a uPVC front door.

Learn more about front door security (including recommendations from the Metropolitan Police and the Secured by Design initiative) in our must-read guide.

Understanding door locks

Most UPVC doors come with a single “euro-cylinder” lock, and a strip lock or multipoint lock that secures the entire door.

After continued use, you may find that the uPVC door lock mechanism is broken or sticking. There are many reasons why a cylinder might break or a multi-point lock might need servicing. For example:

Hinge issues
If your door drops on its hinges, the locking hooks and bolts on the lock side won’t fit into the keeps on the frame.

Drooping issues
When the door starts drooping, many homeowners force their doors to lock by lifting the handles to force the hooks into the keeps, causing further damage.

Wear and tear
Over time, manhandling the door handle causes the lock to fail. The locks cam and spindle can become cracked and damaged.

If your lock is seizing up or clearly already broken, the good news is that you can replace it yourself without too much difficulty. You don’t need sophisticated equipment or specialist training to replace a standard euro cylinder lock.

Learn more about the different types of door locks in our easy ready guide. Plus get an insight into the benefits of  smart home security technology in our complementary article.

Choosing the Right Lock: What to Think About

British Standard Locks (BS3621)
These locks have undergone rigorous testing to resist forced entry techniques commonly used by burglars. They typically come with a “BS3621” mark on the body of the lock for easy identification. It’s important to note BS3621 certified locks do typically cost more than their non-certified counterparts.

Non-British Standard Locks
This encompasses a wide range of uPVC door locks that haven’t been BS3621 certified. While some may offer decent security, they haven’t been officially evaluated for strength against break-in attempts. These locks can be:

Security Needs
For external doors, prioritizing a BS3621 certified lock is wise for maximum safety. For internal doors or low-security areas, a non-BS3621 lock might suffice.

Insurance Requirements
Some home insurance providers might offer discounts or require BS3621 certified locks on external doors. Check your policy details.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your individual needs and priorities. If you’re unsure, consulting an expert can help you assess your situation and recommend the most suitable lock for your uPVC door.

Are Smart Door Locks Safe?

When is it Time to Change the Locks?

You don’t necessarily need to change uPVC door locks on a strict schedule, but there are several situations that signal it’s a good time to consider a replacement:

Lost or Stolen Keys
A missing key is a potential security breach. Replace the lock to prevent unauthorised entry.

Following an incident
After a break-in, replacing the locks not only deters future attempts but also provides a sense of security.

Roommate Moving Out/Change in Occupancy
Especially if the departing person had a key, replacing the lock ensures only current residents have access.

Moving House
You never know how many keys are floating around for your new place. Changing the locks ensures only authorised people have access.

Sticking or Stiff Operation
If your key struggles to turn smoothly, it indicates internal wear and tear. A new lock ensures smooth operation and better security. In more serious cases, keys can get snapped inside the lock.

Visible Damage
Cracks, breaks, or corrosion on the lock itself weakens its security. Replace a damaged lock to maintain optimal protection.

Loose Feel
A door that feels flimsy when locked might have a compromised lock. Replacing it reinforces security.

Age and Wear
While not a strict rule, some recommend changing uPVC door locks every 7 years or so to address wear and tear and potentially upgrade to a more secure model.

In summary, prioritise changing uPVC door locks when security is compromised or the lock itself malfunctions. Regular maintenance checks and considering a refresh every few years can also be worthwhile for peace of mind.

How much does it cost to change a lock on a uPVC door UK?

The cost of replacing a uPVC door lock depends on two main factors: the price of the lock itself and locksmith costs, if you hire a locksmith. Here’s a breakdown:

Approximate Lock Costs

Standard Euro Cylinder
A basic model starts around £25.

Anti-Snap Euro Cylinder
Offers better security but costs more, ranging from £60 and upwards.

British Standard Locks
Certified for enhanced safety, costing £35 and above.

Remember, if you’re comfortable tackling the project yourself, you’ll only pay for the lock.

When Do I Need a Locksmith?

Most locksmiths are knowledgeable and experienced. This means they’re prepared for any scenario and able to deal with a wide variety of locks, which is why sometimes it could be worth bringing in a professional.

It’s important to note that hiring a professional does add labour costs. Expect to pay £85 and upwards, depending on the complexity and urgency. With this in mind, here’s a cost estimate considering both lock costs and locksmith charges:

DIY with Standard Cylinder
£25 (lock) + £0 (labour costs) = £25

uPVC Patio Door Lock
Replacement £90 to £120 per lock + £100 minimum in locksmith charges = £220 (average)

Locksmith with Anti-Snap Cylinder
£60 (lock) + £100 minimum in locksmith charges = £160 (average)

How much should a locksmith cost?

Additional locksmith charges

Lockout Charge
If you’re locked out and need emergency access, expect an additional call-out charge from a locksmith. In certain circumstances, it may be possible to replace lost keys without changing your locks. In this case, you will be charged for the new door keys and any call-out fees.

Broken or Snapped Keys
If there’s something stuck in your lock, this will need to be removed and will probably incur extra costs.

Multiple Locks
Replacing locks on multiple doors will obviously increase the total cost. For example, if you’ve been burgled, you may choose to replace all the uPVC locks at a property. This could cost around £400 – £600 depending on the locks used and amount of locks.

Remember, these are estimates. The actual cost can vary based on your location, the specific lock you choose, and the locksmith’s rates. It’s always wise to get quotes from a few locksmiths before making a decision.

Refer to the Master Locksmiths Association for 2024 locksmith prices or to find a local locksmith near you.

Replace uPVC Door Locks with Confidence

Now you know how to change a lock on a uPVC door, you can keep your home safe and secure. By following these steps (and consulting with a certified locksmith if you need to) enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a secure and functioning uPVC door lock.

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