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Install a Lever Door Lockset

A lever door handle takes the challenge out of turning a difficult-to grip round doorknob. You can replace a typical round knob with a new lever handle. The job is made easy if you choose a new lever handle lockset that's made by the same manufacturer as round one. It's easy to do and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the dramatic difference.

A carpenter charges $130 to replace a standard interior door lockset with a new brass lever handle, but you can buy the lock for $100 and install it yourself, saving 23 percent. Since you're replacing an old lock with a new one, the lock hole is already there so you don't have to drill one. Anyone with basic assembly skills can learn on the job. All you need is a Phillips and blade screwdriver and a drill and bits. From start to finish, it's a quick two-hour job. Here's just how easy it is: remove the existing lock, install the new latch assembly and then the handles. That's it - a new look for a door you'll appreciate at every turn.

Step-by-step Instructions

Privacy door lever handle lockset
Few nails

Phillips screwdriver
Small flat blade screwdriver
Drill and drill bits

Step 1. Remove the old lock
Look at the base of the lock handle to determine if there are screws or push tabs. For screws use a Phillips head or small flat bladed screwdriver to remove them. If there's a slot at the base of the handle with push tabs, push in on the tabs to release the inside handle (inside the room). Then carefully slide the knob off its shaft. Next release the rose, which is a cover or faceplate, held flat against the door. Use the screwdriver to remove the screws holding the faceplate. Repeat the process on the other side of the door removing the knob and faceplate. Then unscrew the reinforcing plate and lock assembly and pull it out of the hole. Remove the two screws holding the latch assembly to the edge of the door. The pull the latch assembly out of the door.

Step 2. Install the new latch section
Slide the new latch assembly into the hole in the edge of the door and check its fit. If the plate that rests against the edge of the door is larger than the old latch assembly, enlarge the mortise to accept the new latch assembly. Use a sharp pencil to trace around the new plate and then remove the excess wood with a chisel. The plate should lie flush with the edge of the door. Insert the new latch mechanism into the edge of the door so that the angle of the latch bolt faces toward the doorframe. If the mounting holes in the plate of the new latch assembly are in a different location than the old latch assembly, drill pilot holes for the mounting screws. Tighten them with a screwdriver.

If the new screw holes are drilled close to the old holes, fill the old holes with a wooden match dipped into wood glue. Insert the match into the hole and break the matchstick off flush with the edge of the door.

Step 3: Install the door handles
Stand facing the edge of the door and insert the handles. The handle with the lock in it goes on the outside of the door. Each side of the handle mechanism has to be aligned and fitted into the door according to the manufacturer's directions. The two halves must engage the latch assembly so that when you turn the knobs the latch bolt will move in and out. Adjust the mounting screws so they are in alignment and then loosely tighten these screws. Test the movement of the latch. The handles should turn easily and the latch should move in and out without binding. If there is some binding, loosen the screws a bit and realign the handles. Then tighten the screws and install any trim hardware.

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