Replacing an Exterior Door Handle

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Replace an Exterior Door Handle

By Mark J. Donovan

If the exterior door handle on your door is not working properly or is looking shabby then consider replacing it. Replacing an exterior door handle is a straight forward DIY project that most homeowners can tackle.

The first step in replacing an exterior door handle is to remove the existing one. Start by opening the door and looking for the screws that hold the door handle to the door. The screws should be on the inside of the exterior door.

The screws may be visible or hidden underneath the doorknob. If the screws are hidden underneath the doorknob, then pop off the doorknob using a common screwdriver.

To pop off the doorknob look for a small slot on the doorknob handle. Place the end of your screwdriver into this slot and twist gently. The doorknob should pop off and expose the screws underneath that are holding the rest of the doorknob assembly to the exterior door.

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the door handle assembly in place. With the screws removed, the front and back side of the door handle should be able to be detached from the door.

Next, remove the screws that hold the strike plate to the door.

With the strike plate screws removed, you should be able to now remove the door handle latch assembly.

Now, measure the door handle backset distance. The door handle backset distance is the distance from the door edge to the center of the bore hole for the door knob handle.

Record this measurement and then visit your local home improvement center to find a replacement exterior door handle.

Once you have your new replacement door handle on the jobsite, first install the door handle latch and the strike plate.

Next insert the replacement exterior door handle into the bored door knob hole, so that the door handle post lines up with the door handle latch assembly.

Fasten the replacement door handle screws onto the door handle and you’re ready to test your new exterior door handle.

How to install a door knob

For information on how to install interior door trim, see the “Installing Interior Door Trim” eBook from  The “Installing Interior Door Trim” eBook provides step-by-step instructions on how to install interior door trim. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

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