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How to Replace Door Knobs and Deadbolts

Learn how to replace door knobs, deadbolts, and door handles. This easy video tutorial will show you how to switch out door hardware on old double doors for new Schlage hardware in matte black!

collage of photos showing matte black knobs with text overlay reading "How to install door knobs"

Have you ever replaced a door? Nice doors are expensive! We were lucky enough to replace one of our doors last year (the one that needed it the most, lol), but we have another door on the waiting list. One that paint can’t cover up. For now though, since we can’t replace the entire door, we’re making a minor update: new matte black hardware. We’re sharing how to replace door knobs, deadlocks, and door handles, and it took us under 15 minutes to do it all!

mismatched door hardware on old door


*This post was sponsored by Schlage Canada. As always, opinions are 100% my own. For more information, please see my disclosure page.*

When replacing an entire door is not quite in the budget yet (and not a safety hazard yet, lol), the best two ways to spruce up a door are paint and hardware. I painted our double patio doors in our previous home and absolutely loved the difference it made. This time I opted for a more subtle change. As you can see in the photo above, we’ve been living with mismatched hardware for far too long.

installing a door knob

Switching out hardware is one of those things that seem intimidating, until you do it once. Then you realize exactly how easy it is.

Here what we got to replace our door knobs and deadbolt:

These two sets came with everything with needed to install one keyed lock and door knob, and one inactive (or dummy) lock set. The dummy set is just for looks to match the other knob and handle, but doesn’t function as a door lock.

How to Replace Door Knobs and Deadbolts:

This is definitely the type of project that is easier to learn visually. Always consult the instructions that come with your door knob or kit, but this video should give you a great idea of how to tackle a door knob installation at home:

Here are the basic steps to installing new knobs on old doors: 

  • Remove the old hardware (knobs, deadbolts, etc)
  • Open up hardware boxes and unwrap materials
  • Install your deadbolt on the active door (the functional lock)
  • Install the handle on the active side
  • Install new strike plates
  • Install the inactive handle and knob
  • Install the inactive deadbolt if desired (we didn’t)

How to Remove Old Hardware

Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the knobs and deadbolt face from the interior of your doors. Once those are removed you can just slide them off the exterior side.

With the handles removed, you can then take out your bolt from the deadbolt hole and your latch from the door knob holes.

how to adjust length of bolt and latch

Set the Door Knob Latch

Start by placing your latch into the hole for your new handles, and make sure that your handles line up with the latch. Latches come with two standard settings: a 2 3/4″ or 2 3/8″ setback from the edge of the door. If you latch does not line up with your new handles or knobs, you must adjust the length. Do this by twisting the latch and releasing it to a longer length. The video above shows exactly how this is done.

How to Install Deadbolts

Once the bolt is in place, you can install your cylinder, cylinder ring and cover plate on the exterior side of the door (in that order). Hold those in place and take the thumb turn (lock) and install it on the interior side.

Use a handheld screwdriver to install the screws at first to ensure that they are being threaded correctly. If you use an impact at the beginning, it may force the screws in and cause them to get threaded, which could cause more issues later on.

Align your cover plate so that it is square with your door before it is completely tightened. Then use an impact or screwdriver to tighten the last little bit. Finally, use your impact to screw the deadbolt in and secure it.

Do a test run to make sure that the bolt opens and closes correctly and aligns with the hole in your adjacent door or wall.

installing a door knob

How to Install Door Knobs and Handle Sets

To replace your door knobs, first install the handle, first measure the distance between the centre of the latch and the centre of the post (9″ for our handle). Next you need to mark the centre of your latch post onto the door. Find the distance of the centre point of the latch (2 3/4″ for ours) from the edge of the door, measure down for your height (9″) from the centre and make a mark – make sure that your mark is the also the same distance from the edge of the door (2 3/4″). Watch the video above to easily see how this is measured.

If you need to, drill a small pilot hole at the location of the mark you made. Next, use a 3/8″ drill bit to drill through the door. Now you can install the exterior handle – it should fit perfectly into the holes you have made. Next install the interior pieces that attach to the handle. The bolt at the bottom, and the chassis, trim, and knob at the top (in that order).

Your knob should open and close easily now. Do a check to make sure that the latch is aligned with the hole in the adjacent door or wall.

Fixing the door plate

How to Install Strike Plates

You may choose to keep your old strike plates, or to update them so that they match the existing hardware. If you choose to update them, simply use a screwdriver to remove the old one and put in the new ones.

If one of your holes is striped or in the wrong position. Take a small shim (ours was a scrap piece from an old paint stick) and fill the hole with it before screwing your plate in. If the plate sits out too far from the door (i.e. doesn’t sit flush), you can take a hammer and chisel to open up the hole a bit. When you install the plate for the bolt, you will install a reinforcing plate underneath the strike plate as well.

How to Install Inactive Hardware

Inactive hardware is hardware without a latch, or hardware to open and close. This hardware is often added just for looks, or to match the other side of a double door. Installing the inactive hardware is exactly the same as installing the active handle set. The only difference is that you have a dummy chassis, meaning there is no hardware to allow the latch to open and close.

How did it look after we replaced our door knobs?

We love the new look. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s amazing what new hardware can do! It completely refreshes the space. I’m always a fan of matte black, but the black looks especially good against the white doors too.

how to install schlage door knobs black door knobs on exterior door matte black exterior door handles from Schlage matte black door knobs on a white door schlage century hardware install

I hope that you found this tutorial helpful! If you have any questions, please ask below.

Collage of Hardware Pictures

This post is a part of our monthly Modern Handmade Home Series, where we share DIY, home decor, and renovation inspiration! Check out these other great hardware transformations:

Replacing Hinges by the Learner Observer
How to Install a Smart Lock by Colleen Pastoor
How to Replace an Interior Door Knob by Harlow and Thistle

If you would like to know more about smart lock systems, here’s everything you need to know about Keyless Door Entry!

Update your front door with a keyless door lock. These amazing smart locks can be controlled with an app and linked to your Google Home device. Love the matte black lock and hardware on this black door! #smarttechnology #entry #modernentry #keylessentry #hardware

Holly Romero

Wednesday 15th of May 2019

Looks amazing! Love the impact that new door hardware makes on a room.

Hallway Update Part 1: painting doors and changing the hardware - The Learner Observer

Monday 29th of April 2019