D & L Mobile Locksmith

aid screwdriver worker affixes lock freshly installed interior door

Easy Steps to Remove and Replace Your Door Locks Successfully

Ever found yourself wrestling with a stubborn door lock? Or worse, locked out of your own home with no key in sight? These situations can be frustrating, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Removing a residential door lock isn’t as daunting as it might seem. With the right tools and instructions, it’s actually a pretty straightforward DIY task.

Whether you’re looking to replace an old lock or simply need to make a repair, this guide is here to help. We’ll walk you through the steps to remove different types of locks, including the common knob cylinder and mortise locks. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s jump into the world of DIY lock removal. You’ll be surprised at how simple it can be.

Understanding Different Types of Door Locks

Knob Door Locks

Commonly found on interior doors within homes, knob door locks are spherical locks that consist of two knobs, one on each side of the door. This type of lock allows for locking and revealing from either side: the knob has a button on one side, and the other side, a key slot. Problems arise when this knob is locked, and the keys are missing.

Cylinder Door Locks

Ever wondered how a key’s teeth manage to turn a lock? This bit of magic happens due to the workings of cylinder door locks. A series of spring-loaded pins, which slot into holes in the lock’s cylinder, prevent it from turning when the door is locked. The uniquely shaped teeth of the key push these pins away, allowing the cylinder to freely turn, effectively revealing the door.

Mortise Locks

These are the old school locks which call for a little more work, if you’re considering removing one. They’re generally mounted into a cut-out space within the door, hence, their name from the term “mortise,” which refers to a hole or recess cut into a part. The spindle, which you’ll need to remove to access the housing of the lock, is the main part of this type of door lock.

Necessary Tools for Removing Door Locks

In your toolbox for door lock removal, keep a few vital instruments, each serving specific aspects of the process. Maintaining a variety of tools ensures there’s an answer for every lock issue you’re informed about previously.

  1. Screwdriver: A tool that’s found in almost all toolboxes. You’ll use the screwdriver to unscrew the screws holding the lock in place. A Phillips-head screwdriver is the commonly needed type, but always have a slotted-head screwdriver as well to ensure you’re prepared for all scenarios.
  2. Bobby Pins: Surprisingly, these hair accessories prove useful in door lock removal. Bobby pins, when bent at a 90-degree angle, operate as a makeshift lock pick, offering an innovative solution in desperate situations.
  3. Lubricant: Occasionally, a stubborn or rusted lock can pose a challenge. In such cases, a drop of lubricant like WD40 helps your tools maneuver with ease inside the lock.

But, these tools alone don’t guarantee success, but your skills and knowledge about different lock types do. As these tools aid you, remember the lock types: knob, cylinder, and mortise – each unique, requiring a specific approach. Informed preparation and the right tools combine to make lock removal a manageable task.

master big tool box door apartment

Removing a Knob Door Lock

Guide for Knob Locks with Visible Screws

If you’re dealing with a knob lock that has visible screws, you’re in luck. These are typically easier to handle. For this, you’ll require a flathead screwdriver and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Look at the interior part of your doorknob, the side used to lock the door, to see if there are any visible screws on the rose plate.

Once you’ve located them, grab your Phillips-head screwdriver to unscrew the two visible screws. The interior and exterior door knobs should slide off quite effortlessly once you’ve unscrewed the screws. Now, you’ll need to focus on the faceplate. Locate the two screws there, take your Philips-head screwdriver once again and start unscrewing till you can remove the faceplate.

Guide for Locks with Invisible Screws

Hidden screws may seem daunting, but it’s not impossible to handle. If your doorknob doesn’t show any visible screws, it means they’re hidden. In this case, a wire or small nail might be just the tool you need.

Look for a notch in the doorknob shaft. If you see a rectangular notch, insert a flat blade screwdriver into it and lever off the plate that’s hiding the screws. After you’ve exposed the screws, follow the same steps as above using the Phillips-head screwdriver. In cases where the notch is small, you can insert the wire or small nail into it and push, which should pop off the knob.

Removing a Cylinder Door Lock

Step 1: Removing the Screws

You’ll need either a Philip’s head or flat blade screwdriver depending on screw type. To start, aim to locate the screws that hold the lock in place. Typically, these screws can be found on the shank of the inside knob, the part used to lock the door. Once you’ve spotted them, proceed to unscrew each. You might encounter two to three screws and it’s crucial to remove all of them before advancing to the next step. Familiarity with your tool is key here. Whether you’ve chosen a Philip’s head driver or a flat blade, use it confidently, maintaining a firm and steady hand as you unscrew.

