How to Install a Door Lock
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Upgrading the doorknob and deadbolt on your front door is a cost-effective way of increasing the curb appeal of your home and improving its security, inside and out. This guide will show you how to install a door lock in a little more than an hour.
If you want the key for your new lock to match your other locks, make a note of the current brands installed on your doors and order a similar key from us. Or call a store associate to help you select a lock that is compatible with the existing key.
If you are installing all new locksets, the keys can be matched using the key code on the back of the package.
- Before you learn how to change door locks, measure the space where you'll install the replacement.
- Measure the diameter of the holes currently cut out of your door so you can select a new door lock that fits those dimensions. Take care to measure carefully as matching the size can be especially problematic in older homes.
- If you need to create new holes or enlarge existing holes, you can purchase a hole saw set that includes hole saws and a guide for making new holes. The guide will support the hole saw and prevent it from walking. You can also make your own guide by cutting a hole in a piece of scrap wood and clamping it over the hole.
- Your current doorknobs are connected through a hole in your door that is under the plate around the knob itself. A typical diameter for this hole is 2 1/8-inches, but it's wise to remove the existing lock set and check. Checking this will make how to install a lockset easier.
- Measure the distance from the edge of the door to the center of the hole. This measurement is called the setback and it’s typically either 2 3/8-inches or 2 3/4-inches.
- On some older doors, thickness might be an issue. Some doors are less than 1 3/8-inches thick, which is the minimum size modern locksets will accommodate. To fix this, add a custom cut plate or a door reinforcer.
- Select a lock with the same setback. Many new lock sets allow you to adjust the latch to either distance. And if you want extra added security, consider electronic door locks or even smart locks.
Tip: The handedness of most locksets can be changed by using an included tool. This tool is also used to remove a handle if needed to access difficult to reach screws.
- Begin by removing the screws from the door knob on the interior side of your door. This allows you to pull the door knobs off the door from both sides.
- Remove the two screws from the latch plate on the edge of the door and remove the latch from the opening.
- In some cases, door latch plate mortises might need to be cut or enlarged.
- Insert the new latch into the opening with the tapered side facing the direction you will push the door to close it.
- Check that the new latch plate fits the recessed area and is flush with the surface of the door.
- The long metal piece sticking out of the exterior knob is called the spindle. The spindle turns with the knob and causes the springs within the latch to slide the bolt into the door so it opens.
- Install both knobs by sliding the spindle through the slot in the latch.
- Align the two long screws from the inside knob into the cylinders on the exterior door knob and tighten the screws.
- Remove the two screws holding the strike plate in place on the door jamb and install the new one in the same position.
- Open and close the door several times to check that the latch aligns properly with the strike plate and that the knob turns smoothly.
- Insert the new bolt into the opening on the edge of the door and fasten it to the door with the provided screws.
- Insert the exterior part of the lock into the door by feeding the long metal piece through the opening in the center of the bolt.
- If the deadbolt comes with an interior plate and a decorative outer plate with a recessed screw, just place the interior plate over the hole from the inside.
- Attach the interior part of the deadbolt lock by inserting the two provided long screws through the interior plate, the two screw holes in the bolt, and into the exterior side of the lock.
- Hand-thread the screws, then tighten them using a screwdriver or power drill.
- Snap on the decorative outer plate.
- If your new deadbolt has a concealed screw for the interior door knob, consult the installation instructions for your specific lock.
Tip: If you're in a situation where you cannot or do not want to use a drill to install your lock, there are a couple ways of installing an interior door lock without a drill. Look into keyed-entry door knobs, also called privacy knobs, portable door locks or top-of-door locks.
- Install the strike plate and test that the deadbolt is working properly and that the hole in the door jamb is deep enough to accept the entire bolt.
- If it’s not, remove the strike plate and chisel out more wood until it’s deep enough. Then reattach the strike plate.
- If the strike plate does not line up correctly, you may need to make one of two fixes. When you need to make a major adjustments, you can ennlarge the mortise with a chisel. Fill the existing screw holes with slivers of wood and wood glue. Alternatively, drill out the holes, glue in a dowel pin, saw off the dowel pin after the glue dries. Then drill new pilot holes. Fill in the gap from the old mortise with wood putty and paint to match.
- For minor adjustments, you can use a small sanding wheel or grinding burr on a rotary tool to enlarge the hole in the striker.
After following these steps, you'll have successfully installed your brand new door lock. Feel good knowing you've boosted curb appeal as well as added extra security to your home!
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