When you move into a new home, there’s always that_one_thing that drives you a little batty. (Ok, full disclosure there was more than one_thing at The Duckling that made us batty). But for me, the sticky door knob on the sun-porch door was my thing. Most days it would function just fine. Then, there would be that day when I would have the trifecta of complications going on and the knob would stick. Inevitably, it was raining, I was carrying a bunch of stuff out of the car, trying to hustle my favorite three year-old inside so he could make it to the potty in time and that &^*($ door knob would stick!
The knob’s last straw was on a day as described above and I lost my mind. (Instant Replay: “That’s it! I’ve had it! The_knob_goes!”)
So what’s a frustrated momma to do? Well, first I call my Dad. You see, like a good father does, he gave me enough DIY skill to handle the small things, and enough blind self-confidence to think that I could tackle something like installing and re-keying my own door knob. It’s that blind self-confidence which usually gets me into trouble. Dad was coming over later that day and said – “we’ll figure it out, but maybe Home Depot or your local hardware store could re-key it for you!”
Since patience is not my virtue, what do I do? Take things into my own hands of course! Off to our locally-owned hardware store I go to explore my options and to most certainly NOT ask them to re-key the lock for me. I can figure this out on my own! I see lots of knobs – interior, exterior, combo knob and deadbolt, etc. My eyes land on the Kwikset exterior knob that has a self re-key option called Smart Key. SCORE! (I mean, really….when the knob gods hand you a gift, you accept it gratefully!).
So I bring the winner home and promptly get to work swapping out the knob. It took all of 10 seconds to unscrew and remove the old knob and strike plate (oh yeah, I sound like I know of what I speak, do I not?)
Then I read the directions for the new knob. I tackled the easy parts first – screwing in the new strike plate was a piece of cake because it literally fit perfectly in the slot for the old strike plate.
Then I had to measure “the basket” – essentially from the center of the hole in the door to the outside edge – to see how long the latch needed to be. At 2 3/4 inches, it meant adjusting the chamber – easy-peasy with the flip of a spring pin. Then I put that into it’s slot and that step was done!
Now it was time to get down to the real business. The way this lock was designed, it was literally fool-proof so long as you followed directions. You put stemmed knob (aka, the side where the key would go) through the latch slots. And then lined the non-stemmed knob (aka, the side of the knob that would go on the inside of the door) up with the stemmed part, twisted it down over the screws, tightened the screws and voila!
A couple of double checks that the door was opening and closing ok and it was time to re-key the knob. The lockset came with this little pin thing that you use to change the lock set to the key you want to use rather than the one that came with the lock. Since we’d spent a good chunk o’ change re-keying the whole house after we moved in, I figured best to spend a little more and buy the lockset that I could easily re-key myself.
So the situation is this – you put the key that came with the lockset into the lock and turn it to the right 90 degrees. You put the pin into the tiny slot and remove the original key still in the 90 degree position. You then put your key of choice into the lock at the 90 degree position, turn it upright and then turn it back to the 90 degree position. If at that point you try to pull the key out and it won’t remove, you’ve succeeded in your re-keying efforts. If it comes out, then it didn’t work and you have to start over with the instructions provided.
Luckily my re-keying attempt was a success the first time out of the gate – so no need to worry about Plan B. And she’s a beauty and functions perfectly! No sticking, and actually I think the door as a whole functions better.
And bonus? When my Dad walked into the house a couple hours later, I was all, “no need to worry about that knob, Dad – your girl’s got some mad DIY skills and I handled it all on my own!” He was stunned and a tad impressed, if I do say so myself!
The two downsides to my shiny new knob? 1) Now I need to repaint the door and the trim – it’s looking rough next to that shiny new knob and it’s time to make it all look as good as that knob! And 2) now my husband has officially nominated me “in charge of all knob replacements going forward.” Umm…..yay?
The moral of the story? The knob’s the thing…..that can open a whole can of worms! Because as we know, painting the door will lead to painting the whole room.
It’s a slippery slope when you start with a knob!