How To Replace a Deadbolt? (Removal And Installation Included

Key Takeaway

  • To remove a deadbolt lock, use a flathead screwdriver and a Phillips head screwdriver to disassemble the lock.
  • Replace the lock by assembling a new lock well into the door at the pre-drilled holes.
  • Test the newly installed lock to ensure that the screws are not over-tight and the functioning is smooth.

Deadbolts are a tried-and-true method of keeping any space secure, despite their old-school reputation. However, despite the great reputation, these locks get worn out at times and need replacement, and many seek professional help for the same. But what if I told you that you could complete this task all by yourself, following a certain set of instructions?

If you are planning to upgrade the security of your space or are simply planning to level up the aesthetics of your home, replacing your deadbolt may be worth considering. And if you have landed on this page, you are a crazy DIYer who wishes to take charge in your own hands.

No worries, as this article will take you through the steps of how to replace a deadbolt lock all by yourself with the help of some appropriate tools. But before we dive into the instructions of the process, let us through some light on why you should consider deadbolt lock replacement in the first place.

When Should You Consider Deadbolt Lock Replacement?

When Should You Consider Deadbolt Lock Replacement?
  • Your Existing Deadbolt Is Malfunctioning

    If your deadbolt is malfunctioning and exhibiting issues like the deadbolt lock spinning but not opening or not spinning at all, it is time for you to invest in a new deadbolt lock.
  • Your Deadbolt Is Rusted Due To Regular wear And Tear

    If a deadbolt lock is too old or is installed on houses in areas with a high percentage of humidity, it is very likely that your deadbolt is corroded. Hence, it is a great idea to replace it before it starts malfunctioning.
  • You Have Moved Into A New House

    Moving into a new house calls for you to either rekey the deadbolts or replace the existing deadbolt with a new one, as you never know who all have the key to access your home without your knowledge.
  • Your Deadbolt Has Unfortunately Been Broken Into

    If someone has broken into your home illegally or has tried breaking into your home, you must replace your lock without any further delay to avoid compromising the security of your family and belongings.
  • Your Deadbolt Keys Are Broken Or Lost

    A broken key, or a lost key is another important reason why you may have to replace the deadbolt locks of your home. You might consider getting a new key cut by a locksmith, but it might cost you more than a whole new deadbolt.
  • Your Deadbolt Lock Is Too Old

    As per most experts, the life of a deadbolt lock is 7-8 years. This means that you must replace your deadbolt locks after this period if you don’t want to take any chances with the security and efficiency of the lock.

How To Replace A Deadbolt Lock

Once you have decided that your deadbolt lock should be replaced, you are now wondering how to go about changing the lock.

Well, replacing a deadbolt consists of two important parts, i.e.,

  • Removal Of An Existing Deadbolt Lock
  • Installation Of A New Deadbolt Lock

In this section of the article, we shall discuss both these parts in detail so that you can carry out the process without any trouble.

How To Remove A Deadbolt Lock

How To Remove A Deadbolt Lock

The first thing to check before you begin following the instructions on how to remove the deadbolt from the door is whether your deadbolt has visible screws or not. For aesthetic and security reasons, you may find that the screws of your deadbolt are hidden under the decorative plate and not visible.

If the screws of your deadbolt are visible, you can unscrew them right away to disassemble the lock. However, if the screws are hidden, you will have to remove the decorative place to be able to access them.

Next, ensure you are all set and well-prepared for the task by gathering the right tools. Removing deadbolt locks might require a few tools. Therefore, for convenience and to save time, ensure that you have the following tools: 

  • A flat-headed screwdriver 
  • A Phillips screwdriver  
  • An awl or a sharp-edged object like an awl or a paperclip  

Once you are done with the prep part, follow the steps given below to remove your deadbolt lock.

Step 1: In case the screws of your deadbolt are concealed below the decorative plate, you must first remove the thumb latch.

