Replacing a worn or broken doorknob is not a task that requires special skill or even a large chunk of time. In order to avoid leaving your home unlocked (or without an external doorknob), it’s best to choose your replacement hardware ahead of time. Doorknobs are sold in standard sizes, so finding an exact fit for regular-sized doors won’t be a problem.
So, if you have your tools in hand, let’s get to work.
New doorknob and hardware
OUT WITH THE OLD
First things first, you’ll need to remove your existing doorknob and all its hardware. This is a fairly simple procedure, which should take between 5-15 minutes. The step-by-step procedure for getting rid of the old follows:
- Remove the trim from the door. The trim of the doorknob is the ring-shaped piece of metal behind the door handle and in between both knobs. There is trim on both sides of the door. There are usually two screws which hold this ring in place on each side of the door, though some newer models of doorknobs and interior doors won’t contain screws at all, and may need to be pried off with a flat screwdriver or small pry tool. If the latter is true, be sure to slide the screwdriver well underneath the ring, so as not to damage the wood while prying off.
- Once the trim has been removed, you’ll notice two long screws that hold the two doorknobs (one on each side of the door) in place. Remove the screws one at a time.
- You should now be able to pull the knobs apart and out of the door completely. Do so.
- Once the doorknobs are out, you’ll note two screws holding the door lock in place. Remove both screws and the bolt.
- If you’d like to replace the strike plate (the small metal plate that catches the bolt or lock when it’s release), you can remove it from the frame of the door now. You can do so by removing its screws and pulling it out. (Note: This is an unnecessary step in most doorknob replacement jobs.)
PURCHASING A NEW DOORKNOB
You can simplify the task of purchasing a replacement doorknob by knowing ahead of time what you’re looking for. Should your doorknob have an internal or external lock or perhaps, no luck at all? Would you prefer a round-shaped handle or a lever-type knob that you can turn? Are you looking for a decorator handle to match the rest of the house or will any old knob do? Make your decisions ahead of time and always keep your receipt…just in case.
IN WITH THE NEW
- You’ll begin installing the new doorknob by first inserting the new bolt. Push it into its hole and screw it into place. Note: slanted side should always point in the direction the door closes, so that the door cannot be pushed open.
- On one side of the door, place your trim piece flesh against the door and in between one of the new knobs. Insert the doorknob. Do the same for the other side, checking to make sure the two doorknobs align properly and that the two long screw will hold them together.
- Attach the two handles together tightly using the two long screws, alternately tightening each side until you have a solid fit and the knobs come together evenly.
- Test your work and make sure that both handles move freely and the door cannot be pushed or pulled open (from either side) without using the handle.
TIPS AND TRICKS
NEW bolts and strike plates sometimes feel loose or insecure after installation. You can render this by replacing the original screws with longer wood screws.
ANY additional slack or airspace between the strike plate and the door trim can be fixed with a narrow piece of cardboard. Unscrew the strike plate, fit the cardboard, and replace screws.
NEWER lever-styled doorknobs are easier to open for small children and older adults with physical disabilities.
AS YOU take the old doorknob and lock out, place it on the ground in the order that you’ve removed it. This will help to make installation of the new hardware go faster as you’ll have a model to draw from.
IF YOU get stuck and can’t seem to get the doorknob back on in its proper fashion, try partially removing another doorknob in the house and use it as a model to follow.
YOU CAN clean fingerprints off the doorknob, strike plate and and trim with a cleaner especially made for the type of metal you’re using or a soft rag dipped in vinegar.
ALWAYS send your warranty card for your new door hardware in immediately to ensure guaranteed replacement, if necessary.
YOUR trim may need to be tightened from time to time, especially if a lot of weight is put on the door. This can be done when needed using a screwdriver. If you find yourself tightening the trim several times a year, invest in longer screws.