Maybe you have a door knob that is too loose or too stiff, or one that simply doesn’t suit your personal style. You might even have a damaged door knob if the door was forced open at some point. Regardless of the reason, most homeowners will occasionally need to replace a door knob in their home.
Luckily, this process is fairly simple, and most people can handle the tasks on their own. Just follow the steps outlined below, and you can install a door knob in no time.
Purchase a Replacement
You can’t install a new door knob until you have one in hand. When you head to the home improvement store, you may be surprised by the number of options available.
Before you make a purchase, you need to decide what features the door knob needs to have, and this involves much more than just picking a color. First, do you need a round knob or would you prefer a lever-style handle? Does it need to have a lock? Will it be in the right-handed or left-handed position (a question that is especially relevant for handle-style doors)? Once you know the style, look for a door knob with the same pawl length as the current one, as this ensures the door will close properly.
Remove the Old Door Knob
To replace a door knob, the door must be in the open position. This provides you with access to all of the components. Begin removing the old door knob by taking out the two screws on the face plate, which is located on the edge of the door. Turn the screws counterclockwise and set them aside.
Next, remove the two screws on the knob plate, which is the metal plate upon which the door knob sits. This causes the door knob itself to come loose, so don’t be surprised if they topple to the floor (keep your toes out of the way, or the knob may land on them when it falls!). If the knobs don’t fall, pull them off the door once the screws are removed.
Now, the pawl and internal mechanism will be exposed. Grip the mechanism inside the hole in the door and push it towards the exposed edge. Then, you can pull the entire thing out through the opening upon which the faceplate was resting. Finally, remove the strike plate located on the door jamb by removing the two screws and pulling the plate away.
Prepare the Knob, Door, and Jamb
Your new door knob may come with multiple face plate options. When that is the case, you should select the option that best matches the opening in your door. If you need to change it, grip the mechanism firmly and use a flathead screwdriver to remove the default option. Then, position the one you’d prefer to use and press it on firmly.
Next, you’ll need to make sure the new strike plate and pawl mechanism will fit into the holes in the door and door jamb. If the space is too small, you’ll need a hammer and chisel to widen the openings. As you make adjustments, always start small. Chip away at the openings slowly to make sure you don’t remove any more material than necessary. If the space is too large, you may need to add the included plastic color around the pawl mechanism. This ensures the door knob fits snugly, preventing it from rattling around in the door.
Install the New Door Knob
Once the fit has been adjusted (if necessary), you can start the installation. Begin by pushing the pawl mechanism with the attached face plate into the hole in the edge of the door. Make sure the curved edge of the pawl faces the direction the door will close. You want the slanted edge of the pawl to contact the strike plate, as this ensures the door shuts without having to turn the knob. After the pawl is pushed through the opening, you can screw the face plate down. Keep the mechanism as level as possible to ensure smooth operation. Often, this means alternating between the two screws as you tighten everything down.
Now, you can insert the handles. If the door includes a lock, make sure the lock is on the proper side of the door before you insert them knobs. Align the square pegs on the knob with the square openings and the screw holes with the threaded openings. For lever handles, make sure everything is facing in the right direction before you secure the knobs. Then, use the two screws to tighten the handle. After the handle is tightened down, rotate the knob or use the levers and make sure the pawl retracts properly. You may also want to test the locks while the door is in the open position, as this ensures you don’t accidentally lock yourself in or out of the room if there’s a malfunction.
Finally, install the new strike plate on the door jamb. Place the plate on the door jamb and use the screws to secure it. Once that’s complete, close the door and make sure it sits securely. Then, use the knob and open it.
If things don’t work properly, you may need to make small adjustments to the alignment of the pawl or the strike plate. This can involve loosening the screws, slightly shifting the strike plate or pawl mechanism, tightening the screws, and testing again. Once everything lines up and tests properly, you’re set. Now, you can enjoy your new door knob for years to come.