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Saturday, December 4, 2010

New homes

It would be nice to think that a new home would include decent functioning locks, but too often that is not the case. The fact is that the top 3 lock problems are every bit as common in new homes as old, and one of those three occurs frequently in new construction.

Locks should be rekeyed any time there is a change of ownership, and that includes when the builder hands over the keys to the first homeowner. When Altic Lock Service rekeys your locks, we will also be checking to see if the deadlatches on entry locks are functioning correctly and if the deadbolt extends completely. While rekeying, we will also remove any master pins that may be found in the builder's locks. We can also check to see what type of screws were used to mount the deadbolt strike. Too many locks still come, and are installed, with 3/4 inch screws. Three inch screws should be used in order to tie the strike plate into the 2x4 framing around the door.

The problem with new construction is that the door hardware is rarely installed by a locksmith. After the door is hung, locks are often installed by whoever has the time, almost as an afterthought. The thicker, heavier weatherstripping used on many new exterior doors makes proper deadlatch alignment even more difficult. Most doors come pre-assembled with the jamb, with cutouts already made for the locks. This is why deadbolts often cannot extend completely. Quality deadbolts extend 1 inch, but the pre-drilled jamb piece is maybe 3/4 of an inch. If the door framing beyond the opening in the jamb is not drilled for the bolt after the door is hung, the bolt cannot extend fully, and does not actually lock in place like it should. If, when you throw the deadbolt, you hear it thump against wood, it probably did not extend completely.

If you take a lock off of the door, and see a handwritten number on a normally unexposed part of the lock body, there is a very high probability that the lock cylinder contains master pins. Each master pin doubles the number of keys that will operate the lock. There is really no justification for master pins in a residential lock, but some builders use them regularly.

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