To remove the thumb latch, search for a small hole in the shaft that links the thumb-latch to the rest of the deadbolt lock. Put any sharp-edged instrument inside the hole, such as an awl or a paper clip that has been straightened, and press gently. When you feel the thumb latch release, remove it and put it aside.

thumb latch

Step 2: You can easily remove the decorative plate once the latch has been removed from the deadbolt. Simply locate a little notch around the rim, insert the tiny flat-headed screwdriver, and carefully pull the plate off the lock.

decorative plate

Step 3: Now that you’ve discovered the hidden screws, use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws. After all of the screws have been eliminated, gently and carefully remove the interior and exterior cylindrical housing assembly components and set them aside.

hidden screws

Step 4: The final step is to remove the latch assembly from the door. To accomplish this, open the door and look for the screws on the latch assembly that are visible on the edge of the door.  Remove the screws using a Phillips head screwdriver and pull out the latch assembly containing the deadbolt.

latch assembly

If you intend to use the same lock again, you must ensure that you don’t lose or damage any individual component of the lock. You may refer to one of my past articles about how to remove a deadbolt without screws to learn more about the same.

How To Install A Deadbolt Lock

Once you successfully remove the old deadbolt lock from the door, it is now time to install a new deadbolt into your door. This section of the article will talk about how to add a deadbolt to the door. Following the steps appropriately, adding a deadbolt to the door should take a short time and should be a seamless process. 

Here’s how to do so

Step 1: The first step is to ensure that the holes already bored into the door match the hole requirement of your new deadbolt. You may use the template given in the deadbolt kit to ensure the same. If needed, use a drilling tool to make the appropriate holes. To read more about how to drill holes for an appropriate installment of a deadbolt, refer to my article about deadbolt lock installation.

Step 2: Now align the faceplate with the edge of the door. You can match the hole in the plate with the hole drilled on your door’s edge. Once done, hold the plate in place and sketch around it with a pencil to create a silhouette. Now create an 18-inch-deep space for a mortise and tenon joint using a 1-inch chisel. Once the space has been created, install the faceplate and bolt simultaneously, as both of these would most likely be joined.


Step 3: Now insert the bolt into the 1-inch bolt hole, seat the face plate in the carved-out area by gently tapping with a hammer, and secure the face plate with the help of mounting screws.

1-inch bolt hole

Step 4: It is now time to install the two halves of the deadbolt body on each side of the door. If you are installing a single-cylinder deadbolt, ensure that the keyed cylinder is installed on the exterior side of the door. You may require a helping hand to hold the two halves of the deadbolt mechanism in place while doing so.

deadbolt body

Step 5: Next, align the slot on the thumb turn with the tailpiece and attach it to the door with the help of two self-guiding long screws. The tapered tips of the screws would allow you to line them up easily. After that, screw into place the bolts using an electric screwdriver. Since you are making use of long screws, using an electric screwdriver should be preferred over the manual one. 

While tightening the screws, ensure you don’t over-tighten them, as it may affect the functioning of the lock.


Step 6: Once you have successfully installed the deadbolt on your door, test the functioning of the deadbolt’s smoothness and accuracy. If you notice any hindrance or rough movement, adjust the screws as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the average life of a deadbolt lock?  

Answer – Most deadbolt locks undergo severe wear and tear after prolonged use. As responsible homeowners, you must refrain from exploiting your deadbolt locks for decades and replace the locks every 7 or 8 years before a crisis strikes. 

Q2. Is the rectangular face plate better for deadbolt installation as compared to the round one?

Answer – Nowadays, many deadbolts allow you to choose between a round or rectangular face plate. A rectangular faceplate produces a more reliable setup than a circular one, so even though you might not need to chisel the door as much with the latter, I do not recommend them.

Q3. Do we need to make the measurements again if we are looking for how to change a deadbolt lock?

Answer – If you are replacing your deadbolt lock with the same brand and model, you may not have to worry about the measurements for the new lock. However, if you have opted for a different model or type of deadbolt, it is vital to be sure about the diameter and depth of the pre-drilled holes and whether they are suitable for the new deadlock. The instruction manual and lock installation template should help you with this.


If you regularly use a deadbolt lock, you could eventually need to replace it. No matter how well your deadbolt has served you, the day will come when you must say goodbye and install a new one.

Whatever your motivation for looking for precise, step-by-step directions on how to install a deadbolt, this article must have been helpful. If you have any other questions about the safety of your home, write to me in the comment section. I am happy to help!

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.