how to install a simple door lock

how to install a simple door lock
Tools Needed
1 Drill
2 Drill Bits
3 Tape Measure
4 Screwdriver
5 Safety Glasses
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Materials Needed
1 Hammer
2 Chisel
3 Doorknob
4 Deadbolt
Total Cost
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Estimated Time
1-2 Hours
Skill Level: Advanced
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Project Overview

entry door lock

Sometimes door locks and the knobs will become too loose, too tight or even just too old. This can be annoying and you may want to get a new simple door lock. That isn’t a big project and it can be done easily in just a few steps. Even if you just want to replace your old door lock because you would like some better security, that is alright as well. Did you know that even if you only upgrade your home’s door knob and lock, the curb appeal will be much better? There are so many reasons to get a new door lock so learn how to install one today.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Measure for the New Lock

person measuring the width of a door lock

If you are going to install a new door lock for any reason, the first step is to measure the placement for the new lock. The holes in the door are beneath the knob and lock plates. You will need to take the current ones off to properly measure the hole. However, the most common size for a door knob/lock hole is 2 ½ in. When you do the measuring, make sure to go from the door’s edge to the middle of the hole. This is known as your setback point. Generally, this size is going to be between 2 3/8 in. and 2 ¾ in. Make sure to do the measurements 2 or 3 times to get it correct. After you have done this measurement, you will want to find the new lock with the same setback size. Some of the newer locks allow for an adjustment so you can match the size correctly.


Choosing Your Lock

different kinds of door locks

Before you start installing the new lock, you should take a look at the existing lock. Is the current lock breaking or wiggling? If so, you may need to get a heavy-duty lock this time? Think about the key that you want. Is it important for you to have a key that matches with the ones you already have? If so, you may want to look at the same brand you already have. Before you pick out your new lock, be sure to bring the measurements of the hole and setback size with you to the store. Think about the style of knob and lock you want before picking it out. Will the new lock set match your house design? Will it make your home look safer and more secure? After you have chosen your lock, you can move onto the next step.


Removing the Screws and Lock

door locks

Once you have chosen the proper knob/lock set, you can get home with it and start removing the screws and current set on the door. You will need to have the screwdriver to take out the screws that attach the faceplate to the door. The screws will be twisted counter-clockwise and then you will take them out. When you have taken out the screws, you should be able to take both sides of the knob off. If they don’t come off easily, you may just need to pull them a bit to loosen them up. Sometimes if the knob has been on the door for years, it takes a bit of effort to pull them apart. Before you install the new knob/lock you should be sure it will fit properly, before you put the screws in.


Installing the New Door Lock

door knob

If you are having difficulties getting the new door lock into the hole, you can get a chisel and hammer out to alter the opening. That is the option you will use if the door lock just barely doesn’t fit. If you need an even bigger hole made, get out the power drill to make it. Once you get the hole to the proper size, you will put the plate and knob into the hole. Once you have them in the correct position, you will need to make sure they are level with each other so they screws don’t get stripped when putting it together. The peg for the lock should also fit snug but not too tight before you put the screws in. Now, you can line the screws into their holes and use your screwdriver to tighten them. It may be best to use your power drill to fully tighten the screws. You should then close your door and lock it to make sure it has been installed correctly. You should open, close and lock the door at least five times to make sure it isn’t going to get stuck. You should try shutting the door softly and a bit harder to be sure there won’t be any issues with the knob.


Installing Your New Deadbolt

door lock with the deadbolt opened

If you are putting in a deadbolt on the door or replacing one, that can be done as well. It will add a little bit of time to the installation process. You will need to use the above-mentioned removal process for the deadbolt, just as you did with the knob/lock set. Once you have done this, you can then install your new deadbolt.

To install your new deadbolt, you will put the bolt through the opening along the side of the door and then attach it with the screws that have been given in the packaging. You will then put the outer part of your lock onto the door by sliding the long metal prongs into the opening and through the bolt’s center. If there is an inside plate, you will put that on from inside the door opening. After that, you will put the inside piece of the deadbolt on via the longer screws that have been included in the packaging. These go into the inside plate, screw holes and through the outer side of your lock. You should twist the screws by hand a bit first, then use your drill or screwdriver to fully tighten them. If there is a decorative plate for the outside, you will snap that on next.


Now that you have been provided with a detailed guide on how to install a simple door lock, you can make this home improvement. It may seem like a small project but when done, your home’s curb appeal will be much more attractive. This is also one of the least expensive home improvements you can make and it doesn’t take very long at all.

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