How to Install a Deadbolt Lock on a Door

That puny lock in the center of your doorknob won't keep your home secure.

To be truly safe, you need deadbolts on every exterior door. This doesn't mean you have to shell out wads of cash for a locksmith. Here's how to install a deadbolt lock by yourself.

Buy a deadbolt lock and read the instructions to see what tools you'll need. Generally, you need a drill with spade bits and driver bits and a wood chisel. Also, get some masking tape and an awl or pencil to mark the door.

Tape the template to the door. Place it where you want the deadbolt to be-ideally about 6 to 12 inches above or below the door knob.

Use the awl or pencil to poke through the template and mark the door. Use the reference points on the template to mark the appropriate spots for your door's thickness.

Remove the template.

Drill holes for the screws. Attach the recommended drill bit and pre-drill the holes according to the template.

Use a hole saw to drill a hole for the deadbolt. Place the pilot bit on the template marking and drill until the pilot bit comes through the other side. Stop here. Finish drilling the hole from the other side.

Drill a hole in the edge of the door for the bolt. Use a spade bit and drill into the edge of the door. Keep the drill squared to the door and check the instructions with your lock for specifics.

Close the door.

Trace an outline of the bolt door onto the door jamb. Stick a pencil through the first hole to reach the bolt hole.

Open the door.

Insert the latch bolt into the bolt hole. Trace around the latch plate on the edge of the door. Remove the bolt.

Chisel a mortise, or notch, for the latch plate. Make it so the latch plate is flush with the door when you reinsert the latch bolt into the hole.

Insert the cylinder into the front of the door. Without screwing anything in, align the thumb plate and the bolt to see how everything fits together.

Fasten the deadbolt in place with screws. If everything lines up correctly, assemble it and secure it with screws.

Mark a hole for the door frame. This is the other side, where the deadbolt will go in when the door is locked. Put a little paint or lipstick on the end of the deadbolt and close the door. Lock and unlock the lock so the deadbolt makes a mark on the door frame.

Drill a hole in the door frame for the deadbolt. Use a spade bit. Drill deep enough for the deadbolt to insert fully into the door frame.

Chisel a mortise for the strike plate on the door frame. Make it flush with the door frame.

Drill pilot holes for the strike plate. Insert the strike plate into the mortise and mark where the screws will go before drilling.

Secure the strike plate with screws.

Test your lock out. Make sure the door is secure and the lock works properly.

Things You Will Need

  • screwdriver
  • hole saw
  • wood chisel
  • deadbolt lock kit
  • drill
  • safety glasses
  • spade bit
  • awl or pencil
  • paint or lipstick


  • Internal deadbolts are a bit more difficult to install, but are more secure than surface deadbolts.
  • Use a deadbolt in conjunction with a security chain for optimal security.
  • Drilling from both sides of the door prevents splintering.


  • Read the instructions carefully! Always use the recommended bit sizes-otherwise the lock may not be secure.
  • Always wear safety glasses when drilling.