How to change a doorknob

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Whether they’re too stiff or too loose or just too worn and outdated, door knobs are something you can easily replace yourself. This makes them a quick make over element when you are not sure if you want to commit to a full home renovation.

First things first, get a solid doorknob. When looking for a new door knob, look beyond the style. Choose something sturdy that will hold up to regular use and even some abuse. Keep in mind that some doorknobs don’t have a privacy lock, so, check the type of doorknob you want and make sure to get the right one. Buy a doorknob with a pawl (a pawl is the door “tongue” that makes the door click) the same length as the one you are replacing (sometimes, they are adjustable). Lastly, it is important to consider if you are buying a round knob or a knob with a handle, if it has a handle, then check to make sure if it is a left or right handed handle.

Remove the two screws on the face plate. Turn screwdriver counterclockwise to remove.

Remove the two screws on the knob plate. The handles will come loose, so be prepared for both sides to fall. If they don’t fall off on their own, give them a little tug. Pull the handles off both sides.

Push the faceplate and pawl out through the opening.

Loosen the two screws on the strike plate and remove the strike plate. The strike plate may need some prying to come off (as usually gets painted on), so use a flat screwdriver or a knife to take it out.

Sometimes doorknobs come with your choice of face plates. You can replace the face plate by pulling it off with a flat-blade screwdriver. Select the face plate that fits your door better.

Compare the size of the new strike plate and pawl mechanisms with the holes in your door and door jamb. If necessary, use a hammer and a chisel to adjust the size of the openings in the door and door jamb.

Push the new pawl mechanism and face plate into the door. Make sure the pawl faces the way the door will close, so the slanted side will meet the strike plate. Pushing with your hands should work. If this doesn’t work, you may have to use a drill to make the hole a bit larger. Another option is to place a block of wood against the face plate and tap on the block of wood with a hammer.

Screw down the pawl mechanism, making sure it is as level as possible.

Insert the handles into the door so that the square peg fits through the square opening and the screw holes align with the threaded cylinders on the other side. Verify that the levers and locks face the right directions.

Insert and tighten the screws that hold the handle.

Install the strike plate.

Check that everything fits and closes properly, and make any necessary adjustments.

Congratulations, you just installed a door knob! In case you had some doubts, check out the video below and see how it’s done.

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