Changing Locks on Doors

Person changing the lock on a door
  • 1-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20-500
What You'll Need
Phillips screwdriver
Replacement lockset for each door that is being changed
What You'll Need
Phillips screwdriver
Replacement lockset for each door that is being changed

Changing locks on exterior doors is a good way to enhance security when you move into a previously owned home. It’s also imperative if you ever lose your keys. Changing locks on doors is a very simple process. Below is the steps required when changing locks. You will need access to the protected side of the door to change the lock on it.

Step 1 - Prop the Door Open

As stated above, you need access to both sides of the door at the same time when changing locks. Open the door and use something to block the door from moving.

Step 2 - Remove the Screws From Two Halves of Lock

Every door lock has two screws on the secured side that hold the parts together. With the two screws removed, pull the two halves apart and set aside.

Step 3 - Remove Screws from Tongue Plate

There are two screws that hold the lock tongue in place. Remove them and pull the tongue out.

Step 4 - Insert New Tongue Plate

person working on a door lock

Your new door lock will have three major pieces on the package, the two halves of the lock and the tongue plate. With the flat portion of the tongue facing inside the door, insert the tongue plate in the door and secure with the two new screws supplied with the new lock.

Step 5 - Assemble Two Halves on Door

Make sure the key hole is facing the outside of the door and assemble the two halves of the door lock. The key hole faces outside and the knob or button faces inside.

Step 6 - Secure Two Halves of Door Lock

The new door lock will come with two new screws. Insert those screws into the corresponding holes and securely tighten them. They should be tight enough to ensure that the lock doesn’t move at all.

Step 7 - Remove Old Strike Plate

On the door jamb is the strike plate. This is designed to strengthen the wood of the door jamb, providing for a more secure lock. Remove the two screws holding the old strike plate to the door jamb and set these pieces aside with the old lock parts.

Step 8 - Install New Strike Plate

The new door lock will come with a new strike plate. Remove this and the two remaining screws from the package and securely attach the strike plate to the door jamb. This step is to ensure a correct match of the colors of the parts.

Step 9 - Donate Old Parts

deadbolt lock pieces

Now the question is what to do with your old door lock parts. One thing you can do is look up the local Habitat for Humanity office and see if they accept donations of things like door locks. This way you may even be able to secure a tax deduction for your donation.

Now that you have read the very simple steps required when changing locks on your doors, you are ready to undertake this easy DIY task.