Buying a Replacement Doorknob Lockset

Tips on How to Buy the Right Replacement Doorknob

By Mark J. Donovan

Doorknobs can experience wear and tear over the years. In some cases they may simply no longer work well, or at all. In other cases their finish can erode away due to high levels of moisture exposure. This is often the case with doorknobs located in bathrooms or exterior doorknobs. Fortunately there are scads of replacement doorknob locksets available on the market to choose from, and that you can install yourself.

Replacing a doorknob is easy to do, however it is important that you buy the right replacement doorknob. Your best bet is to remove the old doorknob and take it with you to a home improvement center or hardware store. Usually a screwdriver is all that is required to remove and replace a doorknob.

The first step in buying a replacement doorknob is determining the type of doorknob lockset you need to replace. More specifically determine if it is a mortise lockset or a cylindrical one. A mortise doorknob lockset consists of a mechanical box that slides into the door. It is a more complicated lock and requires unique preparations to be installed correctly. The cylindrical doorknob lockset is more common and includes a long cylindrical tube that penetrates through the door and attaches to both the interior and exterior doorknobs.

The next step in buying a replacement doorknob is understanding the “handing” of the door and doorknob. There are two basic “handing” door types. Doors are either considered to be right hand doors or left hand doors, and not all doorknob locksets are reversible. As a result, it’s important that you buy the correct replacement doorknob for the type of door it is going on. To determine the type of door “handing” stand in front of the door so that you can pull the door towards you to open it.

Use your closest hand to reach out and pull on the doorknob. Do not use the arm that would have to cross your body to open the door.

If it is your right hand that pulls the door open, then the door is a right “handing” door. If it is your left hand that pulls the door open, then it is a left “handing” door.

Next, when buying a replacement doorknob lockset consider the thickness of the door. Make sure to buy a replacement doorknob that is designed for the thickness of the door it is to be installed on. Doors typically come in two standard thicknesses, either 1-3/8 inch or 1-3/4 inch. Doors that are 1-3/4 inch thick are usually associated with exterior doors, and doors that are 1-3/8 inch thick are most commonly affiliated with interior doors.

Another key item to consider when buying a replacing doorknob lockset is the backset dimension.

Buying a Replacement Doorknob Lockset

The backset dimension is the measurement from the center of the doorknob hole to the edge of the door. If you select the wrong replacement doorknob lockset the cylindrical tubular latch mechanism may not be long enough to penetrate through the strike plate opening. Alternatively, it may be too long. Common backset doorknob dimensions are 2-3/8 inch and 2-3/4 inch.

With adequate consideration of these key features when buying a replacement doorknob lockset you should be able to purchase the right one and install it with ease.

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