How to Install a Deadbolt

Installing a deadbolt is a quick and easy step that can provide a measure of comfort to you and your family. A deadbolt provides security beyond a normal doorknob. In addition to a second lock a deadbolt can not be pried open (without an extraordinary amount of force) and the doorjamb or the door must literally be broken to open a door closed with a deadbolt. There are two basic types of deadbolts, those that lock with a key from the outside and double keyed deadbolts that lock with a key from both sides.

A deadbolt will come with a template of either paper or plastic to use as a guide for installing the deadbolt. Secure the template against the door with a few pieces of tape. Then a sharp point can be used to pierce the template and mark the door where holes need to be made. Drill appropriate holes by following the manufacturer’s instructions. A good tip is to cover the backside of the door with masking tape to avoid marring the door’s surface or you can drill a small pilot hole and drill the large hole from the front of the door (hiding the marred surface with the faceplate of the deadbolt.

Following the manufacturer’s directions, drill a hole through the edge of the door with a spade bit. Use care to assure that you are drilling a level hole to assure that the deadbolt works smoothly. The bolt will usually be inserted through the edge of the door and the deadbolt itself assembled. Complete all steps per the manufacturer’s directions. A small rasp or file may be used to clean up the inside of the holes for smoother assembly and operation of the deadbolt.

You will need to mark the location on the doorjamb for the strike plate. While this can be done by shutting the door and marking where it falls, another method that is more precise is to use a small amount of paint or chalk on the end of the bolt, shutting the door, and extending the bolt against the doorjamb and letting the paint mark the exact location of the strike. Use a chisel to make the mortise (or hole) into the doorjamb. With an older home, or one with a damaged doorjamb, it may be necessary to add longer screws into the strikeplate to provide added strength to the deadbolt.

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