Understanding What's Going On"
About Locks, Mechanisms and More!
At Taylors we understand that you may have questions about parts, costs, why cant a part simply be fixed rather than replaced etc! So we have created this handy page that explains the most common issues we encounter to help give you the customer a deeper insight into what's going on inside your door as we breakdown the trade price of parts and labour!
What is a dropped Door?
A dropped door
Any and all doors can drop over time, like us humans as they get older they also start to sag unfortunately. UPVC is or multi point locking doors often drop in the frame over time and this basically places pressure upon the hooks and bolts, latch of the door. As the door drops down under its own weight the hooks and bolts will rest on the edge of the door frames mortise. This makes the handles stiff, crunchy, grinding but in most cases you wont feel much at all as the doors mechanism will take most of the pressure off the handle until it does not and it breaks down inside the mechanism. Then you end up with a failed mechanism and a deadlocked door.
All multi point doors need a annual service to prolong the life of the door, this is a hinge adjustment to lift and realign the door along with a oil. Its very easy and we often show our customers how to do this for themselves once we have fixed a door to help the customer maintain there door and save money in the long run.
Even after a door has been fixed and adjusted it can sometime slip back into a dropped position. Often this would mean the door would need to be toe and healed or have the door re-hung and even new hinges fitted to the door by a UPVC fitter. If its not corrected the new parts will also fail.
Understanding that a locksmith and UPVC fitter are two separate people. A locksmith deals with the doors mechanical locking system, handles and barrel or cylinder lock. A UPVC fitter deals with the frame, the plastic panels, hinge replacement and adjustment, fitting letter boxes to spy holes and re-hanging doors.
Lock replacement is when the lock itself, which is referred to as a cylinder or barrel lock. Basically its the place you put the key in your UPVC, composite or metal door. This will be a different lock if its a wooden door, known as a mortice lock
There could be for a number of reasons for a lock replacement. Such as lost keys, stolen keys, key is stuck in the lock, key wont turn, snapped key inside of a lock that cant be retrieved, damaged or broken lock, a failed lock.
When we talk of a lock replacement then that only replaces the actual lock, not a mechanism. If we were to look at it as in the form of a car, then the lock would be the ignition and the mechanism would be the cars gearbox. If a lock fails then you don't change the mechanism. This is not included in the price and they are completely separate components. The lock throws over a dead bolt only where the mechanism is controlled by the handles and moves all the hooks and other small bolts. They work together to create a secure solution for your home.
As you can see in the image you can see pricing for high security locks without VAT or the locksmith charging a profit on the parts. That's just the trade price we have to buy it for!
Standard cost of this would be a labour charge of £54.99 per hour, most jobs are done in the hour or less and a new cylinder lock from £24.99 but you can choose pay up to £700 for a lock by the likes of Banham locks.
Central Mechanism Replacement
Central Mechanism replacement is when the locksmith takes the full strip out of the door including the top and bottom mechanism and in some cases the central mechanism which has failed or is failing can be removed professionally from the strip. The strip is the part that you see running down the door, this can be gold or silver in colour.
This mechanism which sits behind the handles controls all the hooks and bolts and is operated by the handle. When a door is neglected and allowed to drop in the frame over the years and is not serviced or maintained then this downward pressure from the door dropping in the frame places pressure on the hooks and bolts. By operating the doors handle the mechanism will eventually break. This can leave the door deadlocked and in the worst case situation for the locksmith to gain entry, its time consuming and costly for the customer.
Once the locksmith has the door open the locksmith will replace the centre mechanism if that is what's failed. Often it is a small component inside the mechanism known as a spindle driver which will shatter, break apart or simply wear down and start to slip from general use or wear and tear.
Sadly they do not make it easy for many mechanisms to have the spindle driver part replaced. Often doing so can cost more money than changing the mechanism for a new one. Many manufacturers rivet them closed, some use screws. Some require being sent to a specialist who can operate a machine like a press that opens them up as they can be spring loaded with ball bearings. This can be costly and expensive.
Generally we will replace the centre mechanism rather than repair an old one as others parts will eventually fail costing the customer more money in the long run. It will also put us in determent as we will keep being called out when it breaks each time. So this is not an option!
Labour £54.99 per hour
Parts start at £29.99 to £160 at cost price (without us adding a profit)
Over 1500 variants on the UK market! The majority of replacements including labour cost around £210
PARTS AT TRADE PRICE BEFORE VAT & PROFIT!
Full Mechanism and Strip Replacement
Full strip and mechanism replacement
A full strip replacement is the same as a centre mechanism but this will occur when you can't replace just the centre mechanism and the manufacturer of the part only makes a full strip. This is because they have riveted all 3 mechanisms to the strip face. The strip face or the face plate is the large plate that runs the length of the door. This is what you see running down the door.
This can often be the most expensive replacement as you are replacing everything.
It's not that we or any locksmith want to replace the full strip as its more work and time consuming. it's because the manufacturers know they can make more money by not allowing for any other options. It's like when you buy a laptop today, they no longer allow you to change the battery. That's because when it fails, they want you to buy a new laptop generating more profit for the manufacturer.
The locksmith industry is no different. The full strip comprises of a centre mechanism, top and bottom mechanisms, back bar or driver bar, faceplate and fittings. Some have additional top and bottom shoot bolts along with rollers and mushroom pins.
