A guide to hiring a locksmith

Page 1: What does a locksmith do?
Page 2: What to look out for

Hannah Shanks - Editor

The world of locks

Locks are just to keep honest people honest, or so they say. But the protection of our possessions has pretty much been a concern since the first humans walked the Earth, and a good lock can do more than simply deter the chance thief. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the most basic of padlocks to the cutting edge electronic locks that use the latest technology, such as retinal scanning, but even a minimal lock can defeat the most determined of intruders. Indeed, a good lock (such as the standard mortice lock, where a pocket called a mortice is cut into the door, inside which the lock is fitted) is a requirement for home contents insurance, and the better your defences, the better your security rating. Given the importance of locks in safeguarding our possessions, it's therefore no wonder that locksmiths have always had an important job to do…

What does a locksmith do?

Basically, a locksmith is skilled in the art of making (and breaking) locks, and will provide locks and keys for everything from your doors and windows to your garden shed and your car. Many are also general security specialists. There are a number of reasons you might need one:

  • Key cutting. Locksmiths will replace lost keys or make duplicates of existing ones.
  • Fitting new locks. Locks, like anything else, are affected by ordinary wear and tear over time, and so might need replacing. Locksmiths will replace locks that have been damaged in any way. But they don't just replace damaged locks. When it comes to home security, it is better to be safe than sorry. The locksmith will fit high quality locks that will protect your home and meet insurance requirements, and will also fit door bolts to give you extra locking points, hinge bolts to protect the hinge side of your door, and window bolts to give your windows extra strength, all of which mean that extra little bit of security. If you're moving to a new build home, such measures might come as standard, and a locksmith can provide the brand new locks for your brand new home.
  • Repairs. Locksmiths will repair lock mechanisms that have suffered wear and tear over time, and can even repair old locks that cannot be removed owing to heritage rules, renovating them and bringing them up to date whilst ensuring that they retain their essential character. Locksmiths can also repair locks that have been damaged in other ways. If you've experienced a burglary, locksmiths can often repair the damage, fixing the locks (or fitting new ones) and even providing un-repairable items such as split doors and damaged frames.
  • Locked yourself out? Locksmiths can also provide an emergency service. A professional locksmith will be able to break the lock on your door without causing any damage to the door itself, and will then fit a replacement lock for you. As you never know when you might need this service, it's a useful one to bear in mind, particularly as it could save you doing any damage to your property (or yourself) in trying to get in, and could prevent you suffering the indignity of having to climb back in through a window!
  • Other services. Locksmiths provide many different locking devices, not just the locks on your doors and windows. How about padlocks for the shed, or safes for storing valuables? And locksmiths don't just deal in locks. As mentioned, some (but not all) are also general security specialists, who can provide advice on home security and insurance, and will install security measures such as alarm systems, bars and grilles, CCTV, and secure access systems for communal doors in multi-occupancy buildings.

 
 


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