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How to Install a New Doorknob

Updated on April 27, 2015

A new doorknob can improve the look, security and function of a door. Installing a new doorknob is a simple matter if you understand how it functions and what holds it together.


Choosing a New Doorknob

It is important to choose the right doorknob for a particular door. A shiny new golden doorknob will look ridiculous on an old warped door with chipped paint. Consider color, style and material when choosing a new doorknob. The right one will make the entire door look much better. Security is also a significant concern. Doorknobs for inside doors between rooms may not require locks. You may want a simple keyless interior only lock for bedroom and bathroom doors. Doors to the outside should have doorknobs that lock manually from the inside and with a key from the outside. Also decide whether you want a traditional doorknob or a handle type doorknob. The handle type is easier for children and physically challenged people to use. Buy the new doorknob before removing the old one. That way you wont have a gaping hole in the door while you are at the hardware store buying a replacement doorknob. Once you get the new doorknob to the door, hold it up next to the door before attempting to install it to make sure it is the one you want for the door.

Tools Needed to Install a New Doorknob

All you need to install a new doorknob is a screwdriver or two. The kind of screwdriver you will need depends on the particular brand and model of the doorknob you are removing and the type of new doorknob. Depending on the kinds of doorknobs you are dealing with, you may need some or all of the following:

  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Large flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Allen Wrenches

Removing the Old Doorknob

Before you can install a new doorknob you must remove the old one. Locate the doorknob base plate on the door. This is called the rosette. If there are screws in the rosette, unscrew them and pull the doorknobs and the rosettes off of both sides of the door. You will find an additional plate underneath called the mounting plate. It is attached with screws on both sides of the door. Unscrew and remove the mounting plates. Next, open the door and take out the screws that are on the face plate on the edge of the door. This flat piece of metal guides the door latch into the door. Remove these screws and pull out the doorknob latch. You should be left with an empty hole in the door where there was a doorknob. Also remove the strike plate in the door frame. This is the flat metal plate that guides the latch when the door is closed.

Possible Variations in the Doorknob

All doorknobs are different, so there are slightly different ways to remove and install each of them. If there are no screws in the doorknob rosette, look for a small hole or slot in the side of the doorknob stem between the handle and the rosette. Stick a small screwdriver into the hole and press. This will release a spring activated switch that will let you take the doorknob and rosette off. Some doorknobs require you to use an Allen wrench to do this. These are hexagonal rods of metal bent at a right angle. Some older doorknobs have a "set screw" sticking out of the side of the doorknob stem that must be removed before the doorknob can be taken off. If the old doorknob is broken and will not rotate or you can not open the door, you may have to try something else to get the doorknob off.

Installing the New Doorknob

Lay out all the pieces of the new doorknob and make sure you know where they all go. Also figure out which screws go with which part before you start screwing things in or up. Mixing up screws and parts will lead to confusion and an improperly installed doorknob.

Attaching the Strike Plate and Latch

First, attach the flat metal plate that goes on the door frame with two screws. This strike plate will catch the door latch when the door is closed. Next, insert the latch into the edge of the door and secure it with the two screws on the face plate. Be very careful to point the curved side of the latch toward the direction the door closes. This allows the latch to automatically engage when the door is closed. If you put the latch in backward, the door will not close.

Attaching the Mounting Plate

Line up the mounting plate circles on both sides of the door with the latch mechanism. There should be two screw holes that attach the mounting plates. Tighten the screws and make sure that the mounting plates are flush against the front of the door. Some doorknobs require you to do this on both sides while others require only a single side. You may also need to insert two long screws to hold it all together. Do a final check to ensure that the mounting plate circles completely cover the hole in the door before tightening the screws down.

Attach the Doorknobs

The interior of a doorknob has a square shaped rod running through it called the spindle. Put this through the latch mechanism in the hole in the door. The spindle is often already attached to one of the doorknobs. If it is not, attach one before sliding it through the hole. Line up the other doorknob on the other side. Make sure the square shape of the spindle fits into the square hole in the other doorknob. Press them together and tighten the screws to the mounting plates. Turn the doorknob from both sides to make sure it moves correctly. Open and close the door to make sure it is lined up properly. Once you are satisfied with the function of the new doorknob, attach the rosette that covers the mounting plate. Depending on the model of doorknob you have, it can snap on, screw on or stick on. Your new doorknob is now installed.

© 2015 Discover the World


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