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How to change a door lock – If you’re looking to improve your home security in the most cost effective way possible, the obvious route would be to change your door locks.

You just moved in a new property or you’ve just decided to rent out your house. You don’t want to spend too much money on new locks, but you want to keep out any unwanted visitors. 


Swapping a lock yourself doesn’t take very long, and will save you heaps of cash on a locksmith if you follow the “how to change a door lock” guide.

But how do you actually install your own locks? It’s actually pretty straightforward to change them once you’re familiar with the steps. Keep them nearby while you work and your DIY project will be done in no time. 

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How to change a door lock:

  1. Measure accurate
  2. Remove and replace the latch
  3. Position the new door knobs
  4. Change the deadbolt

1) Measure accurately

Preparation is ‘key’ here. If you’re going to install a lock successfully the first time,  you need to make sure your existing keys will fit the new lock and ensure the current holes in your door will work well with the new fitting.

It’s time to get measuring. Measure the diameter of the hole currently cut out of your door and the setback, which is the distance from the door to the edge of the hole.

From there select a new lock that will fit these measurements. Most locks allow you to adjust the latch, but try to be as accurate as possible when measuring.

Make sure to take your existing lock into a store to buy a new one that will work for you. It also a good idea to avoid the cheapest option. Yes – you’re changing your own locks to save money, but there’s not much point in doing so if these locks make your property easy to break into.

how to change a door lock
1. Measure accurately – How to change a door lock.

There’s no need to go for the most expensive lock either. So keep to a good quality product within a good pricing range. Speaking to an employee at the store will help- they will know what’s right for you and your house.

2) Remove and replace the latch

To replace your door’s latch, remove the screws from the interior door knob. 

From there you will be able to pull the knobs away at both sides. You can remove the latch by pulling the two screws out of the latch plate.

Simply insert the new latch into the opening with the tapered side facing the direction you would usually push the door to close it. 

Now make sure the latch fits properly and feels secure, as well make syre it is flash wit the door itself.All that’s then left to do is make sure the latch fits properly and feels secure, as well as making sure it is flush with the door itself.

Mismatched parts, alignment issues and dodgy repair work can all cause issues with the latch. Luckily there’s ways to fix this if something goes wrong. 

The first thing to do is check the alignment of the strike plate. If it is slightly out of place, try to correct its position by sliding first before taking the whole thing off and trying again. This will save you a lot of time! 

To do this, shut the door and see how far off the strike plate is. If it’s out of place by anything more than ⅛ of an inch, you will need to remove and replace the plate with new screw holes. 

how to change a door lock
2. Remove and replace the latch – How to change a door lock.

You can fill the old holes with wood filler. 

Sometimes a misaligned door latch can be down to the entire door being off kilter. A sign that this is the case is the door will refuse to stay open on its own, or the door swings back and forth when left ajar.

To fix this you’ll need to loosen the hinge screws until they are nearly out, then put a piece of wood shim or hard material behind the hinge. From here tighten the screws back up and check the swing of the door to see if it is even. If not you may need to add more wood shim or a small amount to the centre hinge for it to balance out correctly.

3) Position the new door knobs

The spindle on a door knob is the long metal piece which runs through the knob and sticks out.

This turns with the door knob to allow the door to open, which means both parts need to work well together.

Run the spindle through the slot in the latch and adjust the two screws inside the knob to fit into the cylinders on the exterior. Tighten the two screws.

Separate the two screws holding the strike plate on the door jamb and replace the plate with a new one.

Once again, check your work by testing the door before going any further. It’s important to make sure the latch is well aligned and the knob turns smoothly without snagging.

how to change a door lock
3. Position the new door knobs – How to change a door lock.

4) Change the deadbolt

Using the same steps as the door knob removal, take out the old deadbolt by removing the screws on the door edge and pulling away the deadbolt carefully from both sides.

You’re now nearly there! Insert the new deadbolt into the opening of the door edge and screw in before inserting the exterior side. Feed the long metal piece through center of the bolt.

Insert the two longer screws into the interior plate to attach the interior of the deadbolt. Also make sure to tighten all screws with a drill and then add the decorative plate over the top.

how to change a door lock
4. Change the deadbolt – How to change a door lock.

Now you’ve got all the steps, it’s important to look at how much this is going to cost you. It’s pretty cheap to get a locksmith to copy a simple key, but you could be looking at big money for a special key. It’s so important to check this out before changing your door locks, or you could end up paying out much more than you intended to. 

Thought about a electronic (keyless) lock? Read more!

It really is as easy as that. Now, go and get measuring…

How to: Change a Door Lock in 4 Easy Steps (2021)

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