Metal interior door knob on wooden door.

How To Install A Door Knob

Originally contributed by • last updated 4/9/2021

15 minsPrep Time
10 minsActive Time
EasyDifficulty
Brett Sayles
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15 minsPrep Time
10 minsActive Time
EasyDifficulty

Knowing how to change and install an interior door knob or handle is a valuable skill for any DIYer.

If a door knob or handle parts or a lock stop working, you’ll be able to remedy the situation quickly.

It’s also an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of your home, as updated hardware can make a surprisingly big difference to your decor.

In this lesson, we’ll show you how to install a door knob and change a lock.

So next time you want to change your door knob, you’ll say to yourself, ‘I can handle it!’

Info: Many interior door knob or handle kits come with extra internal parts because they provide extra plates for different settings and alternate options depending on the length the hole is away from the latch. So, if you don’t use everything supplied in the kit, that’s okay. No need to fret. 


Since there are so many types of interior door knobs and handles with an array of different parts, the best method is to follow the specific manufacturer's instructions together with our more generalized guide. This will provide you with a comprehensive knowledge and some tips and tricks to help make the process easier. 

Tip: Machined screws hold the door knobs and handles in place, so we recommend using a screwdriver to fasten these parts. This avoids damage, over-tightening, and stripping the screws.


Only use a drill when securing the interior door knob or handle lock plates to the side of the door and frame, as these are held in place with wood screws. 

How To Install A Door Knob

Let's Make It

Equipment

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Utility knife (when applicable)
  • Wood chisel (when applicable)
  • Hammer (when applicable)

Materials

  • Door knob/handle installation kit
01/3

Install Door Latch Plate

Attach Latch Plate For Template

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Info: When using a prehung door, the door will already be prepped for hardware installation. A slab door will have to be prepared, and you can use our guide, How To Hang A Door, for instructions on this process.

The first step in the interior door knob or handle installation process is to fasten the latch plate to the door.

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Attach the plate by sliding the door knob’s locking mechanism through the hole on the side of the door and fastening it into place with a drill and screws.

If the plate section of the door hasn’t already been recessed, the door knob or handle plate will not sit flush with the side of the door. That’s okay. The protruding plate will serve as a template to recess the door knob lock plate.

The reason for attaching the interior bedroom or bathroom door knob or handle lock plate now is to hold it in place while the template for the recess (notch) is created.

Score For Latch Plate Recess

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With the interior door knob or handle lock plate firmly in position, use a utility knife to score around the edges of the plate.

Take time to carefully cut the lines into the wood. Be mindful not to over-cut at the corners.

Once the scoring is complete and there are firm impressions around the interior door plate’s perimeter, cut into the wood at the depth that will need to be removed. Do this by heavily going over the lines again with the utility knife.

After the scored lines are in place, use a drill to remove the inside door knob or handle lock plate again.

Chisel Lines For Latch Plate

Face the flat side of a small wood chisel outward (toward the area that doesn’t need to be removed) and trace over the scored lines by tapping the chisel with a hammer.

This will make the lines more pronounced and the wood easier to remove to create the lock plate recess.

Remove Wood For Latch Plate

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With the bevel on the wood chisel facing down, use the chisel for popping the wood out of place at the desired depth needed for the internal door knob or handle lock plate to sit flush with the side of the door.

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Tip: Place the chisel where the hardware hole is located and hit the chisel toward the scored lines. This allows the chisel to easily be set to the correct depth and remove the wood as cleanly along the scored lines as possible.

Fasten Latch Plate

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Reattach the lock plate with a drill, fastening it to the door with wood screws.

Use the preexisting holes made earlier when initially fasting the plate as a template.

At this stage, the plate should be perfectly flush with the door. If not, carefully chisel away more material until it fits snugly.

02/3

Attach Door Knob/Handle

Hand Tighten Screws On Door Knob/Handle

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Tip: When choosing which side to face the screws, consider the room. Generally, the door knob or handle screws should face the inside of the bathroom or bedroom, as it creates a cleaner look in the common rooms. 


However, with privacy knobs or handles, you’re forced to face the screws according to whichever side the manufacturer attached the button or latch.

Attach the interior bedroom or bathroom door knob or handle parts to the lock on each side of the door according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Line up the door knob or handle so that the holes that will hold the machined screws are aligned.

Once the handles are in position, begin hand-tightening the screws. This will avoid stripping the threading.

Alternate tightening the screws on the interior door knob parts until each is secured as far as it will go with finger tightening.

Tighten Knob/Handle Screws With Screwdriver

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Some interior door knobs and handles grips can be removed to accommodate the space needed to get inside to finish tightening the screws with a screwdriver.

To determine if this is the case, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the knob or handle cannot be removed, angle the screwdriver and slowly tighten the screws until they are secure.

Tip: Working slowly and alternating between screws when using a screwdriver on an interior bedroom or bathroom door knob or handle ensures the screws don’t get stripped and avoids marking the parts of the housing by having the screwdriver slip.

Test Knob/Handle

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Test the door knob or handle and make sure the latch parts move freely and the locking mechanism works properly if there is one.

Avoid over-tightening the screws, as this can sometimes cause the inside door knob or handle lock to jam. To fix this, simply release some of the tension on the screws.

If the internal door handle or knob parts are still a little loose, use a screwdriver to give each screw a half turn and retest until the lock and parts are secure.

03/3

Fasten Frame Latch Plate

Secure Latch Plate Onto Door Frame

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The final step for bedroom or bathroom interior door knob installation is to attach the lock plate to the door frame.

Use a drill to fasten the screws of the inside door knob or handle plate to the frame. 

If the door is prehung, attach the plate into the frame’s existing recess, double-checking to make sure it aligns with the locking mechanism on the new door knob or handle.

Tip: Check the alignment by opening and closing the door a few times to see where the mark is left by the knob or handle lock, as it will often leave a faint line.

If the frame isn’t prehung, utilize the same method used to create the door knob or handle plate on the side of the door by installing the plate, creating a template, and chiselling away to wood to create a recess. 

Tip: When planning to paint a door, it’s a good idea to take off and install door hardware before painting. This way, all the holes, recesses, and latch positions will be in place on the new door knob or handle. You'll avoid having to touch up these spots later or even patch and fill the wood if the handle isn’t installed correctly the first time around.


Just install the inside door knob or handle, make sure it functions correctly, remove, paint, and reinstall. 

We hope you adoor your new interior bathroom or bedroom door knob/handle!