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The outline of a door bolt being marked into a door for drilling holes

Overview

Installing a door handle is a relatively easy DIY project. Watch our step-by-step guide and learn how to make sure the handles are at the right height, how to safely drill holes in the door and how to chisel out the recesses so that the door's hardware sits flush.

Steps

1Measure the height for the door handle

There are a number of ways to work out the height for your door handle. You can measure the height of the handles on the other doors in the house and use that. Alternatively, you can read the instructions that come with the door handle kit and use that height.  Or you can use the standard height for a handle, which is 1050mm off the floor. After deciding the height of your door handle, measure and mark it on the side of the door. Before you start installing the door handle, place a door wedge under the door to stop it from moving while you're working. Move the wedge as you change the side of the door you're working on.

Using a tape measure to mark out a spot to drill into a door

2Mark where the door handle will go

Use the template provided in the door handle kit to mark where you will be drilling. Line the template up with the mark you've made for the height of the door handle. Mark on the template where you will drill holes in the side and front of the door. Repeat this process to mark where you will drill on the other side of the door.
Using the marker guide provided with the doorhandle to mark the drilling position

3Drill pilot holes in the door

Use a 2mm drill bit to drill pilot holes in the door where you marked on the front, back and side of the door, using the template. Before you drill, make sure you are square to the door. Don't drill right through the door as this might cause the wood on the opposite side to splinter. 
Drilling into a door to make way for a door handle

4Drill into the pilot holes

Before starting this next step, read the instructions in the door handle kit, every kit may be slightly different.  After drilling the pilot holes, insert a larger drill bit in the cordless drill.  Use this to make all of the pilot holes on the front, back and side of the door larger. Don't let the drill bit go through the other side of the door because it can make the wood splinter.

Drilling into a door from the other side to make way for a door handle

5Drill a hole for the spindle

Attach the 25mm spade bit to the cordless drill. Make sure the door is properly wedged and won't move, drill the spade bit into the centre hole on the front of the door. Repeat this drilling process on the other side of the door. These holes are where the spindle for the door handle will be inserted.

A power drill being used to create a cavity in a door for a door handle

6Drill a hole for the barrel

Using the spade bit in your cordless drill, make a hole in the side of the door. This is where the barrel will be inserted. Before you start drilling, make sure you are square to the side of the door, so that the hole that you drill is at the correct angle.

A power drill being used to create a cavity in a door for a door handle

7Mark around the faceplate

Insert the latch from the door handle into the hole you've drilled in the side of the door. Use a pencil to draw around the faceplate. Remove the latch and faceplate from the door. Use a sharp utility knife to cut around the outline of the faceplate.


The outline of a door bolt being marked into a door for drilling holes

8Chisel out a hole for the latch

Use the sharp chisel and the hammer to chisel out a hole for the latch. The cuts made with the utility knife are your guidelines as to where to stop chiselling. Also, chisel inside the hole for the latch to fit. Insert the latch into the side of the door to see if its faceplate sits flush to the door. If it doesn't, chisel some more until it does sit flush.

A hammer and chisel being used to enlarge a cavity in a door for a door handle

9Attach the latch to the door

Insert the latch into the side of the door. With a 2mm drill bit, drill pilot holes where the screws will attach the latch to the door. Use the cordless drill to drill in the two screws at the top and bottom of the latch.

A door bolt being screwed into place with a power drill

10Install the striker plate

To work out where to install the striker plate, almost close the door and mark on the door frame, where the middle of the barrel is. Hold the striker plate against the door frame, so that it's in the centre of the latch. Mark the top and bottom of the striker plate on the door frame. 

An outline being drawn around a door latch onto a door frame for later drilling

11Drill a hole for the striker plate

Using the mark where the middle of the barrel is, drill a pilot hole in the centre on the inside of the door frame. Then attach the 25mm spade bit to the cordless drill and drill into the pilot hole.

A cavity being cut into a doorframe for a door latch

12Draw around the striker plate

Hold the striker plate up against the hole you drilled on the inside of the doorframe. Line it up with the top and bottom lines you drew on the side of the door frame. Use a pencil to draw around the striker plate. Remove the striker plate from the door. Use the utility knife to cut around the outline of the striker plate.

13Chisel the recess for the striker plate

After cutting around the outline of the striker plate, use the sharp chisel and the hammer to chisel out a recess for the striker plate. The cuts made with the utility knife are your guidelines for where to stop chiselling. Insert the striker plate into the recess to make sure it sits flush. If it doesn't, chisel out some more wood.

A hammer and chisel being used to enlarge the cavity cut out of the door frame

14Attach the striker plate

Hold the striker plate against the inside of the door frame. Using a 2mm drill bit, make two pilot holes for the screws to attach the striker plate. Then use the cordless drill to secure the two screws at the top and bottom of the striker plate.

A door latch being drilled into place on a door frame

15Attaching the handles

Remove the faceplates from the two handles. Insert the two grub screws into the smaller holes in the door and insert the bolt into the larger hole. Put a faceplate on one of the handles but before attaching it, make sure the handle turns in a downward motion. Insert a screw into one of the holes in the faceplate and slip the handle over the barrel, making sure the screw, goes into the grub screw. Tighten the screw. Repeat this procedure to attach the other handle. Tighten the grub screws on both handles. Tighten the screws at the top and bottom of the handle to secure it to the door.

Bolts being positioned in a door for a door handle

16Attach the faceplates

Slide the faceplate over the door handle and snap it into place. Use the allen key provided in the door handle kit to lock and secure the faceplate. In this kit, the hole for the allen key is at the bottom of the faceplate. Repeat this process to attach the other faceplate. When you're done, it's a good idea to check that the door is opening and closing properly.
A fully installed rectangular door handle set into a door

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.