How to Install Door Handles

Updated February 21, 2017

Door handles are available in many varieties to suit the needs of different applications. Some handles are designed as non-latching pulls, while others use levers or knobs with built-in latches. Most door handles are easy to install and require only basic tools. The average DIY homeowner can install a door handle in less than an hour, depending on the complexity of the hardware and the type of door in use.

Use pull handles for operating doors that do not need latches. These handles are commonly found on closets and kitchen doors. They are surface-mounted, using screws or bolts.

Determine whether the handle is designed to be fastened through the door or just on the surface. If you see visible screw holes on the plate around the handle, the unit is surface-mounted. If there are no screw holes, the handle is meant to be fastened through the back of the door.

Decide where you will install the handle and mark the locations for screw holes. Pre-drill these holes using a bit that is one size smaller than the screws or fasteners. Hold surface-mounted handles on the face of the door and insert screws through any screw holes you see. For through-bolted handles, insert the connecting rods through the pre-drilled holes and hold the handle flush to the door. From the other side of the door, screw the included washers or plugs to the connecting rods.

Use levers and knobs when you want a door to stayed latched or locked. If you simply want the door to stay closed, but do not want it to lock, select a passage set. If you want the door to lock, choose handles with built-in cylinders.

Open the lock package and remove the paper template from inside. Tape or stick this template to the door at the location indicated on the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Drill holes for the handle as indicated on the template. Use a hole saw on wood doors, or a bimetal hole saw on metal doors. Pre-drill any screw holes that are shown on the template as well. Be sure to create these holes on both the surface and edge of the door as needed.

Place the interior side of the handle set into the hole you drilled in Step 3. Align the connecting rods and spindle with the appropriate openings on the exterior side of the lockset. Press the two sides together until they are tight to the door. Install set screws on the interior side of the handle as indicated on the template or instructions.

Use the template to determine the location of the strike on the door frame. Use a hole saw to create a hole for the latch. Chisel out a pocket for the strike plate. Screw the strike plate in place, using the included fasteners. Test the door to confirm it is operational. Remove the templates to complete the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Door handles
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Chisel
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.