How to Replace a Deadbolt Lock

How to Replace a Deadbolt Lock

Changing the deadbolt yourself can save money and secure your door fast

By Vance Holloman

Smiling woman using a screwdriver on a door lock
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Replacing the deadbolts in your home can be a good idea for several reasons such as lost or stolen keys, different keys for different locks, broken locks or just updating your locks. To replace a deadbolt lock, you will need to remove the old one and then install the new one in its place. Deadbolts consist of two halves: an interior and exterior half. The exterior half is the half that goes on the outside of the door and receives the key.

  • What You Need to Know
  • You will need two basic screwdrivers to remove a deadbolt lock: a Phillips screwdriver and a flat-head screwdriver. Because the interior mechanical parts of a deadbolt may be greasy, keep a clean rag handy to wipe your hands and spread a small drop cloth on the floor in your work area.

Step 1:

Locate the screw heads on the deadbolt lock. They are found on side of the deadbolt inside the house. Open the door and place a hand on the front side of the deadbolt to prevent it from falling. An assistant will come in hand here to help hold the lock while you are removing the screws.

Step 2:

Unscrew the two screws holding the deadbolt in place using a Phillips screwdriver and remove the inside half of the deadbolt. This should leave the retaining plate exposed.

Step 3:

Remove the two screws from the retaining plate that hold the exterior half of the deadbolt to the door. After detaching the exterior half of the lock, remove the retaining plate. Most of these plates will fall off when the deadbolt screws are removed, but a few varieties are screwed into the door and the screws will need to be removed.

Step 4:

Unscrew the two screws that fasten the bolt in place on the side of the door and remove the bolt.

Step 5:

Insert the new bolt in the bolt hole and fasten it by screwing in the two screws that hold it in place. Use a flathead screwdriver and insert it into the slot in the bolt inside of the lock hole in the door and extend the bolt.

Step 6:

Place the front side of the new deadbolt in place, making sure that the tailpiece passes through the slot in the bolt.

Step 7:

Place the retaining plate on the other side of the door and insert the provided screws through the retaining plate and into the exterior half of the lock.

Step 8:

Install the interior half of the deadbolt by sliding it over the tailpiece protruding from the exterior half of the lock and screw it to the retaining plate.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Wear well-fitting gloves to protect your hands and fingers from scratches and gouges from the sharp metal edges of the deadbolt lock.
  • Remove the lock when the door is in an upright position. It's easier that way, than when the door is off its hinges.
  • Purchase the same type of deadbolt with the same measurements in order to use the existing door holes.

About the Author

Vance Holloman is a residential contractor; his writing is based on two decades in the construction industry.

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