Rekeying / Locks Rekeyed / “getting the locks changed”

Rekeying is the process of changing out a lock barrel, or modifying the tumbler configuration of a lock barrel, so that it matches a supplied key or new set of keys.

In residential terms this process is generally called “changing the locks“, and people are often overheard saying; “We had a break-in – we’re getting the locks changed“.

In the case of burglary, lost keys or stolen keys, it is safe practise to change your locks, and have new keys supplied for household members / landlord / property agent / employees. While this may not always be rekeying (sometimes a full lock hardware replacement is necessary), the process may involve rekeying existing hardware to a new key. This is particularly useful in cases where the locking mechanism hardware is custom made, or is stylised in a way that makes it unique to surrounding decor, in that the keys and lock barrel may be modified if replacement is expensive or impossible.

A commercial example: with “Keyed Alike”, Master Key and Restricted Master Key Systems, you may have 1 key that opens; a gate to your premises, a main entry door, a rear door, a retail roller shutter or security roller grille, and an office document cabinet. Now suppose you’d like 3 padlocks for dumpsters and a locker for personal items, but want them to be opened with your existing master key.

Changing the 3 padlocks from their initial tumbler configuration to match your existing keys is referred to as re-keying or getting locks rekeyed.