How to Change a Door Lock in 5 Steps

Changing your locks might seem like a hassle, but situations will inevitably arise where you’ll want to change them out. Whether you part ways with roommates, lose your keys, or experience a break-in, it’s best to be proactive about changing your locks so you can control who has access to your home.

In most cases you can replace your door locks on your own without much trouble. Standard deadbolts come with the lock, which fits together from either side of the door, and the latch, which houses the actual deadbolt that extends to the door frame when you lock the door.

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How to change a door lock without a professional locksmith

1. Measure door lock for dimensions.

Measure door for lock dimensions.

Most new doors are predrilled to fit locks. If you’re replacing a lock, there will be an existing hole that you should measure to make sure your new lock will fit. Otherwise you’ll need to drill new holes in your door.

2. Find a new lock that fits your door.

How to find a lock that fits your door

Door locks aren’t one-size-fits-all, so you’ll want to use your measurements to find a similarly sized replacement. Typically you can shop for the same brand and the sizing will likely be the same. Or you can take a look at our favorite door locks for new options.

3. Insert the new bolt and fasten it with provided screws.

Insert the new bolt and fasten it with provided screws.

Once you’ve chosen a new lock, installation is straightforward. First, slide the bolt into place from the outside edge of the door. When it’s centered, fasten the mounting plate down with the provided screws.

4. Connect the interior and exterior plates.

Connect interior and exterior plates.

Using the two long screws that comes with the lock, connect the exterior plate to the interior base plate. Before you tighten it, make sure the lock cylinder connects properly to the deadbolt. Then use a Phillips or flat head screwdriver to tighten the lock into place.

5. Attach decorative base plate.

Attach decorative base plates

If your lock comes with a decorative base plate, attach it after the lock is in place and everything is working smoothly.

Why we recommend deadbolt locks

Deadbolts are the traditional high-security locks. Door knob locks are fairly secure, but when you add a single or double-cylinder deadbolt above your door knob, you add an extra layer of security that makes the door far more difficult to breach. External doors are often predrilled for deadbolts, making the installation process simpler.

Consider smart door locks

Does keyless entry sound appealing? Or the ability to lock and unlock your doors remotely from an app? Smart door locks can simplify the daily comings and goings to and from your home, including the need to remember your keys. If smart locks sound appealing to you, we have some favorites that stand out against the rest.