Installing a Deadbolt

by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 10, 2012)

A deadbolt lock is a locking mechanism that provides more security than does an ordinary lock because of the weight of the locking bar. A deadbolt lock can only be opened by rotating the lock cylinder. There are two types of deadbolts you can purchase for your exterior doors—a single-cylinder or a double-cylinder deadbolt.

Single-cylinder deadbolts have a key entry on the outside of the door, and a thumb turn on the inside. Double-cylinder deadbolts have key entries on both sides of the door. Most people only need a single cylinder deadbolt and are recommended for fire safety. Because double-cylinder deadbolts require keys for both sides, it is wise to leave a key inside of the lock facing into the house so that you can escape the house in a hurry as in the case of a fire.

Before you consider installing a deadbolt, find out if your exterior door is made of wood or an aluminum wood look-alike. That might sound like a strange statement, but I learned the hard way that not all doors are made of wood, as I supposed they were. Using a drill one Christmas to hang a wreath on our front door, I discovered that the door was hollow metal. I broke my small drill bit and created a useless hole. Before you drill your door to install a deadbolt, find out what the door is made of.

Follow these steps to install a deadbolt:

  1. Open your deadbolt kit and read the directions so that you are familiar with your project.
  2. Choose where you want to install your deadbolt and tape the template to your door. (The deadbolt kit should contain a template for placement of the deadbolt in the door.)
  3. Per instructions of your template, mark your door for the bore face, center, and screw holes.
  4. Drill the holes with your power drill, using the drill bits recommended on the kit.
  5. Using your template, mark the hole for the faceplate, and chisel out the hole.
  6. Insert the lock and bolt assembly and secure them with screws, but do not completely tighten them.
  7. Test the alignment of the deadbolt with the door frame and adjust as necessary.
  8. Tighten the screws to finish your project.

While you can place your deadbolt onto an unmortised door anywhere you'd like, the typical placement is forty inches from the floor. To prevent splintering when you begin to drill, drill from both sides of the door. Always use the recommended drill bit sizes in the deadbolt kit, or your lock may not fit into the holes you drill. For added security, use a security chain in conjunction with your deadbolt.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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