Whether your door handle is outdated or broken, learn how to replace interior door handles! Follow along with this simple and easy tutorial and update your interior door handle today.
Whether you have a boring factory handle that is outdated, a broken door handle, or an old door handle to replace you’re in luck! As long as you have a screwdriver around there’s no need to call a contractor or your dad. Simply follow along below to learn how to replace interior door handles.
Replacement door handles can be done with only a screwdriver from the hardware store. So follow this step-by-step guide and get that new interior door lock or new interior door knobs swapped out today!
Changing out the door handles is a small, easy, and budget-friendly project that we ALWAYS do during our home renovations.
Before pictures: outdated brass door knobs
In a recent rental property that we renovated, we started with these outdated shiny brass knobs. We instantly knew that just switching those out with something that looks more modern and updated, like the oil-rubbed bronze door handles that we needed would be a big transformation.
Just like switching out the light switch and outlet face plate covers, you’ll be shocked at how much difference it makes to quickly update the space. If you are searching for ways to give your home a new and modern look, give this a try!
This tutorial for how to replace interior door handles contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.
Replacing door knob: video tutorial
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Parts of a door handle: diagram
Since we’re going to be using a lot of terminology in this tutorial, I thought it would be useful for you to see a diagram of all the parts of a door handle so you know what is what.
So I grabbed this picture from the manufacturer’s instructions on the door handle that we are using, which are listed on the product page on Home Depot.
Step 1: Remove the old strike plate from the door frame
Open the door to reveal the striker place (also called strike plate). Use a screwdriver to remove the plate from the door frame, turning counterclockwise to loosen them.
Step 2: Remove the old knob
Most interior door handles are attached the same. Usually, the screws are facing into a room or inside a home. This prevents someone from removing the doorknob and letting themselves in.
Take your Phillips screwdriver and start removing these screws on the old door handle, turning counterclockwise to loosen it.
Be ready to really turn for a while and press hard to remove these screws. Do this part with a closed door to make it easier. Right before both screws come out be sure to open the door is it doesn’t get stuck closed after the handle is removed.
Once your door is cracked open, you can move on to the next step of the door handle replacement. Remove the screws, then pull the old handle off on both sides of the door.
Once the screws are gone, the doorknob should pull off very easily.
Step 3: Remove the old latch
Next, remove the old latch from the inside of the door. The latch might be a little wedged into your door panel. This is normal because of the circular hardware around it.
Just stick your screwdriver into the exposed latch assembly on the side of the door and push the screwdriver forward to push the latch out through the side of the door panel.
Step 4. Add the new strike plate to the door frame
Grab the new strike plate and attach it to the door frame using the wood screws provided with your new handle and your screwdriver.
Keep in mind that the package will include both machine screws and wood screws. The wood screws are the shorter ones with a pointy tip, whereas the machine screws have a blunt end. You’ll use the machine screws in Step 7 when you attach the new door knob, so keep those handy.
Step 5: Put on the right face plate
Most door handles come with two options for face plates for the door handle – a rectangular one and a circular one (called a drive-in collar in the diagram above detailing the door handle parts).
Take a look at the side of the door panel to see which one is the right fit for your door.
Quick tip… if your old door handle had a circular one, you’ll want to use the drive-in collar… if your old door knob had a rectangular face place, use that one.
Put the right face place on the end of the latch on your new door handle. We’re using the circular drive-in collar.
Step 6: Slide the latch into the door
Grab your new latch and slide it into the door.
If using the rectangular face plate, screw that into place using 2 wood screws provided with your new door handle.
If using the circular drive-in collar (like we were), simply push the latch into place. No screws are needed when using the drive-in collar. This just wedges into the door so you can gently tap it in with the butt end of your screwdriver until it is flush.
Lastly, make sure the rounded part of the latch is facing toward the door jamb when the door is closed. If you accidentally put it backward, simply take it out and switch it.
Step 7: Start attaching the door handle
This will be the most frustrating part of this DIY attaching the new door handle because there are a lot of things to hold at once. It can be helpful to have a second person to help with this part if possible.
Take both of the machine screws and pre-screw these slightly into the corresponding holes on the handle, so you don’t have to worry about holding them in place.
Open the door and hold it with your foot at the bottom on the opposite side (unless you have someone helping you – then have them hold the door steady for you).
The exterior side of the door handle is the one with the square pin and 2 screw chambers coming out the backside. Push the exterior side door handle onto the door through the latch mechanism. You’ll need to line up the square pin in the middle of the latch.
Next, you’ll line up the screw chambers through the latch too. If needed, look into the latch on the opposite side of the door to get everything lined up.
Next, take the interior side of the door handle and push it into place.
If your handle has a locking mechanism on it, you may also have to jiggle it a little bit to get everything lined up to push the door handle together correctly.
Have patience here while you gently jiggle it. Holding the door steady helps. Eventually, the door handle will slide together tightly around the door.
Note: Door handle latches are typically made for two different depths into the door. Some door handles are set farther into the door than others. If you find your latch is too deep or shallow, check out the manufacturer’s instructions. In the provided instructions, you’ll find the specific way to change this setting on your latch. Each door handle is a little different.
Step 8: Secure the interior door handle
Now that you’ve lined up both sides of the door handle through the door, you can start tightening the screws into the screw holes with your hands first, keeping the screws as straight as possible through the door and twisting clockwise.
Continue tightening the screws as much as possible with your fingers until you can’t anymore. This is much faster and easier than using a screwdriver the whole time.
After they are tight, use the screwdriver. Hold your screwdriver at an angle to avoid hitting the side of the door handle. You don’t want the screwdriver to scratch your new handle.
Step 9: Check the door handle
After everything is screwed together on the new door handle, open and close the door a few times to make sure everything is working properly.
Once closed, jiggle the door a bit. If the door wiggles have no fear. This is one of the most common door issues and there is a way to fix this!
There is a small tab on the inside of the hole on the strike plate that can be bent out slightly to help prevent the door from wiggling. Bend the tab about a little bit at a time and keep checking until you get to a nice snug close.
There you have it – simple! Replacing your interior door handles with a new doorknob or door latch is a simple and impactful one. And definitely, one that you can do without calling the handyman!
This process is largely the same for changing knobs on interior doors, bedroom doors, bathroom doors, closet doors, and exterior doors as well. The only difference is whether the doors lock or not, so get busy and update your doors!
Just look at the huge difference replacing the door handles made here as we take another look at the before and after pictures. We also, of course, painted everything (including doing dark on the doors, which I love) and updated the flooring.
Do you have any other questions about the process of how to replace interior door handles?
Let us know in the comments below!
- Remove the old strike plate from the door frame
- Remove the old knob
- Remove the old latch
- Add the new strike plate to the door frame
- Put on the right face plate
- Slide the latch into the door
- Start attaching the door handle
- Secure the interior door handle
- Check the door handle