better homes & gardens

How to install a new door handle
How to install a new door handle

Gather your supplies

  • Doorknob set (we used the Gainsborough Classic Knob Diplomat Passage Set in Bright Goldtone)
  • 60mm backset tubular latch
  • privacy adaptor kit, to suit

Over time, doorknobs and handles wear out, become hard to operate or just look shabby– like this 20-year-old bathroom knob. But replacing them is easy. Most passage, privacy or entrance sets are sold as complete packs, and they’re quick, simple and cheap to fit. If you don’t want to refinish the door, choose a set that will cover marks from the previous handle.

Here's how


Step 1

Remove old handles – some unscrew on inside, others need you to depress a pin with a small screwdriver before prising off cover plate to expose fixing plate.

Step 2

Unscrew fixing plate, then remove whole mechanism from each side of door.

Step 3

Unscrew latch and plate from edge of door, then pop out latch. To avoid damage to door, it may first be worthwhile running a utility knife around edges of plate to break paint seal.

Step 4

Measure backset from edge of door to centre of hole (usually 60 or 70mm). You’ll need this to buy a new knob or handle.

Step 5

Different locks fit together in various ways, so read instructions. The latch plate will probably fit into existing recess, but you may need a chisel to alter shape or depth of housing. Screw in place.

Step 6

To install set with privacy adaptor, replace standard fixing plate, that comes with doorknob, with adaptor. The adaptor with snib lever goes on bathroom side of door. Screw posts to inner part, then insert through holes in latch.

Step 7

Loosely put screws in outside of posts, then slide outer fitting onto screws and tighten. It is slotted, making it less fiddly to do.

Step 8

Slip small emergency release bar into back of snib and check action will work from outside.

Step 9

Set locking snib into lock position, then fit square spindle into 1 knob. Push through hole in latch body, then fit other side. Screw rosettes to privacy adaptors. Check mechanism works by locking and unlocking from inside and outside. To open a locked door in an emergency, simply flick emergency release with a small screwdriver or nail and you’re in!

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