How to Install a Lockset
A step-by-step guide from This Old House master carpenter Norm Abram
Whether you're planning a major renovation or looking for a quick face-lift, changing the locksets on the doors in your home can make a substantial—but subtle—statement about you. Locksets come in a wide array of styles and finishes, but they all work the same and they're fairly simple to install yourself.
If you're buying several keyed locks, and don't want a pocketful of different keys, have a locksmith re-key all locks of the same brand to use the same key. If you're mixing brands, check with the locksmith—some can be keyed alike, some can't.
Here, This Old House master carpenter Norm Abram shows how to install a lockset. If you're replacing a lockset or installing a new one in a pre-drilled door, the installation shouldn't take more than 15 or 20 minutes. If you need to drill the holes, give yourself an hour or two.
Installing a Lockset
The two important variables when installing a lockset are the height of the knob above the finish floor and the backset—the distance from the center of the knob to the near edge of the door. Most knobs are positioned a comfortable 36 or 38 inches above the floor; check the height of other knobs in the house and keep it consistent.
Backset typically measures 2 3/8 inches for interior doors and 2 3/4 inches for exterior doors. The point at which the knob height and the backset measurements intersect represents the center of the face bore, the circular hole that houses the lockset. A second hole, the edge bore, contains the latch assembly Most locksets come with a cardboard template to help align the two bores. Check the template for the lock's bore diameters and choose drill bits accordingly.