how to remove a mortise door lock

person using a power drill to unscrew the hardware from a mortise door lock
Tools Needed
1 Phillips head screwdriver
2 Flat head screwdriver
3 Safety Glasses
4 Working Gloves
Materials Needed
1 Utility Knife
2 Needle Nose Pliers
3 Wrench
4 Hammer
Total Cost
$10-$25
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
30-45 Minutes
Skill Level: Beginner
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

person wearing a construction hat standing next to a door with a mortise lock

Some older homes, often pre-World War II, have mortise locks, and even newer homes may have updated versions of these classic designs. While these pieces of hardware can be very attractive, the idea of removing one can be intimidating at first glance. However, many homeowners can’t easily manage the task with a few basic tools.

To manage this project yourself, just follow the steps below.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1

Remove The Hardware

up close view of a mortise door locking mechanism

To remove a mortise door lock, you need to have the door open. This exposes the long plate along the edge of the door, which should contain a door latch, deadbolt, and a few points that resemble buttons.

Now that the plate along the edge of the door is exposed, you can remove the screws. There should be one located at the top of the plate and one near the bottom.

Select an appropriate screwdriver based on the screws in use and turn the screws counterclockwise to loosen them. Once they have been loosed, you can remove the screws and set them aside.

After you’ve taken out the screws, you can pull the top plate off of the door edge. If it does not come off easily on its own, you may need to use a flathead screwdriver to pry it away from the door gently, taking care not to damage the door or the hardware as you proceed.

2

Remove The Handle Mechanism

person removing the door handle

Right above the deadbolt, you’ll see a small screw recessed into the door. Using a flathead screwdriver, loosen this screw by turning it counterclockwise. You should only rotate it up to five times, though fewer revolutions may be sufficient.

The door knob or level will also have a set screw that needs to be loosened. Using a flathead screwdriver, turn the screw counterclockwise a few rotations. Once the set screw has been loosened, guide the door handle off of the spindle by pulling it away from the door.

3

Take Off the Interior Trim Plate

example of an interior trim plate

After the handle is removed, you can take off the trim plate on the interior surface of the door. Typically, four screws hold the plate in place, with one being located on each corner. Select the proper screwdriver based on the screws used, and rotate them counterclockwise until they come out.

Once all our screws have been removed, the trim plate should easily come off of the door. If the trim has been painted over, and it is holding the paint in place, you will wait to cut through the paint film around the edge of the trim plate with a utility knife before you attempt to remove it. This ensures you don’t damage the hardware or the surface of the door, as can happen if you try and pry it off.

4

Remove the Cylinder

A pair of mortise lock door cylinders

Below the space where the interior trim plate sat, there will be a small decorative screw cover. Remove it with your hand to expose the screw, and use a screwdriver to remove the screw along with the washer. Below the opening where the door handle was located, there will be a through bolt. Use a screwdriver to turn it counterclockwise, completely removing the bolt.

You may need to press against the exterior trim to help facilitate the removal of the bolt. Simply place your hand against the trim and press it towards the door.

Take the key that was associated with the lock and place it partially into the cylinder on the exterior side of the door. You don’t want to insert it all of the way, as this engages the locking mechanisms and will not help you take the cylinder out.

Once the key is in place, turn it counterclockwise. This will cause the entire cylinder to spin, allowing it to be worked out of the lock. After the cylinder has been removed, the trim plate can be easily pulled off and set aside. As before, if the trim plate has been painted over, it may be stuck to the door. Use a utility knife to cut through the paint before attempting to remove the trim.

On the opposite side of the door from the spindle, there will be a screw. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw by turning it counterclockwise. Then, pull the spindle away from the door.

Conclusion

At this point, the mortise door locking mechanisms have been fully removed. If the goal was to update from the original mortise door lock, you could now work toward replacing the door locks to your satisfaction.

Alternatively, you can consider having the original hardware restored if it has historical value and the mechanisms are generally in working order or, at least, complete. For older homes, keeping the original character can have a lot of appeal, especially for future buyers who may appreciate the charm of the original piece.

How To Remove A Mortise Door Lock

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Questions And Answers

How do you measure a door knob?
You should first measure the hole for the doorknob at the center to the doorway edged, this will help you find the door set size. Often the door set size be will either 2 and 3/4 inches or 2 and 3/8 inches, almost all fit within this range.
How do you remove a door knob without screws?
Open your door and see if you can see a thin slot on the locking side of the knob. If there is a setscrew that is recessed, turn this in a counterclockwise until it moves out. For a slot, push you flathead in the slot and pull out the knob.
How much is a door knob?
Doorknobs can greatly vary in price. Some of them are less than $15 and others are up in the $50 range. It varies based on the brand and type of doorknob.
How do you tighten a door knob?
First, you will need to identify which part of the knob is causing it to be loose. Once you have identified this area of the knob you will need to use your hex set or screwdriver in order to tighten it up. This is a fairly quick and easy process.
What size hole saw is used for a door knob?
For most of the doorknobs, you will need to use a hole saw that is 2 1/8 inches. That is for the main hole. The latch hole should be done with a hole saw that is 1 inch.
How do you unlock a door knob?
You can unlock a door knob in many ways. Sometimes you do this by a key, a keypad, a push button, a turn lock, a deadbolt or an electronic lock.
How do I change the code on my door lock?
The method for changing the code on your lock will vary based on the brand of lock. You should be able to look at the manufacturer's information on the lock that was included when you purchased it. If not check with the manufacturer on what you need to do.
How do I remove an exterior door knob?
Removal of an exterior door knobs is fairly easy. You will need a screwdriver. There are screws that hold the lock in place. You can find these on the plate for the latch as well as on the interior of the knob. Unscrew the screws and remove the knob.
How do you change the code on a Schlage door lock?
To add a new code press the button "Schlage" along with the number button one at the same time. Wait until you hear a beep and see three flashes. The green light flashing will let you know that it is ready for a new code to be programmed.
What are the different types of door knobs?
There are many doorknobs available. There are keyed door locks, including doorknobs and door levers. There are also electronic door locks. Each of the locks offers something slightly different, while they all allow secured entry to your home. Your lock choice will be based on cost and personal preference.
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When you are looking at getting safer doors for your home, one thing you must look at is the lock on the doors. You want to make sure the lock provides you with the most protection and security. Some of the most basic locks won’t do that so you need to consider getting a deadbolt to enhance your home’s security to keep everyone safe. A deadbolt lock will secure your doors, so intruders can’t get in easily. Additionally, if someone wants to break into a home, just seeing the deadbolt will cause them to think twice about trying to get in. That means just the look of these locks alone would give you more protection. There are various deadbolts that you can invest in. Different materials and finishes are often available for deadbolts too. Find out more about each of these types so you can pick the ones that are best for your home through additional online research. The range of prices, finishes, and level of security will help you make an informed investment in your home’s security. read more

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