Replacing the Lock On a Front Door

Lead Image
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-60
What You'll Need
Strike plates
Long and short screws
Door latch

When moving into a new home, it is often a good idea to replace the lock on your front door. You will feel more secure knowing that previous tenants or owners do not have access to your home. Another good reason to replace the lock on your front door is if any part of the mechanism is broken or ineffective. Replacing a door lock is a relatively easy DIY project. Here are the steps to get you started.

Step 1 - Purchase a New Lock

Before you begin, make sure you have a new door lock set and a screwdriver or drill. Installing the new lock is an easy task that should only take a few minutes. Just be sure to purchase the same brand of lock as the existing one so that it will fit into the same holes without alterations to the door. The brand can usually be found on the latch. You might want to take the old lock with you to the hardware store to ensure that you buy the right brand and style of lock.

Your new lock set should contain four basic pieces: two doorknobs, a latch piece which will be fixed onto the door, and the strike plate that attaches to the door frame. The set should also contain two long screws and four short screws.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Lock

removing a doorknob

First remove the old door lock by unscrewing the doorknob on the inside of the door. The screws may be obscured by the door handle so you may need to turn the handle to reach the screws. Both doorknobs should come loose from the door when you remove the screws. Next, remove the latch at the side edge of the door by using your screwdriver to remove the screws and pull out the latch.

Step 3 - Install the New Lock


Now take your new latch piece and insert it into the hole in the side edge of the door. The latch should be attached in the right direction, with the tapered side facing the outside of the door. Adjust the latch in place such that the part that will attach to the doorknobs is in the center of the hole on either side of the door. Fit the new doorknobs on the door, placing the doorknob with the screw holes on the inside of the door. Use the long screws to attach the doorknobs to the door and two short screws to secure the latch piece onto the door. Tighten the screws so that all parts are flush against the door.

The other two short screw are used for attaching your new strike plate to the frame of the door. Remove the existing strike plate and place the new piece in the same position as the old one. Install the screws and you are done. Test your installation by closing the door to ensure the latch meets the catch in the plate. The doorknob should feel secure and you should be able to open and close the door with no problem. Make sure to toss your old keys so you don’t get them confused with the new ones.