“Locksmith Recommendations”

keys
Photo by PoPville flickr user laurabl

“Dear PoPville,

Does anyone have a recommendation for a locksmith? I’m buying a house in Trinidad and want to get it re-keyed after I close. I tried searching old posts but all I found was one from 2010. Thanks!”

Ed. Note: I’m also curious how many folks have gotten new locks/re-keyed locks when they’ve purchased a new home/condo?

41 Comment

  • I just went to Home Depot and bought a new set of locks/doorknobs I installed myself. Easy, and cheaper than a locksmith.

    • I second this — did the same thing. Very easy; much cheaper.

      • +100 But if you go this route, I suggest that you NOT buy a cheap set of locks/doorknobs — pay more for a higher quality of hardware, you get what you pay for, and you don’t want cheap/flimsy when it comes to something like this!

        • Yes, get good locks, but easy to do yourself. I’ve been installing my own locks (actual locks, not just new cylinders) in most places I’ve lived in since I was a 19 year old college student who had never used power tools suddenly living a neighborhood where break-ins were common. All you need is an electric drill, a drill bit that drills round holes specifically sized for locks, a screwdriver bit, a chisel, a hammer, and a screwdriver maybe. All the tools, except for the lock-hole drill bit, will be useful for many other things you will need to do around your home.
          .
          Then again, if you have loads of money to spare and want to pay a locksmith, make sure the locksmith you hire will do at least as good a job as you would, and isn’t a scam artist (as many locksmith services are.)

    • If you have builder grade Home Depot locks already just get new ones or spend the money to upgrade now. If you have anything higher quality than that it’s worth to have them rekeyed. I’ve had them done at the local Ace stores (Logan and Annie’s). If you are able to bring them all in at the same time it shouldn’t take more than an hour

    • I moved to Trinidad not long ago and changed locks on six doors in about two hours, though that included boring out holes in the door and jams for a couple deadbolts, which you won’t need to do – definitely less than an hour to do three doors. I ordered kwikset smartset locks that let you re-key in about a minute, from amazon. And I bought them to the class I (commercial) standard. They seem really well made – much better than the cheap ones and are rated on par with the schlages.

    • You have a great hardware store in Trinidad on Bladensburg Rd that sells locks and keys. Pretty sure that they can rekey too, W S Jenks and sons

  • Central Safe and Locksmith on Ninth Street NW, near the convention center. Ask for Sergei, if he is still there. Got me into a locked car with marionette like needles and maneuvers. Under three minutes. http://centralsafeandlock.com/

    • Whoops-a-daisy. I mean Seventh Street, NW.
      C’est-a-dire, east side of the new convention center.

  • I’d consider doing it yourself. All it usually takes is a screwdriver.

    And if you want to make sure they all match, Home Depot can occasionally re-key locks for free.

  • District Lock
    http://districtlock.com/

    Easy to schedule and they were upfront with pricing (it’s all on their website). I’ve had both John and Jerry out at my house and they were great.

    • Andie302

      +1 I came here to recommend them too. I had clients use them and they had such a good experience that they reached out to me to tell me about it and have me recommend them to others. I got them to come to my rental for an issue and they were wonderful to deal with. I recommend them to anyone that asks.

  • Welcome to the Neighborhood and I have used Anariz’s Lock & Safe multiple times and have been happy with their service. But it is pretty easy to do it yourself and cheaper

  • I don’t have any locksmith recommendations, but second the suggestion to just go to a home improvement store (Frager’s would probably be really helpful in this situation!).

    In response to the ed. note: I’m currently in the process of buying a place and one of the first thing the home inspector told me to do was replace the locks.

  • R.W. Locksmith @ 301 404-6158

    We bought a place that had been rented out for 10 years so it’s the first thing we did.

  • I used Pop-A-Lock when I had a similar problem — https://www.yelp.com/biz/pop-a-lock-washington-2?osq=Pop-A-Lock is the yelp page, I don’t think they have a website.

    Anyhow, they were great — they walked me through what I needed to do to buy my new, fancy front door lock and to set it up for them to rekey the rest based on that.

    One logistical suggestion — don’t get the place rekeyed just after you close, especially if you are having work done. We got it rekeyed the day we moved in so we didn’t care how many contractors we gave keys to. Also, we bought a schlage code lock and it has been worth every cent thus far.

  • We had our front door lock rekeyed as soon as we bought the house. We did replace the back door with a fantastic custom security door. No one is getting into our house!

  • HaileUnlikely

    Another vote for replacing the locks yourself, with the major but unlikely exception that if they are higher-end locks, they might be worth keeping and just having rekeyed. In the likely scenario that your locks are cheap junk (most are!), I’d just replace them with decent locks from Home Depot, and maybe have them rekeyed to all use the same key* If they are higher quality locks, I’d take them off the doors and bring them to Central Lock & Safe for rekeying. They charge something like $15 per cylinder if you bring them in, but charge a lot more if you ask them to go to your home and do it.
    .
    *Most locks readily available in stores (e.g., Schlage, Kwikset, etc) are produced in large batches. A case of 20 or 30 or 40 locks on the shelf in Home Depot might only have three unique keys in the case, i.e., a third of all of the locks in the case will take the same key as each other. Thus, if you don’t want to have to screw around with rekeying, if you examine the codes on the keys in different boxes in Home Depot, you can probably buy several locks that take the same key without having anything rekeyed. Just make sure somebody doesn’t buy the next lock in the case and follow you home, because then they know where you live and have about a 1/3 chance of also having the key to your house. If you’re worried about that, just take them all to Central Lock & Safe and have all of them rekeyed.

