Archive for Monday, March 16, 2009


Follow these key instructions to change your door’s lockset

March 16, 2009


If you have a dysfunctional or outdated door lockset, replacing it can be an easy and cost-effective way to improve the look and functionality of your existing door. The two basic types of residential locksets are commonly referred to as either mortise or standard. Older homes usually have mortise locksets, which can be identified by the extra long rectangular metal inset on the side of the door. These can be replaced with a standard type knob, though you will need to fill the gap inside the door with a piece of custom cut lumber and some wood putty.

Step 1: Identify the lockset size by measuring the thickness of the door and the length of the backset. The backset is the area that goes from the side of the door to the handle and contains the latching mechanism. Most, but not all, locksets come with an adjustable backset that will accommodate both 2 3/8-inch and 2 3/4-inch applications. Make sure the lockset you choose will fit your needs.

Step 2: Remove the old lockset by first unscrewing or prying off the trim rings on either side of the door. There may be two long screws holding the door handles in place beneath the trim ring. If so, unscrew these and remove the handle set.

Step 3: Remove the old latch by unscrewing the two screws on the face plate located on the side of the door. Pull out the latch and compare it to the new latch. If necessary, adjust the new latch so it is the same length as the old latch.

Step 4: Check the backset hole size to make sure the new latch will fit. Refer to the lockset instructions if the existing hole is slightly larger, chances are you will find an adjustable collar for the latch.

Step 5: Install the latch with the slant of the bolt facing in the direction that the door closes. Tighten the face plate screws, making sure the latch is level inside the door.

Step 6: Insert the new knob with the stemmed assembly onto the door and through the latch opening.

Step 7: Attach the other knob to the stemmed knob, being sure to align the installation screws. Tighten the screws gradually, alternating between the two so that the knobs are aligned evenly.

Step 8: Test the new lockset to make sure the latch and knobs move freely and the locking mechanism works smoothly. Readjust the lockset and latch if necessary.

Step 9: Replace the old strike plate on the door jamb with the new strike plate. Reposition it if necessary to assure the door latches securely. Be sure the lock set is working properly before shutting the door.

— Send e-mail to Linda Cottin at


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