How to Fit a Door Handle

Updated April 17, 2017

A door handle is like the jewellery of a door; the door isn't fully dressed until it has a door handle fitted on. You can easily fit a door handle yourself in a new door with a few simple tools and a basic door handle. You will need to make holes to house the latch body and both sides of the handle. It takes about an hour to fit the handle, so make sure no one needs to use the door during that time.

Drill a hole in the narrow edge side of the door with a power drill at the level at which you want the handle to be placed. This hole will accommodate the latch body, housing the latch that keeps the door closed.

Use a flat bit that is very slightly bigger than the diameter of the latch body. This will allow you to make a hole that will house the latch nicely.

Place the latch plate over the hole on the door. The hole in the latch plate should line up with the hole in the door.

Trace the shape of the plate with a pencil onto the side of the door.

Use a chisel to remove the wood within the latch plate tracing. Make the area as deep as the latch plate is thick.

Hold the latch body against the inside of the door so it is level with where it will be when inserted into the hole in the side of the door.

Trace the spindle hole in the latch body onto the inside of the door. The spindle hole is the hole the door handle will go through to control the latch.

Drill into the mark you made for the spindle hole, going through the inside and exterior sides of the door. Make the hole big enough to accommodate the spindle of the door handle.

Insert the latch body into the hole in the side of the door and secure it in place by screwing the latch plate to the door. Use a screwdriver and screws.

Slide the door handle and spindle into the hole on the inside of the door so the spindle exits on the outside.

Push the other half of the handle onto the spindle sticking out on the outside of the door.

Attach both sides of the door handle to the door with a screwdriver and screws.

Hold the strike plate against the doorjamb so it is level with the latch plate and trace the inner hole. The strike plate's inner hole is where the latch goes into the doorjamb.

Use the chisel to carve out the traced shape of the inner hole. Make the hole deep enough to house the fully extended latch.

Screw the strike plate to the doorjamb so the hole in the plate and the hole in the doorjamb are lined up.


Set out all of the parts of the door handle before you start so you can make sure everything was included in your purchase.


Work slowly when drilling holes into the door so you don't go too deep or too big, since you can't make the holes smaller.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill
  • Door handle
  • Flat bit
  • Pencil
  • Chisel
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
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About the Author

Based in West Windsor, N.J., Craig Barney has been writing computer- and electronics-related articles since 1990. His articles have appeared in “Wired” and “Ericsson” magazines, and on Barney received the Kim Swiss Award in 2006. He holds a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.