Skip to content

How to Replace a Door Lock on a Front Door

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

Our how-to guide provides easy instructions on how to replace a door lock on a front door. Get step-by-step instructions and tips for choosing the right lock.


If you’re ready to replace an old door lock with a new one, then the first thing you need to do is properly prepare for the replacement process. Having the right tools and materials will make the door lock installation much easier. So, make sure you have a basic understanding of home tools, such as a drill and screwdrivers, and the necessary materials, such as wood screws, a latch, and strike plate. In addition, you should also make sure that you have a door lock with the same measurements and functions as the one you are replacing.

Gather necessary tools and materials

Before replacing your door lock, it is important to make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials for the job. Depending on your existing door lock and the replacement option chosen, these items may include: a screwdriver and drill, tape measure, replacement door knob or handle set, new latch system, strike plates and screws. You may also need lubricating oil, lubricating grease and/or silicone spray depending upon the type of material used in your old lock. Finally you will need key blanks that match your current locking system for all sets of keys included with the new lockset.

It is important to make sure that you have exact measurements of all parts; this will help ensure accuracy when it comes time to install the new hardware. Once you’ve identified your requirements, assemble all tools and materials needed before beginning so that everything is handy during the installation process.

Measure the door and the existing lock

Before purchasing a new door lock, it is important to measure your existing lock and make sure the replacement will fit in your current door. The first thing you should do is to measure the thickness of your door. Measure at the top right corner, bottom right corner and then again at the middle. This will provide you with an accurate estimation of how thick your door actually is so you know what size lock to purchase.

Then measure the existing lock on your front door by both height and width. If you are replacing a previous mortise-style lock, you’ll also need to measure its backset, which is both its length and depth from the edge of your door. If you are replacing a standard lever or knob-sets, look for a universal passageway type replacement that suits this measurement on either side of the door lockset.

Removal of Old Lock

Before replacing a door lock on a front door, the first step is to remove the existing lock. This is a crucial step as it ensures that the new lock you install fits properly on the door. For this step, you will need a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a drill, and a new door lock. Let’s go through the steps to remove the old lock.

Unscrew the existing lock

To remove the existing door lock, first use a screwdriver to remove the two screws that hold the door handle/knob in place. Once these screws are removed, you can gently lift away the outer faceplate and inner escutcheon, revealing the cylinder of the lock.

If your existing lock has a thumb-turn cylinder on both sides of the door, you must unscrew both sides. If it is a single cylinder on one side only, then unscrew that side only. Remove any screws or bolts holding it in place and then remove it from its mortise housing. Some locks may require some light lubrication or tapping before they loosen up enough to be removed completely.

Remove the old lock

Before you can replace a door lock on a front door, it is important to first remove the existing old lock. To begin taking the old lock off, you may need to take out the screws located at the edge of the door. There should be two screws (one near the top and another near the bottom) that can easily be taken out with a screwdriver.

Then, insert an Allen key into the hole located on the inside of your door handle. Move it in an up and down motion to make sure that it gets into all of the grooves properly. Push in gently until you feel it pop out; this should release the handle from its housing so you can take off its entire assembly from your door. It is important to remember that some locks have additional pins for security purposes, which will require specific tools or a professional locksmith for adequate removal.
Once all of these steps have been completed, your old lock should be removed from your front door and ready for replacing.

Installing the New Lock

Installing a new lock on your front door is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished in just a few steps. The first step is to make sure you have the right tools for the job, such as a Phillips screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver, a drill, a measuring tape, and a replacement lock. Once you have these items, you can follow the steps below to successfully install the new lock.

Place the new lock in the door

Once you have the measurements and have chosen a compatible replacement lock, you’re ready to install it. Start by placing the new lock inside the door and lining up the holes in the lock with the existing holes drilled in the door. Secure the dead-bolt into place by tightening all of the screws that come with it. If necessary, use a drill to create new holes for additional screws that came with your replacement lock. Make sure all of your screws are tightened firmly. Once everything is secure, push against your replacement lock from both sides of your door to ensure that it won’t move or wobble when engaged.