Step 2: Taking Out the Spindle

Removing the spindle, the long piece that connects the two halves of the lock, is the next crucial step. With the screws gone, you’ll have access to the lock’s housing. Investigating this housing is essential as you need to find a small tab that you’ll use to release the cylinder. Do note that the small tab can be a challenge to locate, possibly necessitating the use of a flashlight to spot it. Remember to demonstrate caution here – you wouldn’t want to inadvertently damage the lock’s internals with excessive force.

Step 3: Cylinder Removal

After locating the tab, use a flat head screwdriver to press down on it. This action releases the cylinder. There’s also a possibility you’ll need to use an Allen wrench to push on the cylinder until it slides out. This part of the process can require a bit of patience. You might need to apply some pressure, but remember: too much could permanently damage the lock. Once the cylinder is out, you’ve successfully removed a cylinder lock!

a new door lock on a dark background a patent and keys to secur

Removing a Mortise Lock

Rather than approaching it with apprehension, observe that removing a mortise lock is a straightforward procedure once you know the steps involved. This secure locking method, characterized by a pocket cut into the door, requires certain tools for effective removal. These include a Phillips-head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, and a hammer may come in handy. Let’s jump into the step-by-step process of removing a mortise lock from your door.

Step 1: Locating and Unscrewing the Set Screw

The first step involves identifying the set screw, which is typically found on the shank of the inside knob — the part used to lock the door. With your Phillips-head screwdriver, unscrew this methodically. Remember, patience is key here.

Step 2: Unscrewing the Door Handles

Next, focus on the door handles, which are screwed into each other through a component known as the spindle. Unlike common misconceptions, they aren’t just pulled apart; unscrew them carefully. Consistency, not speed, achieves the desired results here.

Step 3: Removing the Rose Plates

With the door handles removed, you’ll notice the rose plate left on the door surface. Employ your Philips-head screwdriver to unscrew this plate. Gentle and consistent pressure is more effective than force, reducing the chances of damage.

Step 4: Getting Rid of the Face Plate

Following the rose plates, the face plate on the side of the door is the next to go. To remove it, use a flathead screwdriver. This is another step where caution tops brute force. Remember, you’re dismantling, not destroying.

Step 5: Mortise Lock Removal

Upon removing the faceplate, you’ll get an unobstructed view of the locking mechanism. This is when you carefully take out the lock from the door pocket or mortise. A gentle nudge or two with a flathead screwdriver can potentially hasten this without damage.

Bear in mind, throughout this process, precision outweighs power. You’re not just removing a lock, but also ensuring minimal or zero damage to your door. Clothe yourself with patience, arm yourself with the right tools, and the task of removing a mortise lock becomes less menacing and more of a DIY success story.

close carpenter installs custom lock front metal door using drill

Actions After Removing the Lock

Once you’ve successfully removed the lock from your door as per the earlier instructions, it’s crucial to jump into the next steps in the process. The subsequent stages include installing a new strike plate and setting up the new door lock.

Installing a New Strike Plate

Strike plates serve a significant purpose in door security – it’s the metal plate that the lock bolt engages with when the door is closed. Since you’re going through the crucial task of installing the lock, it makes sense also to ensure the strike plate is brand-new and sturdy.

Begin by holding the strike plate up to the door frame. Use a pencil to mark the holes that your screws will need to go into. Once the marks are in place, you can remove the strike plate. Get your drill and create small pilot holes in the marked areas.

You’re ready to attach your new strike plate. Line it up with the pilot holes and start screwing it in. Make sure the screws are tight, but don’t overdo it – you want it to be sturdy, not stripped!

Installing a New Lock

With the new strike plate in place, it’s time to install your new lock. This process is relatively similar to that of the strike plate. You’ll start by aligning the new lock with the door. Just like with the strike plate, use a pencil to denote where the holes for the screws will need to be.

The next step is to remove the lock again and create pilot holes with your drill at the markups. Screw in your new lock at those drilled spots. As you tighten your screws, keep a balance – it must be secure without damaging the threads.

Finally, test the lock to verify its function. The door should both open and close smoothly, with the lock engaging and disengaging without resistance.

Professional Locksmith Services

For those in the London, Ontario area who are unsure of their DIY prowess and needing professional locksmith services, D & L Mobile Locksmith offers reliable and prompt solutions to ensure your home security.


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