Maximize Your Door Upgrade Opportunities

Jan. 2, 2019
Close observation while working on a lock can pay off with additional income and repeat customers

Door security is the locksmith’s primary business, although it’s not your only business. It’s definitely where you make a significant percentage of your income, so why not place even more focus on your customer’s doors by providing a value-added, 10-point inspection followed with an on-the-spot quote for the repairs and upgrades? Be sure to include the following areas:

  1. The general condition of the door
  2. Hinges
  3. Weather and fire seals
  4. Door thresholds
  5. Latch protection
  6. Means of caller identification
  7. Mechanical locks
  8. Electronic Lock
  9. Electrical power transfer devices
  10. Intercoms and cameras

Another area that holds the potential of better protection for your customers as well as additional profits for you is in the area of upgrades, not only to each client’s existing doors, but also all the new ones.

In a recent survey conducted by Statista, it was discovered that 14 percent of all respondents said they are planning to replace their doors and/or windows in their homes within the next two years. Be sure to capture a piece of the door market (

There’s also plenty of front, back, and side doors that need fixing. Be sure that part of your marketing message includes the service of existing doors, and when you go on a service call, be sure to look for opportunities to upgrade the hardware that’s there.

Here’s a list of possible door upgrades in both residential and commercial settings:

  • Hinges
  • Weather Seal
  • Thresholds
  • Knife Guards
  • Peephole Lenses
  • Video Doorbells
  • Deadbolt and Auxiliary Locks
  • Electronic Locks

Close observation while working on a lock can earn you additional money.

Repair & Upgrading Door Hinges

Of all the hardware on a door, the hinges probably get the most wear and tear. In residential applications as well as many office environments, the most common type of hinge is the butt hinge, which is also referred to as a mortise hinge. Many times the weight of the door on the top and middle hinges is enough to make the hinge wear to the point where the door sags and will not close properly.

In many cases all you have to do to solve a sagging door problem is to tighten the screws that hold these hinges to the door and the door frame. If replacement is necessary, use steel hinges for interior doors and stainless steel for doors installed on outer walls.

Two other hinge types are flush and the spring hinges. Flush type are most often used on light weight doors, such as cabinets. The main feature that identifies this type of hinge is that only one side is mortised into the jamb or the edge of the door, the other leaf plate fits into the mortised one. The spring hinge is different in that instead of steel, it uses spring metal in order to force the door to close on its own.

Pivot hinges are another valuable commodity, especially where dealing with doors that are heavy enough that the customer continually has problems with the butt hinges they now have. There is a wide assortment of pivots to choose from, some that will swing the door away from the frame and others that will accommodate an exceptionally wide door, as wide as 72 inches.

Continuous hinges, also called piano hinges, are also used where the weight of a door may be somewhat excessive for an ordinary butt hinge. They also are helpful from a security standpoint because they run the entire height of the door making it difficult to compromise due to the many screws in both the edge of the door and the jamb, which are not accessible when the door is closed.

Weather Seal and Door Thresholds

Whether a door is used in a residential or commercial application, there is always a need for weather seal around the edges of the door frame where it and the door meet. According to, “Weatherstripping doors, operable windows, and other movable building components can save homeowners money by reducing utility bills” (

Numerous types of weatherseals include: self-sticking plastic or vinyl, felt, reinforced foam, weather tape, rolled, reinforced vinyl, magnetic, tubular rubber, silicone, and others.

According to, “To determine how much weatherstripping you will need, add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weatherstripped, then add 5 to 10 percent to accommodate any waste. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths. Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical. Consult the instructions on the weatherstripping package” (

There’s an extensive chart included on the weatherseal page that provides detailed information on 14 types of weather seal. This resource provides information on how to best use each type of weatherstripping along with cost considerations, and the advantages/disadvantages of each.

Also of great importance from an energy saving standpoint is the threshold at the foot of the door. Over time the weather seal on an original threshold can become worn, torn, or it may be entirely gone. If you and your team are not prepared or lack the skill for the carpentry involved in threshold repair and replacement, perhaps now is a good time to partner with a local carpenter who can assist in this and other related areas.

