How to Install a Door Knob on a Slab Door
Hey there… It’s time for another tutorial! With this one, anyone can learn how to cut a hole and install a door knob! I’d also greatly appreciate if you’d pin this post or share with your friends. And better yet, I do these types of projects on a daily basis… send me your tutorial requests and I’ll be sure to document the next time I do a similar project. Happy reading!
The apartment renovation is almost complete and we just have one major project left to complete (and the one I’m most excited for), the concrete countertops! That will be happening within the next two weeks… and did I mention I found an awesome sponsor who agreed to give me all the supplies needed to complete my two concrete countertop projects? No? Well I did and a post will be coming soon on that!
But in the meantime, we’re checking things off our “punch list” like caulking the baseboards, touch up paint and installing door knobs and pulls for the all the doors.
Truthfully, I never thought to do a tutorial on something like “how to install a door knob” until my friend came over to check out the renovation progress and asked what we were going to do about the fact that our slab doors didn’t have any door knobs… I simply answered that I was going to use my door jig to cut the holes and install a door knob. She was like “YOU SHOULD DO A TUTORIAL ON THAT! I want to learn how to do that!” I’m over here making tutorials on how to install luxury vinyl tile planks when really, I could be posting some more simple posts like how to install a door knob!
However, this tutorial wasn’t so easy to make because taking pictures with one hand while trying to screw on a door knob with the other isn’t as easy as it sounds. I also think I went overboard on the infographics (but who doesn’t love making them in Canva?) so if you like them I’d really appreciate a re-pin, share or like! (Really appreciate it.)
Anywho, this tutorial will cover how to cut the hole and install a doorknob and latch keeper on a new interior hollow core or solid core door on an existing jamb. If you’re just looking up how to change a door knob, skip down a little bit to that part because this post is about how to cut a hole for the knob as well as installing the doorknob.
And before I get any further… I want to tell you that this post contains affiliate links. But not to worry, that just means if you click on something and purchase it, I get a small commission with no increase in cost to you. I get to keep this site up and running and you get a really great product.
…Speaking of great products. I have been using my Milwaukee Door Lock Installation Kit (aka my door knob jig) for almost 10 years. While searching for the affiliate link for that product, I actually saw that Dewalt makes one as well and it’s about $10 cheaper. Have you used that one? If so, let me know how it’s held up! Personally, I would buy Dewalt when the time comes to replace this jig, but that’s just personal preference, lots of other brands make door jigs as well (like this Irwin Bi-Metal Door Jig) and there are more professional tools that cost more than I’m willing to spend.
Anywho, I want to point out that you absolutely do not need the jig to cut a hole for a door knob but it makes and it’s incredibly easy and idiot proof. So this tutorial focuses on using a door jig but you could just measure to all the center points and use a 2-1/8″ and 1″ hole saws to hog out the holes. However, if you have to buy the hole saw bits anyway, it’s just as expensive to buy the whole kit so you might as well because it makes things a lot easier.
Step 1: Marking
First, find the center of the door keeper on the existing door jamb.
Once you find this, transfer your mark to the door. You’ll want to transfer the mark to the part of the door where the latch will go, it makes it easier to line up the jig. (You really can almost “eyeball” this part and double check with a tape measure.) Usually, this mark will be about 36″ up from the bottom of the door, but I prefer to do it this way because you never know what height the previous installer decided to go with.
Step 2: Attach Jig
Then you’ll attach the door knob jig. Make sure your line is centered in the circle and tighten it up! You should also double check that the guide’s backset (2-3/8” or 2-3/4”) is the same as your latch. It’s usually 2-3/8″ backset but if you aren’t sure, check the packaging of the door knob you purchased and it should tell you.
Step 3: Drill for Knob
Next, you’ll start to drill a hole from one side with the larger (2-1/8″) of the two hole saw bits. BUT STOP once you see the tip of the bit come through the other side. Once this happens, back out the hole saw and start drilling from the other side . This is to prevent the wood from splinter or completely busting out chunks of the door when the large hole saw comes through.
Step 4: Drill for the Latch
Once you have the hole for the knob, it’s time to drill for the latch. Change the hole saw bit from the big one to the small one (aka the 1″ hole saw bit) and drill the hole for the latch through the smaller hole. You definitely want to drill the hole for the knob before you drill for the latch because if you drill for the latch first you won’t have anything to drill to… does that make sense?
Step 5: Trace and Chisel for Latch Assembly
Now that you have your two holes, one for the door knob and one for the latch assembly it’s time for my least favorite part… cutting the area where the face plate will be inset.
Put the whole latch assembly into the hole and trace around the edge with a pencil. Then, take a utility knife and score all around the line so that you can then use a hammer and chisel to hog it out the depth of the latch, usually about 1/4″. While using the hammer and chisel to achieve the desired depth keep testing the latch to check that the face plate of the latch fits flush with the edge of the door.
And yes, there are many cool tools out there that would aid in this process and make it look prettier, but if you’re not installing doors on a regular basis it doesn’t make sense to buy them, unfortunately. A little bit of white touch up paint and it will look beautiful to the eye.
Step 6: Install Door Knob
Now that you have all of your holes and the inset for the latch it’s time to install a door knob. First, install the latch. Make sure the rounded part of the latch is going the right way and attach the latch with the provided screws.
Next, insert the part of the door knob that has the spindles (aka the outside knob) that fit through the latch. Then, take the other part of the door knob (the inside knob) and shimmy it into place. Use the provided screws to tighten the two parts of the door knob together. Make sure you put the locking knob on the side of the door you want it on!
Step 7: Test Door and Install Strike Plate
Now test the door! Make sure the new door opens and closes right, and most importantly, that the latch catches in the existing keeper on the door jamb, if it doesn’t, you’ll have to trace the new keeper and repeat the process of chiseling it out.
Now attach the matching keeper onto the door jamb and you can cross “install a door knob” off your to-do list!
Want me to do more tutorials like how to install a door knob? Send me your requests!