Home Improvement

Beginner’s Guide to Changing a Door Handle

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Over time, door handles wear out, become loose, or just go out of fashion. Either way, you know a door handle replacement is in order and soon, but are you prepared? Fitting a door handle involves more than just swapping out the old hardware for new. It requires you to consider compatibility, measurements, and installation techniques.

Sounds kinda tough, but it doesn’t need to be. In this guide, you will explore the step-by-step process of replacing door handles, plus everything from selecting the appropriate hardware to testing and troubleshooting it. So, read along.

Types of door handles and their mechanisms

When it comes to visuals, door handles come in a plethora of finishes and materials, from classic brass to modern chrome, and all give you the chance to express your personal style. The handle types also come in a variety designed for different door types. Let’s check them out.

Door knobs

Door knobs can be spherical to hexagonal, but they all operate by turning. Some of them can be paired with locks for some extra security which is why you can install door knobs both on your interior and exterior doors.

Lever handles

Lever handles are the toughest of door handles, and that’s why you can find them in almost all homes both on interior and exterior doors. And why not? They are easy to use, compatible with locks, and with their flat plate or rounded ‘rose’ design, they blend seamlessly into different architectural styles.

Pull handles

Pull handles, typically installed on the outside of doors, offer a convenient way for you to open doors that have no latches. They can still be paired with locks, though. D-shaped pull handles are perfect for interior doors that swing open, while flush pull handles create a seamless finish ideal for sliding doors.

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Is it easy to change a door handle?

If you’re wondering “Can you replace your own door handle?” then the answer is yes. With the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can change your door handle by yourself.

That know-how part includes basic DIY skills as well as familiarity with tools. Come to think of it, some basic understanding of door hardware mechanisms will also come in handy, but more on that later. So as far as whether it’s easy to change a door handle, the answer is yes, provided you have everything mentioned so far.

If you’re also wondering “How long does it take to change a door handle?”, the answer is somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour. However, it always comes down to factors such as the complexity of the existing hardware and how easily you can access the door components.

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How to change a door handle with ease

Whether you’re changing your old handle with something more shiny or simply replacing it because it’s old and worn-down, the process of changing the door handle is relatively straightforward. Before you start, however, you need to equip yourself with the right tools, those being:

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill (if necessary)
  • Tape measure
  • New handle

When you have those you can proceed to…

Remove the old door handle

The first step in replacing anything is to remove the old item. So, this is how to remove an old door handle:

  1. Locate the screws which secure the current door handle in place. These screws are typically found on the cover plate or the side of the handle itself;
  2. Carefully unscrew the screws to loosen the door handle. Be careful not to drop and lose any small components that may fall out during the unscrewing;
  3. Disassemble the existing hardware. This may involve separating the handle from the door and removing any additional components like the latch mechanism or strike plate.

A few words on how to remove a door handle with no visible screws. This type of handle has screws hidden behind small tabs or covers. You need to locate these tabs or covers, pry them open, and then remove the screws which hold the handle to the door.

And how to remove a door handle with no screws? Yes, this type of handle doesn’t have actual screws to hold it in place. Fortunately, it has a slot or hole where you can insert a tool to release the latch mechanism. Once the latch is released, you can pull the handle away from the door.

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Select a new door handle

Does any door handle fit any door? Are all door handles universal? No, not all door handles are universal, and not every door handle fits every door. They come in various sizes, styles, and configurations, and this affects their compatibility with different types of doors. Ok then, you think to yourself, but how do I know what door handle I need? Good question, well, for starters…

  1. Consider if the replacement door handle is required for an external or inside door. Which do you prefer? Exterior door handles frequently need extra security elements, including keyless entry locks, whilst interior door handles could be more useful and aesthetically pleasing.
  2. To determine whether the new door handle will work with your door, measure the thickness of the door. Choose a handle that fits the measurements of your door since certain door handles are made especially for doors that are a specified thickness;
  3. Calculate the distance between the handle mechanism’s centre and the door’s edge. This measurement, known as a backseat, makes sure that the handle fits your door correctly. Make sure the handle you select meets the standards for the backset of your door since different handles may have different needs;
  4. Think on the kind of door handle lock mechanism you require. While some handles are only ornamental, some have built-in locks for added security;
  5. When selecting a door handle, take into account the general aesthetic and layout of your room. Choose a handle that increases the visual appeal of your house and blends in with the décor;
  6. Select a door handle composed of durable materials that will not break easily under pressure. When choosing a door handle, take into account elements like lifespan, simplicity of maintenance, and corrosion resistance.

Fit your new door handle

Hopefully, by now you’ve removed your old handle and have purchased the new one, because now you will be fitting it. This is how to install the new door handle:

  1. Clear any dirt or impediments from the door;
  2. Place the replacement latch mechanism into the door’s edge. Make sure it is positioned correctly to provide a tight fit;
  3. If the external and inner components of your door handle are separate, begin by connecting the outside handle. Place the spindle into the appropriate hole on the outside of the door after lining it up with the latch mechanism;
  4. Align the inside handle’s spindle with the latch mechanism on the inside side of the door. Make sure the spindle fits firmly in the hole by inserting it there;
  5. Attach the door’s external and interior knobs using the included screws. Tighten the screws tightly with a screwdriver, being cautious not to overtighten as this might strip the threads;
  6. If your door handle has a strike plate, place it on the door frame so that when the door is closed, it lines up with the latch mechanism. Screws and a screwdriver are used to firmly anchor the striking plate in place.

Have your door handle changed now!

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Have your door handle changed now!

Professional help is just a click away!

Learn more

Test the door handle

When you’re done fitting your new handle, test it by opening and closing the door. The latch mechanism needs to engage smoothly when the door is closed. Mind you, you may encounter some common problems such as difficulty in operation or misalignment. If that happens, consider the following solutions:

  • The door handle does not latch properly or the lock mechanism is misaligned – Adjust the position of the strike plate on the door frame so that the latch aligns correctly with the strike plate;
  • The door handle feels loose – Check the tightness of the screws securing the handle to the door and tighten any loose ones;
  • Obstructions or interference prevent the door handle from working – clear any obstructions or misalignments against the door frame or strike plate.
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How much does it cost to replace a door handle?

By now you are likely motivated to replace your door handle on your own, or you are even less so and wonder how much does it cost to replace a door handle. While a locksmith professional will need to conduct an on-site survey to give you a precise price, you can still check the following exemplary average costs for the UK market.

  • The price of door handles can start from £10 and go up to £80;
  • The cost of replacing a broken door handle on a uPVC or composite door ranges between £70 and £90;
  • Price of a high-quality pair of handles supplied and fitted for a uPVC or composite door is between £90 and £110;
  • Average cost of a low-quality pair of handles supplied and fitted for a uPVC or composite door is between £70 and £90.
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The cost of replacing internal door handles typically ranges from £10-£50 per unit plus extra costs in the form of labour fees. The labour costs for doorknob installation start at £37 and can go up to £190, but what makes the price fluctuate so?

Here are the factors that contribute to how the price is formed:

  • The type of handle (e.g., lever handles, door knobs);
  • The material of the handle (e.g., metal, plastic);
  • The complexity of the design;
  • The location of the property due to variations in local labour rates;
  • The inclusion of additional hardware like locks, deadbolts, and other elements can increase the cost.

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  • It’s relatively easy to replace a door handle with the right tools and basic DIY skills;
  • Not all door handles are universal and you must consider factors such as door type, thickness, backset and lock mechanism;
  • Common issues during installation can be misalignment, loose screws, or obstructions.
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