Installing a Lockset

This story shows how to install a lockset.


If you are replacing a dead bolt or handle, simply insert the new parts into the existing holes (steps 6 and 7). Before installing check that the new dead bolt will fit in the hole and that the existing mortises for the latch and the strike are not too large. (It's easy to enlarge a mortise, but it's difficult to fill in a too-large mortise so it is not noticeable.) You may need to buy a separate, larger strike plate.

If you buy a unit with a security box and strike plate, you may need to widen and deepen the strike hole, and perhaps enlarge the strike's mortise as well.

The door frame should be in good shape. If the dead bolt slides into the jamb only, an intruder will be able to kick the door in. A bolt that slides into the stud will be much more secure.

Prestart Checklist

1 or 2 hours to install a new lockset or dead bolt

Drill, hole saw and spade bit of the correct sizes, hammer, chisel, screwdriver, awl

Accurate measuring and drilling

Place a drop cloth on the floor under the door.

Lockset or dead bolt with accompanying hardware

Step 1

Determine the best height for the lock. The lock comes with a paper template. Fold the template and tape it to the door. Select a 2-3/8-inch or 2-3/4-inch backset. Use an awl or sharp nail to poke a small hole at the center of the cylinder hole on the face of the door and the latch hole on the edge of the door.

Step 2

Insert the tip of the hole saw's guide bit into the awl hole. Drill, taking care to hold the bit level and at a right angle to the door. (Guides are available; see below.) Stop when the guide bit pokes through the other side. Drill from the other side to complete the hole.

Step 3

Switch to a spade bit and drill the latch hole through the edge of the door, using the awl hole as a guide. Drill all the way into the cylinder hole. Some locks call for continuing to drill on the other side of the cylinder hole. Clean away sawdust.

Step 4

Insert the latch into the latch hole and temporarily anchor it with screws, with the bolt centered in the hole and the latch's plate centered in the door edge. Mark with a knife for cutting the mortise around the plate.

Step 5

Use a hammer and a sharp chisel to cut a mortise in the edge of the door. First use the chisel to cut the lines about 1/4 inch deep. Then chisel from the hole outward.

Step 6

Insert the latch into the mortise and check that the plate will be flush with the door edge. You may need to remove the latch and chisel a bit more. If the plate is set too deep, insert small shims. Drill pilot holes and drive screws to attach the latch.

Step 7

Insert the inside portion of the lockset -- the one that has a tab that fits through the latch -- until it rests flush against the door. Insert the other portion and drive screws to attach the two. This can sometimes be tricky; have a helper hold the inside portion while you drive the screws.

Step 8

Slide the latch bolt partway out and gently close the door. Mark the edge of the jamb for the vertical center of the bolt. Use a square to transfer this height to the inside face of the jamb, and mark for the horizontal center, which is half the thickness of the door.

Step 9

If you are installing a standard bolt, you need drill only one hole. To install a security strike box, mark the outline of the box and drill two holes, one above and one below the mark.

Step 10

For a security box, chisel out the area to create a rectangular hole.

Step 11

Close the door and check that the bolt slides easily into the hole. Temporarily attach the strike plate and mark for the mortise with a knife.

Step 12

Chisel the mortise as in step 5, but make it shallower. Insert the strike box (if any) and secure it with screws. Close the door and test that the latch slides easily into the hole.

Step 13

Attach the strike plate, drill pilot holes, and drive the mounting screws.

Step 14

Test the lock again. If the bolt does not slide easily into the strike, try tapping the strike with a hammer and screwdriver. Or you may need to file or move the plate.

Comments (4)
trangphongsang wrote:

** Download over 16,000 WOODWORKING PLANS.Woodworking guide offers anyone of any skill level the ability to build amazing projects. The guide is extra helpful because it offers more detailed explanations, videos and blueprints then your typical woodworker magazine . Hope it will help you next time !

8/27/2016 12:49:14 AM Report Abuse
nurlanm wrote:

Good one. step 7 is a little confusing.

1/29/2013 09:37:31 AM Report Abuse
masterson47 wrote:

How do get an old deadbolt lock out. I used a rubber mallet to remove the lock but it doesn't budge.

1/23/2010 09:39:59 PM Report Abuse
Tulips0061 wrote:

What is a security box?

1/10/2010 02:22:15 PM Report Abuse
Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In
One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!