• Share:
How to Install a Deadbolt

To improve the security of your home, you could get a dog with a bark vicious enough to scare the rust off a statue. But one of the easiest, least expensive and most effective security measure you can take is to install a heavy-duty deadbolt. Here's how.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

What you need to know

Single-cylinder deadbolts (keyed on one side) will work fine for most situations. Double-cylinder deadbolts (keyed on two sides) are a good idea if you have a window near the deadbolt. For safety reasons, if you choose a double-cylinder deadbolt, make absolutely certain your family knows where the key is and leaves it there.Calling a locksmith out for this job will cost $150 or more, but you can install a heavy-duty deadbolt yourself in less than an hour for a third of the price. That's about average for a good deadbolt and a hole saw set. To cut through a steel door, make sure you get a “bimetal” hole saw set.

Use a Grade 1 deadbolt. Deadbolts have a grade rating of 3 to 1 (1 is the toughest). Most home centers carry Grade 1 deadbolts, such as Schlage's Maximum Security Deadbolt, but you may have to hunt for them. Expect to pay $27 to $35 for a Grade 1.

Install a strike box. A strike box strengthens the deadbolt by spreading the impact of a forced entry over a wider area and by helping tie the strike to the 2x4 frame, not just the jamb. You can get a separate strike box for about $7 at home centers.

Use the rectangular faceplate. Most deadbolts allow you to choose between a rectangular faceplate and a round one that doesn't require chiseling. Unless you have a steel door, don't be tempted! The rectangular faceplate, recessed into the door, makes a stronger setup.

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Tape measure
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Corded drill
    • Combination square
    • Drill bit set
    • Extension cord
    • Hearing protection
    • Hole saw kit
    • Safety glasses
    • Utility knife
    • Wood chisel

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Deadbolt lockset

Comments from DIY Community Members

No comments on the article have been posted yet. Be the first to add your comment!

You will be required to log in or create an account to post a comment.


Add Your Comment

How to Install a Deadbolt

Please add your comment

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today

Report Abuse

Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us