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How to install front door handles

You may need to install a front door handle or replace an old door handle that’s no longer fit for purpose. Sometimes, you might simply want to upgrade the aesthetics of your front door by choosing a replacement handle.

If you have never fitted a door handle or door hardware before or, even if you have some experience, this helpful step-by-step guide will outline everything you need to know about front door handles. When install a door handle yourself, always check the product manual before you start and handle any tools with caution. Some front door handles may require a professional to install them.

Why would you need to replace or install a door handle?

There are several reasons why a new handle may be a necessity or a choice:

  • To improve the aesthetics of your home or the door itself
  • The door handle is broken and no longer functioning properly
  • You have bought a new uPVC front door
  • You have modified the exterior of your home and the old door handle no longer blends with the new style

When you decide to upgrade the exterior of your property, whether it is a full makeover, only the door itself, the door lock, or just the handle, you may need to a choose a new handle for your front door.

There are many different styles and varieties of door handle that can give your house a chic and sleek appearance. In the case that the door handle no longer works and s worn to the point that it no longer functions, a new door handle is essential.

Is it possible to install a door handle on every type of front door?

Different doors will require different types of handles or doorknobs and this will often be dictate by the previous handle as you will want to cover any holes left by the removal of the previous handle. You may find that certain manufacturers also include specific parts, such as square and rounded plates, to ensure that your new handle is compatible with the existing door.

What tools will you need?

The main tools that you will require in order to successfully install your new door handle are:

  • The new door handle kit
  • A deadbolt kit (although this may come included with your handle)
  • A powerdrill with countersink bit
  • Electric flathead screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Woodblock
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Chisel

Of course, these items may vary slightly depending on the model of door handle you choose, but these tend to be the standard items that you can use to successfully fit the new handle.

How to remove the old handle

Before you can fit the new handle, if you are replacing an existing handle on your current front door, then you will need to remove the old handle.

Step 1: Remove the screws

Begin with removing the screws from the faceplate. You can find this behind the door handle on the outside of your front door. Remove any mounting screws from the exterior, using either your drill or your electric screwdriver. When you have completed this, turn to the interior of the door and remove any screws from the lever.

Step 2: Remove the levers

If you are fitting the door handle alone, use one hand to grasp the interior level. If you have someone helping you, you can ask them to hold it for you. Using the other hand, take hold of the exterior lever and gradually work them apart in order to ensure they are separate. Once they have sufficiently loosened, pull them away from the door.

Step 3: Remove the latch plate

Remove any screws that are keeping the faceplate of the latch assembly attached to the door and prise it away from the door. The latch cylinder should also come out when you remove the plate.

Step 4: Remove jamb plate

Unscrew the screws that secure the strike plate to the door jamb and the plate should easily come away from the door.

How to install your new door handle

Once you have removed your old handle and you have your new door handle kit, then you are ready to fix it to the front door.

Step 1: Install the latch

Firstly, you should slide the latch assembly into the borehole that’s on the door’s edge, ensuring that the bolt is in the right direction. The latch bolt’s curved edge should be facing the strike plate when the door is shut. Using the screws that are provided as part of your assembly kit, secure the faceplate to the door.

Step 2: Install the outside handle

To attach the outside handle to the door, insert the axle or the spindle through the latch cylinder at a 90-degree angle. Ensure that the new handle is lined up with any holes from the previous handle to maximise the aesthetics and functionality of the new handle. Do not use the screws to attach the outside faceplate to the door at this point as you should wait until you have also installed the interior handle before doing so.

Step 3: Install inside handle

Attach the inside lever or knob to the inside of the door and connect it to the exterior handle. As the outside and inside handles join together, you should feel that they are well-fitted together. Once they are joined, insert the screws through the inside faceplate and tighten them using your electric screwdriver. At this point, you can also secure the exterior faceplate with screws.

Step 4: Install deadbolt

When you are ready to install the door lock, secure your latch bolt to the upper cross bore, making sure it is correctly positioned, and then secure the faceplate with screws. Finally, install the deadbolt mechanisms on the interior and exterior of the door.

Step 5: Install strike plates

Using screws, secure the strike plate to the door jamb inside the mortise.

Step 6: Test handle

Once your handle is fully installed, test it to ensure that it works and runs smoothly. Close the door to make sure that there is no sticking or binding when it closes. If you do find that it sticks, check to see if the latch bolt and the hole that is in the strike plate, then you will need to remove the strike plate.

You can use a chisel to extend the mortise so that the bolt and the strike plate line up. When you have done this, you can reattach the strike plate and retest the door. Additionally, ensure that the door lock works smoothly and correctly and you have now fitted your new handle.

If you find that the handle cannot be fixed or replaced, you may need to enlist the help of a professional, or you may need to consider a new front door.

To find out more about buying a new front door and the options available to you, please contact our team of experts today.