Sign up ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I suspect I don't know what terminology is correct which is why I can't find any information on this via google.

Say I have standard door locks (Schlage or Kwikset) that are fairly new and I have deadbolts and doorknobs that are all set to the same pattern (so one key will open two doors).

Now, say I need to get a new master key or key pattern or tumbler pattern or whatever it's called because my key was stolen or a copy was made and now I don't trust that my locks are secure.

My problem might be that I don't have another factory-cut master key (or pattern) that I can use to have the locks re-keyed to and to cut blank keys to.

How would I go about getting a new key that I could get the locks all re-keyed to? Do I have to buy a new lock-set to install or use to re-key the existing locks?

If anyone thinks they could improve the vocabulary in this post, that'd be awesome, because I don't know what words I'm looking for, even after looking through lockwiki.


  • The key I have is compromised
  • The locks I have, I'd like to keep
  • I don't have a new key to re-key the locks to

How do I get a new key that doesn't match any of the existing locks? And can I then re-key the locks to that key?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can have a locksmith rekey the locks, or you could even do it yourself with a rekey kit. To do this the cylinder will be removed, and the pins within it either replaced with different ones, or in theory they could just be swapped around. After this, the old key will no longer open the lock. You will need a new key. This must either come as part of the rekey kit, or one could be cut based on the new pin arrangement in the cylinder.

Do it yourself rekey kits are available for some lock brands online.

Schlage has a rekeying manual online that you can read and decide if it is a task you want to tackle or to leave to a locksmith. I would expect a locksmith to do it fairly inexpensively if you're able to bring the lock sets into the shop.

share|improve this answer
Ah, so a re-keying kit will come with a new "master" pattern? That's what I was missing, I think. – Raystafarian Jan 31 '14 at 15:17
@TimB: I don't see how this explains how you get a key to match the new pattern. You need to extend or clarify the answer. – ThePopMachine Jan 31 '14 at 15:30
A key can be cut by numbers. A specific length (top) pin in the cylinder corresponds to a specific depth cut on the key. So you must have a new key cut to this new pattern. And the new key can either come as part of a rekey kit, or can be cut based on the new pins in the cylinder. – Tim B Jan 31 '14 at 15:43

Go to your local Home Depot store where they will have spare keys left over from re-keying. At least when my customers ask me about that same problem I give them the left over. They're all new and have only been used once to re-key. You can then re-key with a new key. Good luck!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.