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The locking mechanism on the sliding door for my balcony is crappy and it sometimes locks people out on the balcony if they aren't careful. One idea I had to make the door safer was to just store a key in the lock. But it would be better if I could re-key the lock using some product that was designed for this application: I'm envisioning a barrel that fits inside standard locks, but doesn't actually have pins or a key hole, and just has a knob or thumb screw.

How can I re-key a lock so it is always openable without needing a key?

  • Have you tried removing the lock and taking it apart to see how it works? If you know how it works you may be able to remove a key part ( pun intended ) so that it will no longer have the ability to be locked. Heck, you may even figure out how to make it function properly. – Alaska Man Apr 11 at 17:27
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An actual locksmith can do that for you at sane cost. Remove as much of the lock mechanism as possible, and bring it on into a shop.

He can also make it a deadbolt, so it can't "autolock behind you" and will only lock if manually operated. You can also get a double-face lock so if they break the glass to reach in, all they find is another key-face (this is OK if it is not an emergency egress route). In my house we never use the autolock, we only deadbolt.

  • Well, what is the name of the tool or product that a locksmith would use to do this? Surely I could get the same tool or product and do it myself. – David Grayson Aug 30 '17 at 1:03
  • @DavidGrayson It's called "a shop full of locksmithing stuff and a ton of experience working with a huge variety of doors". The key to saving money on locksmithing is take the assembly into their local shop. I just got a door rekeyed for like $22. The backbreaking cost associated with locksmiths is paying them to drive their truck to you. Don't do that. – Harper Aug 30 '17 at 2:24
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If you want to DIY, find out the type of lock. They're usually compatible with one of Kwikset, Schlage, or Weiser. Get a rekey kit for that, about $20. Pull out the tumbler and dump the pins, and also dump the pins and springs in what the tumbler comes out of. Then you'll be left with a lock that any fitting key, flat stick or screwdriver will open. Then flip the lock so that the knob or lever part is out facing the balcony with the unkeyed lock inside. Then you have a lock which still works to keep kids off the balcony, but anyone with any key can open, and if they're stuck on the balcony without a key, they can easily get back in.

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