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How to Install French Door Handles

Mark Morris

French or garden doors are an excellent way to open up inside space to the outdoors or to create a sense of having a large space by opening up between two smaller spaces. French door hardware is different than a typical single-door installation, although not as different as you may think.

You can install your own French door knobs.

French door handle setups are made with standard door hardware in an individual configuration.

  1. Use the template that came with the handles to mark the center of the hole for each handle on the face of each door. Bore the holes with a 1¾-inch hole saw. Set the center bit on the mark from the previous step, and start the drill. Apply pressure to keep the bit from walking across the surface. Maintain steady pressure as it cuts through. Do not force the bit through the backside to prevent splintering. Repeat the process with the other door.

  2. Mark the edges of the doors with the paper template for striker and striker plate placement. These holes should be level with the center of the knob holes you bored in the previous step and centered in the thickness of the door. Bore the striker and striker plate holes with a 7/8-inch spade bit. Keep the drill as straight as possible both up and down and side to side.

  3. Install the handles. One has a spring-loaded striker bolt. The other is a matching dummy knob with no moving parts. Select which door you want to use as a passage door to go in and out of and which door to latch in place except when you need both doors open.

  4. Insert the striker through the hole in the edge of the passage door. Draw around the outside edge of the striker bolt plate. Remove the striker. Chisel out the wood in the outline to a depth of 1/8 inch. Reinsert the striker, and attach it to the door with the two supplied screws. Insert the inside half of the knob, which typically has a thumb lock, and insert the other half from the other side, lining up the screw holes. Tighten the two knob screws with a screwdriver.

  5. Put the dummy knob in the second door, and tighten the screws. Place the striker plate on the edge of the dummy knob door and draw the outline on the edge of the door. Cut out the wood inside the outline to a depth of 1/8 inch. Attach the striker plate to the door edge with the two supplied screws.

  6. Close the dummy knob door, and latch it in place. Latches vary, but typically there is a nickel or brass latch bolt at the top and bottom of the door on the inside face or the edge of the door.

  7. Shut the passage door so that the striker bolt springs into the hole behind the striker plate in the dummy knob door. Open and close the door several times to check for proper operation. Use a chisel to remove material that protrudes into the striker plate opening to make the door operate more smoothly.