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How to Cut a Hole For a Deadbolt

Robert Sylvus

A deadbolt lock's bolt penetrates deeper into a door jamb than a door knob's lockset. The bolt's extra depth increases the lock's ability to withstand brute force; burglars often try to kick doors in instead of attempting to pick the lock.

A door with a deadbolt needs two holes drilled in it.

Cutting the deadbolt's holes at least 6 inches from the door knob maintains the integrity of the door and door jamb. Cutting multiple holes too close to each other can split the jamb's wood.

  1. Tape the manufacturer-supplied deadbolt template to the door with masking tape. Fold the template along the line, often dotted, that represents the door's edge. Place the fold on the door's edge then tape the template in place. The large circle on the template represents the deadbolt's placement. The small circle, found on the part of the template that folds over the door's edge, shows the placement of the hole for the deadbolt's bolt.

  2. Drill a pilot hole through the door with a drill equipped with a 1/8-inch drill bit. Place the drill bit on the large circle's cross hairs and drill the hole through the door. The cross hairs, the lines that bisect the large circle, identify the center of the circle.

  3. Hole saws use cup shaped blades and a pilot bit to cut holes.
  4. Equip the drill with a 2 1/8-inch hole saw. A hole saw has a cup-shaped blade with teeth on the rim. It uses a small drill bit, often 3/16-inch, as a pilot bit.

  5. Place the hole saw's pilot bit in the door's pilot hole. Drill half way through the door. Remove the hole saw.

  6. Place the hole saw's pilot bit in the pilot hole located on the other side of the door. Drill through the door. Completing the hole from the second side of the door prevents the door's veneer from splintering.

  7. Equip the drill with a 1-inch hole saw.

  8. Place the 1-inch hole saw's pilot bit on the small circle's cross hairs. Drill the 1-inch hole from the door's edge to the 2-1/8 inch hole.

  9. Slide the deadbolt's bolt into the 1-inch hole. Trace the outline of the bolt's plate on the edge of the door with a pencil. Remove the bolt.

  10. Create a 1/16-inch-deep area on the door's edge for the deadbolt's plate inside of the pencil marks with a chisel and hammer. Place the chisel's blade on the pencil line and tap on the chisel's handle with the hammer.