How to Replace a Door Handle

A door handle.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-50
What You'll Need
Replacement door handle
Screwdriver bits
Safety goggles

If your door handles are old or damaged, it will come in handy if you know how to replace a door handle. Door handles of all types take only a couple of minutes to install as long as the necessary tools and replacement sets are ready. However, it may also take more than that if it is your first time.

Step 1 - Determine if the Door Handle is Right Handed or Left Handed

Before purchasing a replacement, determine first if the door is left handed or right handed. If the door opens to the right, it is right handed, if it opens to the left, it is left handed. This is crucial because buying the wrong handle can waste a lot of time.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Handle

To remove the old handle, locate the screws on the handle. Usually, the screws are instantly visible, but sometimes, they are hidden by a metal cover. To locate the screws, find a slot at the side of the door handle cover. Insert a flathead screwdriver into the slot and pop the metal cover. The metal cover should come off to reveal the screws. Remove the screws and pull out the handle and the latch. Use safety goggles especially when using a drill with screwdriver bits. Remove the other door handle on the other side of the door as well by following the same procedures above. If a new handle is already prepared, proceed to Step 4 of this article. If not, proceed with Step 3.

Step 3 - Buy a Replacement

The best way to ensure that the correct replacement handle is purchased is to take the old door handle to the supply store. Make sure that the replacement is the exact match or at least has the same specifications as the old one. Check that the new set has a latch, because some handles may require the purchase of a separate latch.

Step 4 - Install the New Handle and Latch

Start by inserting the new latch into the latch hole. Then insert the interior door handle and connect it to the latch. Now secure the latch to the hole by inserting the screws on the screw holes and tightening them. When the latch is in place, insert the external door handle into position. While holding it firmly with one hand, insert the screws into the holes one by one using the other hand. Tighten these screws using a screwdriver. Make sure that the screws are tight, but not excessively so.

If the door handles come with cover plates, make sure that the screws are secured into position first. Push the metal plates onto the door handles to cover the screws. Test if the handles work. Close and open the door several times to check for any installation issues.