How to Replace a Doorknob: Turns Out, There Are Only 6 Steps

by Michael Franco
removing a doorknob with a screwdriver

There are a few reasons why you might want to replace a doorknob. For one, like anything else in your home, doorknobs don’t last forever. Typically, a doorknob is no longer functional when the spring in the latch mechanism breaks, preventing the door from staying shut. Instead of trying to repair a broken doorknob, you can simply replace it with a new one.

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But even if your doorknobs are in good working order, replacing your doorknobs can be a budget-friendly way to upgrade the look and feel of your home. Luckily, the job is a fairly easy task that only requires a screwdriver and about 30 minutes.

So, whether your doorknob is worn out, outdated, or simply not in sync with the decor of your home, replacing it is a quick and easy task that can instantly elevate a room.

Ready to get started? Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to remove an old doorknob and replace it with a new one.

Step 1: Remove the Existing Knob

Most doorknobs have two screws in the faceplate. Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the screws and then pull the knob and faceplate from the door. There’s a chance the existing doorknob might not have any visible screws. In that case, look for a small hole on the stem of the knob and insert a paper clip. If it’s large enough, you can use a flathead screwdriver. In any case, press the latch inside the hole, and the knob should disengage.

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Step 2: Unscrew and Remove the Latch

Once you’ve unscrewed the faceplate screws or pressed the latch, pull the knobs on both ends until they come away from the base. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the latch plate from the door, allowing you to slide the latch bolt out from the edge of the door. Finally, unscrew the strike plate from the door jamb and remove it.

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Step 3: Check the ‘Backseat’

Before installing a new latch, make sure your new doorknob has the correct “backseat” as the one that you removed. The doorknob’s backseat refers to the distance from the edge of the door to the center of the doorknob hole. Although most doorknobs have a standard backseat of 2 3/4 or 2 3/8 inches, you’ll want to be sure that your new doorknob matches this backseat before continuing. Typically, you’ll see a stamped number somewhere on the latch. Failing that, bring your old latch with you to a home improvement store when you purchase a new one, and you should be able to locate the correct replacement.

Step 4: Install the New Latch

Install your new latch into the side of the door, making sure that you’ve oriented it so that it matches the direction of the door swing. Do this by making sure that the flat side of the bolt is facing toward the inside of the room. When the latch has been inserted correctly, line up the existing screw holes on the door with the holes on the latch and insert and tighten the two latch screws. Then, take the new strike plate and attach it to the door frame in the same location as the previous strike plate.

Step 5. Attach a Faceplate

If your new doorknob comes with a faceplate, you’ll want to attach that to the door before installing the interior doorknob. The faceplate is the flat part of the knob assembly that runs flush to the door and covers the hole in the door. Align the faceplate with the holes in the exterior knob and insert screws into the holes. The external knob on the opposite side should have a bar that extends through the faceplate. Take your replacement knob and, aligning it with the bar, slide it into place. Note that you may have to twist the knob back and forth a bit in order for it to lock in place.

Step 6. Install the New Knob

Start by pushing the external knob through the newly installed latch. The external knob is typically the one with three bars connected to it. Line the bars up with the holes on the inside of the latch. Push the knob through the holes until the knob is flush with the door.

Once the external doorknob has been installed, connect the remaining doorknob to the other side of the door. The bars from the external doorknob will poke into the holes on the interior knob, connecting the two doorknobs. Press the interior knob to the door until it’s flush with the door. Then, screw the knob to the door by inserting screws into the holes on the knob.

Enjoy Your New Doorknob

There’s no doubt about it: Replacing doorknobs is one of the simplest ways you can enhance the decor of a room. As you can see, it’s easy, straightforward and, depending on the type of doorknob you purchase, pretty budget-friendly as well. Plus, you’ll get self-satisfaction knowing that you completed the task yourself and didn’t have to rely on a handyman to do the job for you.

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