Latch Guards & Peephole Lenses

The first goal of any form of observable, overt security is that of crime prevention. Many of your customers face criminals who commonly gain entry to home’s using nothing more than a credit card or knife. They do so by retracting the keep and latch in unison in a knob-and-key lock.

There’s a simple way to prevent this from happening, and it’s for sure you probably already know this, but it’s by installing a latch guard over the outside of a knob-and-key lock. This can slow or even stop a criminal from gaining access to the business or home.

Installation usually requires the drilling of two holes through the door, providing it’s not fire rated. Fire-rated doors are usually inside doors where the heat and smoke from a fire must be contained on the fire side of the door for a given period of time that correlates to the fire rating itself. Outside doors are not usually fire rated.

Peephole lenses are also a great addition to an external door. If the one they have now is old and unable to provide a clear view of the individual on the other side, perhaps it’s time to replace it with a new one. These devices unscrew from the inside, allowing it to be removed. Replacement options include a passive optical unit, like the one that was already in the door, or an electronic version that allows the homeowner to see more of what’s outside as well as having a larger view of the caller.

Deadbolt and Auxiliary Locks

You probably already take the time to discuss the issue of adding a deadbolt or auxiliary lock with your customers’ doors, but in case you hadn’t considered it, perhaps it’s time. People get busy and they often forget about upgrading their door security, at least until someone breaks in, but by then it’s too late.

As a locksmith, you know how vulnerable knob-and-key locks can be when there are no deadbolt or auxiliary locks in place on an outside door. It’s a proven fact that when an experienced criminal approaches a door that also has a deadbolt or auxiliary lock, they usually decide against the attempt.

In most cases they’ll break into someone else’s home or business where there’s only a simple knob-and-key lock. Here’s why: Crime prevention centers in part on maximizing a thief’s time outside the door. When a single knob-and-key is all there is on a door, the criminal will usually move forward with the break-in. But when two locks are visibly present on the door, he automatically knows that his time outside the door is going to at least double, thus increasing the likelihood that he’ll be seen. To be seen increases the odds that he’ll be caught.

Door Video Intercoms and Electronic Locks

Mechanical deadbolt and auxiliary locks are an important part of door protection, but they do not lend themselves well to multiple users, as often is the case when working with larger families and commercial accounts. Master keying is an option, but one that the client may be unwilling to pay for, especially when there are electronic locks on the market.

Electronic locks, which come in a knob-and-key and deadbolt versions, provide the added benefit of software that can be programed to accommodate more than one user -- up to 100 or more in some models.

Programming includes the option of assigning specific doors through which a user can pass. A day-of-week and a time-of-day setting allows managers and owners to determine when each user can come and go. In residential applications time-of-day and day-of-week settings will usually be set to null because you do not want to limit family members in any way. But with that said, the client may want to track the coming and going of each family member just in case there’s a developing problem that mom and dad need to know about. This information is available to managers through the generation of an audit trail report.

Earlier in this article I mentioned electronic peephole devices with regards to viewing the individual outside who is ringing the doorbell. There’s another method that is handy that uses the wireless WiFi in the home or business to do 1) send outside images of the caller to the end user(s), and 2) allow bi-directional audio conversation between the caller and the user. These systems are easy to install and programming is extremely simple. You will have to know the password for the WiFi system, however.

For More Information

Please consider using the following list of manufacturers to inquire about many of the products mentioned in this article.

  • Select: | hinges | 800-585-1019
  • Capitol: | latch protectors | 514-273-0451
  • National Guard: | continuous hinges, power transfer hinge | 800-647-7874
  • Pemko: | continuous hinges | 800-824-3018
  • Hager: | hinges, thresholds | 800-782-0149
  • Ring: | wireless video doorbell | 800 656 1918
  • Strybuc: | hinges | 800-352-0801
  • Pro-Lok: | latch protectors | 866-679-1366
  • Ives: |door accessories, hinges, latch protectors | 877-671-7011
  • ASSA ABLOY Door Accessories: https://www.assaabloydooraccessories.u | Markar, McKinney and Pemko products | 800-346-7707