  • I ordered my own locks from Taylor Security, a wholesale lock supplier, which in the quantity I needed was cheaper than Home Depot. They’re very good at making sure everything is keyed alike.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Good call. You can also get better locks than you would from a place like Home Depot for more or less the same price if ordering wholesale.

  • If it happens to be a condo, Just be sure to check with condo board that you’re using the one that’s approved (matches) the other ones in the building.

  • Yes – replacing most locks yourself is very easy. And if the locks are more than 5 years old, (especially if a cheap brand like Kwikset) You should replace them because the internal parts wear out. I actually found myself unable to get out of my house last week because the knob lock suddenly didn’t work. Plenty of places to buy good locks, but if you go to a good hardware store like TrueValue on 17th St. you also get advice and help. They can re-key locks so they all take the same key too.

    • Don’t even bother with Kwikset locks. I bought a keyed one for a bedroom door and the key broke inside the lock almost immediately.
      .
      I have been happy with Schlage locks from Home Depot, but IIRC, HaileUnlikely (who seems to know a fair amount about locks) usually recommends locks that aren’t readily available at stores like Home Depot.

  • We bought a house last year and had Mike’s Locksmith out for an estimate to change all the locks. He was honest about what we needed and the costs. We ended up not doing it because $, but he made us a few keys for an old front door lock that wasn’t opening with our set of copied keys.

    If you don’t want to DIY, they are highly recommended:
    Mike’s Locksmith, LLC
    12410 Washington Ave Suite 3
    Rockville, 20852 MD
    Phone: (240) 506-7500
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.mikes-locksmith.com

    • p.s. the locksmith made a great point – if you’re getting any home repairs done on your place, wait to change the locks until after the contractor crews are finished. they’ll often pass keys around to the demo crew and other subcontractors, so you don’t know who ends up having keys to your house.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Agreed. Relatedly, I don’t recommend having literally all of your locks on the same key. If you have, say, a security door on your exterior doors, then yeah, by all means, have the regular door and the security door use the same key; have the handle and the deadbolt on the same door use the same key, etc., for obvious reasons. But there’s no special reason that the front door and the back door need to be on the same key. If they’re not, and you give a contractor a key for some door, you can just give the contractor the key for one door and then change one or two locks, rather than giving the contractor what is effectively your master key and then have to change like 10 locks.

    • Actually didn’t have such a great experience with Mike’s. Called them out to re-key our new home just after we moved in, asked him for a quote over the phone which I received and was happy with. He arrived and proceeded to tell me that the lock on my door was some kind of fancy type of lock and that it would be a lot more expensive to re-key that one lock. I reluctantly agreed since he was already there and I needed it to be done. I can tell you however that the door, lock and key are all your average, typical run of the mill lock set. Nothing fancy in the slightest.
      I also asked him to install a chain latch. He installed half of it then left, saying he didn’t have the correct type of screw to complete the project but that he would be back the next time he was in the area. He never returned to finish the project and didn’t respond to my follow up emails. Oh, and he was talking on the cell phone the entire time he was there.

  • Do it yourself and put Schlage keyless entry bolts (keypad entry) on all exterior doors. No more keys, no more rekeying, can provide one-off codes for contractors/pet sitters whatever. It’s the best.

    • I love mine for when I go running and don’t need keys!

      • Going keyless has been a huge improvement. No more chance of getting locked out, no need to ensure you have your keys at all times, no need to worry about transferring a key to contractors, sitters, AirBnBers, whatever. No need to run back in the house to get the basement keys when working in the yard, no fumbling with keys– the list goes on and on. Highly recommend for everyone. The keypad bolts are about $100 but absolutely worth it.

  • I’ve used DC Locksmith twice in the last 4 months, once on my rental property and once on my own condo. Both times locks were rekeyed and both times they did a great job. http://www.districtofcolumbialocksmith.com/.

    Of course you will save yourself some cash if you do it yourself the way others have recommended, but if you know you just want someone to do it for you, these guys are great. Very responsive and they really care about customer service.

  • Also, if you have a door with two deadbolts, you might consider having two different keys for those deadbolts. That way, you can give one of the keys to anyone who might need access to the house (contractor, cleaning people, pet sitter, etc.) and leave the second deadbolt unlocked when they are expected, but also know that whoever has that single key cannot access your house at other times.

  • The true value hardware store on 17th st nw does re-keying. Can’t remember the price but wasn’t too pricey.

  • gotryit

    Easy DIY re-key locks are great. I change my lock temporarily when I want to give a contractor access to a specific door.

    • HaileUnlikely

      FWIW I have one of these on one of my doors, and have had no problems, but I have heard that they are prone to malfunction and lock the owner out. I don’t have any independent verification of that claim, and for all I know it was a rumor started by a locksmith industry group in response to declining business…

      • gotryit

        I did have one go bad over the course of 5-6 years having about 3 of those locks at any given time. I think I still came out ahead.

  • I used the Lil Keyshop and they were excellent.

    The Lil Key Shop.com
    Locksmith in Washington, D.C., United States of America
    Address: 650 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
    Phone: (202) 332-7680

  • My understanding is that they specialize in big, beautiful walls. Also, they’re supposed to be able to line up creative financing on very favorable terms from international sources.

  • I recently used Arlington Lock because they were the only locksmith in the area (of about 25 who I contacted) who could copy a particular type of key for me. They were prompt, responsive, helpful and very fair in their pricing.

  • get the kwikset locks – the kind you can reset by yourself. very handy, you can change the locks by yourself anytime.

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