These mechanisms tend to be one of the most expensive to replace. In some cases a locksmith may not be able to source the brand and size of the full replacement mechanism as it may be obsolete. In this case we will use a aftermarket universal kit which will increase the hourly labour cost as the locksmith will need to heavily modify the UPVC door to allow for the new universal parts to fin into the doors mortise.
Labour £54.99 per hour, from 1 hour to 4 hours depending on the issues. If the door is deadlocked closed due to the door failing completely then we will need to first gain entry without damaging or minimising the damage to the door. But please understand that you have allowed the door to break and all we want to do is keep the cost down of you having to buy a new door which could take weeks and cost in the thousands.
Parts start at £80 to £360 at cost price (without us adding a profit, see image) Normally any business will 3 times what they paid. If an item cost £10 then its retail value is 3 times that. It would retail for £30. This covers such costs as fuel, time, postage and delivery, handling, staffing such as office and admin workers, initial investment, rent, licenses, insurance, storage etc. This is how a business makes profit otherwise the business would not exist!
Over 1500 variants exist on the UK market! The majority of replacements including labour cost around £280 for the entire job. But this can change depending on circumstances. If the parts cost us at trade £200 to buy in then we spend 3 hours on the job fighting to open a neglected door and carry out the work to save you thousands in replacing the door can only be a positive. We know its an expense that no one wants but customers sadly think that locksmiths are ripping people off, advising them to get an annual service on there door for £30. This is not the case. Its because we understand the cost involved when a door is neglected!
PARTS AT TRADE PRICE BEFORE VAT & PROFIT!
Other Locksmith Service and Parts!
A door adjustment is when we realign a door that's dropping in its frame. This is required to bring a door back to its set point. This means the door should open and close without any issue or pressure on the handle or key operation as long as the person who fitted the actual door and frame fitted it correctly. If the door needs toe and healing once the locksmith has fixed any broken lock or mechanism and carrier out a door adjustment we may refer you to a UPVC expert who only deals with lifting the door, changing hinges or fixing damaged hinges etc. We will often send over a UPVC expert if our locksmith can't align the door and needs further time spent on the door to correct any frame warping, poor fitment of the actual door.
Please understand that a locksmith is a technical entry expert. A UPVC fitter is a person that will have a different set of skills and both have a different hourly rate. A locksmith will be on the higher rate of pay due to the nature of the job, cost of tools, education costs etc.
From £54.99 labour for the hour!
Door servicing is when we will carry out a door adjustment but the door may need to be stripped down and cleaned internally, removing debris from flaked upvc to composite particle from general use. Some people may have used WD40 which causes issues, it will make the door eventually become hard to use, as the WD40 turns to a thick hunk trapping any debris from key filings to component filings, dust and more.
During a door service we will clean this out, re-oil and grease any mechanisms, often replacing worn springs in handles, replacing broken clips, damaged or worn spindles etc.
This can also include replacing hinges, replacement of door keeps, which are housings found in the door frame. These can have a small amount of adjustment on them and they can become loose and worn or damaged.
Sometimes during a door service we may advise to replace parts. This is not just for profit, it's to help prevent them failing and creating a costly issue for you in the future.
From £29.99 for the service and this includes any oils, grease, springs or clips along with cleaning cloths and UPVC door restorer products. A labour fee of £54.99 will be added for the hours work!
Lock picking is when a lock is locked closed and you may have lost the key or left the key inside the property. We will pick a lock spending time manipulating the pins inside the lock while applying a degree of tension. Lock picking is an extremely hard skill to master that takes many years of daily practice, bloody fingers and a great cost to the locksmith as they buy all the required picks.
Many people have locks fitted to their property which are diamond rated and 3 star locks. Not all locksmiths have the skills to be able to deal with high security locks and hardware. Often the customer may have to pay a higher rate for a dedicated professional to attend such high security lock outs. These master Locksmiths have a the tools to carry out the job. These tools are expensive as in one tool may cost from £300 to £1200 per tool. They may have 40 of these different tools. This cost has to be paid for and these locksmiths may only get 1 - 2 jobs a month for such hardware. So these kinds of lock out situations will cost more than a normal British Standard lock opening. You are paying for a skilled master Locksmith to gain entry without damaging the door which could cost thousands to replace.
Lock bypassing looks simple when we do it but that's because we have trained and worked on this technique just as a guitar player makes playing a guitar look easy. It's not. When we bypass a door we are doing it with skill. This will be an option to prevent damage to a door or frame and the most cost effective solution.
Destructive entry is when there is no other choice. Often when a man made failure has occurred. This can be because some DIY dad has had a go at fixing a mechanism and then it later collapses causing the door to deadlock and there is nothing we can do as the whole inside of the mechanism has collapsed. This can also be caused by a locksmith, police or emergency services, councils in the past using tools such as lock pullers, lock snappers which can allow the mechanism walls to separate and all the parts inside to slip.
There are many reasons why a door may fail beyond repair. Such as a spring inside a night latch that dead locks the door and now your own key won't open it. This is a failed part inside the latch body that has nothing to do with the barrel of the lock. In these cases forced entry is the only way or have a carpenter professionally cut out the doors frame and replace the frame once the door is open.
In many of these cases we can identify these issues over the phone by asking some simple questions. We can then advise on the outcome.