Skip to content

How to Replace a Front Door Lock with a Keyed Deadbolt

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

If your front door doesn’t have a deadbolt, it’s time to upgrade the lock. Learn how to replace a front door lock with a keyed deadbolt in this easy-to-follow guide.


Preparing to replace a front door lock with a keyed deadbolt is the most important part of the process. Before beginning, you need to ensure you have all the right tools and supplies, such as a power drill, an appropriate size drill bit, a jigsaw, a chisel, a level, a hammer, a tape measure, and a screwdriver. You also need to make sure the door and area surrounding the lock is clear of any furniture or other objects that could get in the way. Finally, you will need to measure the area where the door lock will be going to make sure you get the proper size replacement. With the right preparation, the process of replacing your front door lock will be much smoother.

Gather the necessary tools

There are several important tools that you need to have on hand before beginning this project. Measuring tape, pencil and marking compass, a power drill and drill bits, hacksaw or reciprocating saw (for cutting through the door frame if needed), flathead screwdriver, Phillips-head screwdriver, adjustable wrench or pipe wrench (for tightening the deadbolt body into the hole in the door) and keyed deadbolt set with screws. Additionally, you may also need masking tape to temporarily protect the door’s surface from scratches, a level for making sure that the mortise jamb is level with the doorknob housing plate, an Allen wrench (the one included with some keyed deadbolt sets), wire stripper (if the new deadbolt runs on electricity), and slot punch knife or chisel (if there is no existing mortise slot).

Measure the door and the new deadbolt

When you’ve purchased a deadbolt that meets your security needs, it’s important to ensure the new lock will fit properly. Measure the door easily using a tape measure and document the measurements. Be sure to measure from the edge of the door to the center of the bore hole where you plan to place your deadbolt inside.

Record these measurements and take them with you when selecting a replacement door lock. You may also want to take an existing key or a key blank with you, as many locks come with keys but not all locks do and it can save time and money if your replacement lock works with your current key! If necessary, you can always use a different key blank than what came with your lock when it is replaced, but that requires extra work when reinstalling door locks.

Removal of the Old Lock

When replacing a front door lock with a new keyed deadbolt, the first step is to remove the existing lock. This is often accomplished by unscrewing the two faceplate screws that secure the lock. Once these screws are removed, you should be able to pull the lock from the door and take it off. Make sure to note any specific instructions that came with the new lock before beginning the removal process.

Unscrew the old lock

Before you begin to install a new keyed deadbolt, you will need to remove your old lock. Start by unscrewing the two screws that hold the lock in place on the inside of the door. If your old lock is designed with a removable case, such as a mortise lock, then use your screwdriver to remove any remaining screws so you can slide the bolt out of its slot on the door edge. Once all mounting components have been removed from the door jamb, gently pull out the deadbolt and lever assembly, being careful not to damage any parts that may be attached to it, such as interior trim strips or linkages. With all loose parts laid aside in their appropriate places, you are now ready to begin installing your new keyed deadbolt.

Remove the old lock from the door

Removing the old lock from the door is an important first step in replacing a front door lock with a keyed deadbolt. Before taking any further steps, be sure the door is completely closed and that no tension exists between the doorknob and the frame. To remove the old lock, you’ll need a screwdriver, either Phillips head or flat head depending on what type of screws were used to secure it to the door.

Gently unscrew all visible screws until they are just barely hanging onto your old lock. Make sure not to unscrew them completely as you will need them when installation of your new deadbolt begins. Once all of the screws have been loosened but not removed, take hold of both sides of the old knob and pull firmly towards you from inside your home until it dislodges from its location within your entryway. Be careful not to let go too quickly after it’s come free, as many times parts can remain lodged inside that are necessary for full removal. With patience and gentle maneuvering, these will come free with minimum effort; if not, simply use a flathead screwdriver to help pry them loose from their location in your doorway frame or jamb.

Installation of the Deadbolt

Replacing your existing front door lock with a keyed deadbolt is a relatively straightforward process. Before you start, make sure you have the right size deadbolt and the right tools for the job. You will also need to ensure that the deadbolt you purchased is the correct size for your door. You’ll also want to make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before beginning the installation process.

Install the new deadbolt

Installing a keyed deadbolt adds extra security to your front door. While the procedure is straightforward and simple, it can be time-consuming if you are not familiar with the process. For successful installation, it is important to pay attention to detail and follow the given steps carefully.

Start by reading through all the product instructions before beginning any work. Most deadbolts come with precise instructions for installation for a particular door size, so it’s important that you select the right one for your needs. Once you have read all guidelines, unscrew the old lock from both sides of the door with a Phillips screwdriver and remove it from the door jamb.

Securely attach one half of the deadbolt installation kit on one side of your door using screws provided, making sure that its faceplate aligns precisely with those of adjoining hinges or other hardware on either side of it. Next, slide in new latch bolt into position, feeding end screws through both sides of door frame into strike plate. Use a drill to connect these two parts and then attach keepers at strategic points on each side of lock as indicated in instruction manual that came with product package. Finally, fit other component of kit onto opposing edge and secure using same method (drill & screws). Check that lockset operates correctly before replacing existing trim piece over existing hole and use wood glue to fill any gaps left between trim piece and newly fitted deadbolt securing device tightly together.

Secure the mounting plate

Now that you have the deadbolt installed into the hole, make sure that it is positioned properly and move to secure the mounting plate. This plate attaches to the door and helps keep the deadbolt aligned and in place. Start by using screws to attach it to the inside surface of your door. These screws will help lock the plate into place, providing stability for your new deadbolt. Make sure they are tight and check your work once again that all pieces are properly secured in place.

Finishing Touches

After you have installed your new front door lock, there are a few finishing touches you should do to ensure you have a secure lock. You want to make sure you have the correct screws for the job, that the lock is securely attached in the door and that you have a keyed deadbolt as opposed to a regular deadbolt. In this section, we’ll go over some of the key finishing touches you should take to make sure your front door lock is secure.

Install the strike plate

The strike plate is a metal rectangular plate that attaches to the door’s frame. It should be large enough to accommodate the deadbolt’s bolt when it is extended. Place the strike plate on the door frame where you previously marked its location; then, use a screwdriver and screws to secure it. Be sure to position the strike plate so that when you slide in the deadbolt’s bolt, it extends into the center of the opening. If you are replacing an existing strike plate, make sure you use a larger one than your old one for optimal support of your new keyed deadbolt.

Test the lock

Once the deadbolt has been fully installed, secure the door in the closed position. This can be done by inserting a piece of wood at the bottom of the door in order to keep it closed. With your key, turn the thumb turn or rotate the cylinder side to side so that it stops in a locked position. Open and close your door several times with your key and make sure it is engaging each time you do so. If everything is working correctly, you can now remove any wood pieces keeping your door closed and enjoy your new lock.

Make any necessary adjustments

You may need to make some minor adjustments for a perfect fit. Once the strike plate is in place, close the door and check that it is keeping the latch in place. You may need to adjust the height of the cylinder by loosening or tightening two sets of screws on either side of the door knob. The screws will be located inside the levers on either side and might require a screwdriver or Allen key to remove.

After adjusting the screws, retry your new deadbolt lock to see if it fits correctly and provides a secure locking mechanism that keeps your home safe from intruders. Make sure any adjustments are accurate and secure before using your lock. New locks should also be routinely lubricated with WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil for efficient function over time.

How to Replace a Front Door Lock with a Keyed DeadboltCheckout this video:

Share this Article