Drill the necessary holes

Before you begin removing the old door lock, take a few minutes to ensure that you have all the necessary pieces and parts to complete the job. This includes screws, plugs, drills and drill bits. In most cases, you’ll need at least four holes for your lock which will allow for two screws on either side of the borehole. Using your drill, start by pre-drilling holes using a small bit size (1-2mm). Work out from the center of the baton ensuring that your holes are perfectly round and free from burring. Once pre-drilled, switch to a slightly larger bit size and make sure not to exceed this size as too big a hole can weaken the joinery around it leaving your door vulnerable. For metal doors be sure to check that the fixings are appropriate for use with them as metal has limited holding power for most screws and fittings. If installing in a wooden door use either woodscrews or coach bolts as these will provide greater strength than regular screws.

Secure the new lock

Installing a new door lock on your front door is an effective way to increase security and reduce the risk of a home invasion. Before you begin, you will need to make sure that the new lock will fit your existing door. To do this, take the door and lock measurements and compare them with those provided in the installation guide or by the manufacturer. Once you are sure that they are compatible, then you can begin installation.

Secure the new lock:
Place one side of the latch in place on one side of the round hole in your front door, then turn it so that it aligns with bolt holes along either side of the round hole. You will then need to secure it by placing two large screws through both sides of your rounded hole and into the latch plate screw holes. Make sure that both screws firmly engage into solid wood before fully tightening them. This will help ensure that your new lock is stable and secure when installed.


Once the installation of the new door lock is complete, it is important to finish the job properly. This includes cleaning up any debris or dust, tightening the screws and bolts, and replacing the strike plate. You may also want to test the new lock to make sure it Break Open smoothly and functions correctly. In this section, we will discuss how to finish replacing your door lock efficiently and correctly.

Test the new lock

Now that you have installed your new lock, it’s time to test it out. Check that the lock works in both directions, from both the inside and the outside of the door. Try turning the key both ways until you are certain it is working properly. Ensure that when you unlock it from the outside with a key, you can open it from the inside without having to use a key.

Next, check to make sure there is no excess play in either direction when operating the latch or deadbolt. If there is too much movement in either one of them, it could become difficult for them to stay locked when someone tries to jiggle them open from outside.

Finally, make sure your new lock does not rub against any other part of door hardware like its handle or hinges when operated. If even a small amount of rubbing occurs it could be difficult for the latch or deadbolt to fully engage or unlock and cause potential security issues over time.

Adjust the latch as needed

Once you have securely fixed the new lock into place, you need to adjust the latch as needed. Resetting the latch is an important step because it will ensure that when your door is closed, the deadbolt engages with the strike plate properly. The strike plate is a metal bracket affixed to the frame of your door frame, and engages with the deadbolt when your door is closed.

To adjust the latch, use a screwdriver to turn clockwise or counterclockwise. If when your door is shut and you can still see a gap between the deadbolt and strike plate, this means that you need to adjust it clockwise so that it shifts forward until there is no gap visible and your door locks firmly in place. In contrast if you find that your door does not lock at all when shut then this means you need to turn counterclockwise so that it shifts back until there isn’t play or extra space between them. If after repeated adjustments of turning either way, there still isn’t any improvement then please reach out for help from a qualified professionals such as a locksmith or home improvement expert.

Clean up the area

Before finishing the job, it is important to clean up the area. Use a damp rag to clean up any dust and debris, such as sawdust, shavings and screws. Check that the screws are securely fastened in place and that there are no gaps or unevenness in the handle. If necessary, fill in any gaps with wood putty or caulk. Check that all of your tools are put away properly so that you do not hurt yourself when working on the next project. Finally, take a few moments to step back and admire your work!

How to Replace a Door Lock on a Front DoorCheckout this video:

Share this Article