Home Repair: How to Install a Deadbolt Door Lock

Home security is paramount for most families. Various types of locks and security devices exist to augment the traditional locking door knob. Probably the most widely used of these is the deadbolt. These are designed to be difficult to pry open and offer a strong fastener to help keep intruders out of your home. In order to work properly, a deadbolt must be installed correctly.

Make sure that your door and jamb will support a deadbolt.

It does not do a lot of good to install a strong locking device into a weak door or door jamb. For best results, use a solid core door or even one that is reinforced with metal. The same is true for the door jamb. The wood needs to be in excellent condition and any type of material that will strengthen it is desirable.

Buy a deadbolt that fits your situation.

Two types of locks are available for deadbolts. One has a key lock on the outside and a turn lock on the inside. With this type of deadbolt, you must have a key to enter, but a simple twist of the knob or bar will unlock the door from the inside.

The second type of deadbolt uses a key lock on both sides of the door.

If you are in a questionable area, it is best to have this type of deadbolt installed. This keeps someone from breaking a glass from the door and reaching through and unlocking the deadbolt. However, it can also make it much more difficult to exit the building in an emergency if the key is not readily available. If you have anyone who is impaired in any way, this might not be the right option for you.

Always follow the directions for the precise type of deadbolt that you are installing.

There are enough consistencies to the construction of deadbolts that a general set of guidelines with minor adjustments can help you install them correctly. The basics of installing a deadbolt are to create a hole through the door from front to back, create another hole from the side to the opening through the door, a final opening into the jamb, and assemble and attach the hardware.

Determine the correct location for the lock on the door.

Consult the directions and mark the spot where the deadbolt should be located in relation to the edge of the door. It has to be close enough to allow the throw to pass from the locking mechanism to the edge of the door when it is unlocked. If you are unsure about this distance, measure the distance from the center of the device to the tip of the throw in the unlocked position. Mark this approximate spot on both sides of the door in pencil.

Decide the level that the deadbolt to rest on the door from the floor.

Measure this distance and find where this line meets with the mark made previously from the edge of the door. This is the spot where you will center the hole for the deadbolt mechanism to pass through the door.

Use a circle bit the diameter of the needed hole to drill through the door.

This is the type of bit that is used to drill through a door when installing a door knob. Some of these come in fixed sizes, or you can buy on that be adjusted for variable sizes. Either use the size recommended by the manufacturer or measure the distance across the internal locking mechanism that has to fit inside the hole to get the exact size of the opening. If you have to go through metal, you will need to consult a home store for the best product to cut through the type of metal plating that is on your door.

Mark a level line from the closest point of this new circle to the edge of the door.

This end of this line will mark the spot where you will drill the hole from the edge of the door through to the opening that you just created. Center the bit on the edge of the door and drill a level hole. Be careful to keep the hole centered from side to side its entire length. The size of this hole will either be the size recommended for your deadbolt or a millimeter or so larger than the diameter of the throw on the deadbolt.

Use this hole as a guide and mark the precise place where you will need to drill into the door jamb.

Using the same bit that you just used to drill through the edge of the door, drill deep enough into the door jamb for the throw to be able to slide into entirely when the deadbolt is locked. This can be a depth from about one inch up to about two inches.

From inside the large circle, slide the throw of the deadbolt into the door.

Attach the two sides of the deadbolt with the appropriate pins and connectors going through the throw. Screw the deadbolt together to attach it to the door. Spin the lock a few times to make sure that it works freely and easily without a lot of pressure.

Fasten the metal plates to the edge of the door and the door jamb.

Make sure that the screws go straight in and make a good solid attachment. Use longer screws into the door and jamb than are provided with the new deadbolt if your door and jamb will support them. These screws are a vital part of your deadbolt’s security. If everything is functioning and seems solid, your installation is complete. Make sure that the key will unlock the deadbolt without having to be twisted with a lot of force.

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