How to Change a Doorknob Like a Pro in 5 Easy Steps

Knock, knock—it’s time for a change

Laura Hennigan
Written by Laura Hennigan
Updated May 26, 2022
A front door of a house
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock
Difficulty

Simple

Flex your DIY muscles.

Time to complete

15 minutes

For standard interior doors, the process should go pretty quickly. You may need to budget a bit more time for exterior doors that include a deadbolt or other extra locking mechanism.

Cost

$20–$200

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Screwdriver
  • Cordless drill or screwdriver
  • Hammer, chisel and pencil (if the door or jamb requires adjustment)

SUPPLIES

  • New doorknob set

Whether you want to make your front door more secure or simply update its look, changing out a doorknob is a straightforward task that requires minimal tools and time.

Replacing doorknobs is thankfully not difficult or messy. It requires just a few tools (that you likely already have), along with the new knob set. Since you’ll be working in the middle of a door, consider sitting on a chair while you complete the task if bending over or kneeling for longer periods may be difficult.

The priciest part will be the new doorknob set you choose, since they range from basic to intricate, with an array of finishes and designs available. While most homeowners can likely complete the replacement project themselves, you can also hire a general contractor to do the work. A pro will charge anywhere from $25 to $50 per hour to tackle this task.

5 Steps to Changing Out a Doorknob

A white door with black doorknob
Photo: robert reader / Moment / Adobe Stock
  1. Remove Old Doorknob and Hardware

    The first step is to take off your old doorknob, along with the hardware. Start by removing the screws from the door handle with your screwdriver. If possible, avoid using your drill to help prevent stripping out the screws. If the screws turn easily, then use the drill to speed things up. Next, unscrew the strike assembly from the front edge of the door and pull it out. Then remove the strike plate from the doorjamb.

  2. Insert the Strike Assembly

    Check to see if the hardware on the new latch matches up with the old one. If so, push the new strike into the hole on the front edge of the door. If not, see if matching hardware came with the set, or adjust the hole using your chisel. To chisel a larger hole, push the latch assembly in and draw a line around it so you know where to remove the extra wood. Screw it into the door.

  3. Secure the Doorknob

    Push the outside handle in first, and then add the inside handle. Make sure to line up the holes. Start turning the two long screws by hand, and once they’re started, use the screwdriver or the drill. Avoid over-tightening the screws, as it will prevent the handle from working correctly. But make sure the handle fits snug and doesn’t jiggle.

  4. Install the Strike Plate

    Screw the strike plate to the door jamb. Adjust the corners around the plate with your chisel and hammer, if necessary.

  5. Check and Adjust the New Door Lock

    Close and open the door a few times to ensure it latches and locks. If the handle works but the door doesn’t latch, you may have to adjust the strike plate up or down, forward or back, until it closes properly. That’s it—you’re done!

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