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How To Change A Door Knob (Complete Guide)

Over time, doorknobs break and need to be replaced. Although this can happen for different reasons, the most common cause is a broken spring in the latch mechanism. When this happens, the latch cannot engage with the strike plate and keep the door closed. 

If you have a knob that won’t function properly any longer, this guide from the experienced team at Access Hardware shows you how to change a door knob in a few simple steps.

Tools and Materials Required

Whether your knobs are decorative or completely utilitarian, these tools are generally all you need to swap them out for a new set.

Step One: Take the Old Door Knob Off

Using a screwdriver, remove screws holding the old latch in place. Then loosen and remove the screws holding both door knobs in place. Take out each door knob, put their screws aside, and slide the latching mechanism out of the door. Then unscrew and remove the strike plate from the door jamb.

Step Two: Identify the Right Backset and Insert the New Latch

Examine your old latch for a number stamped on its surface. You should find either 2-3/4 or 2-3/8 inches, which is the measurement between the edge of the door to the center of the knob hole. When you shop for new door hardware, you want to select a replacement knob that not only matches the old one visually but also has the right back set side. You can contact the door hardware experts at Access Residential Hardware for help finding a suitable replacement if you aren't sure.

Once you have your replacement hardware, you can replace the latch by inserting it into the hole in the edge of the door. Orient it carefully to match the direction of the door swing.

Step Three: Install First New Knob

After examining the two new knobs, pick up the one with an extending rod that interlocks with the latch and the second knob. Place it over the hole in the door and slide the rod into the latch. As soon as the knob is positioned over the hole, thread its screws into place and tighten them.

Step Four: Tighten the Latch

Lock the latch in place by threading the latch plate screws down. Then test the spring by pushing it several times. Each time you press down the latch, you should see it spring back up again.

Step Five: Install Second Knob

Make sure the second knob is interlocked with the rod mechanism on the first knob. Then install the screws for the second knob, locking it in place.

Step Six: Install the Strike Plate

As you lay the new strike plate over the latching hole in the door jamb, make sure to align it with the hole and the marks likely left behind by the old strike plate. The bent edge of the strike plate should face the door swing direction. Install it, making sure that the screws are tight. After everything has been installed, open and close the door several times to test the new knob.

What if the Door Knob Doesn’t Have Any Screws?

Door knobs intended for a decorative effect come with hidden screws, so they appear not to have any attachment to the door. Removing a door knob without screws requires intricate skills to avoid damaging the knob or door finish, but if you have the right tools and instructions, it's a straightforward task.

Tools and Materials Required

  • Phillips screwdriver or flathead screwdriver
  • Set of Allen wrenches
  • A straightened paper clip

How to Remove a Door Knob without Screws

The first step is to remove the handle by looking for a tiny hole at the neck. Push the spot or use a screwdriver to remove the small screw inside. If there is no screw insight, insert a straightened paper clip into the hole and carefully pull the handle. To prevent the door knob from falling, hold it tightly.

Disconnect the cover plate. A screwdriver can be used to wedge between the cover plate and the hidden screws plate. Turn the cover plate counterclockwise until it becomes loose. The hidden screws can now be removed.

Once everything is exposed, remove the hex-head screws. Choose an Allen wrench size that will fit the hole so that you can remove all the screws. Then take off the part of the knob that is still attached to the door. Once you remove all the screws, the whole attachment will come loose. 

What if the Door Doesn’t Have a Latch?

It might seem that removing door knobs without latches is the same, but there are a few differences to keep in mind. If you want to remove a doorknob without a latch, locate the slot along its neck. In this case, you will straighten a paper clip and use it to spring the space.

Once the door springs, gently pull the handle to loosen it. After that, remove the door knob as described above.

Doors With Smart Locks

Smart locks might require a different approach. When removing a door knob from a smart lock, disconnect it from the outside knob. Find a place on it where you can get between the door knob and the one on the door. After disconnecting, push down the lever inside once it is exposed and continue with door knob removal and replacement. Depending on the configuration, you may need manufacturer assistance with the change.

Door Hardware Professionals at Your Service

Quality door hardware can last a lifetime. When you’re replacing door knobs, it’s important to find hardware that will match your home’s style, meet your functionality needs, and is built to last. Founded over 20 years ago, Access Residential Hardware provides premium door hardware to builders, architects, and homeowners. Our staff has years of experience in door hardware installation, removal, and distribution, so you’re always dealing with industry-leading experts. You can speak with one of our hardware specialists by calling 866.752.9002, or filling out a contact form