The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Cutting a mortice for a new door lock

There are a few questions that you should answer prior to beginning the installation of a new mortice on your door.

  1. You should take extensive measurements to ensure that the hardware you are planning to use is the appropriate size, otherwise you might have to make physical alterations to your door. Some newer door handles come with large cover plates that have the ability to hide holes in your door on the vertical axis, but they are limited as to how wide they are. Make sure that your replacement lock is the same size or larger than the existing hole. The same size will fit the easiest and a larger hole can be made if the latch is larger, but if your new latch is smaller, you will have to make another trip to the hardware store or even purchase a new door.
  2. To ensure that your existing door isn’t weakened by your new lock, it should not be more than three quarters of the overall thickness of the door.
  3. Make sure that the spindle size of your new latch is the proper size. If it is too long, you can cut it to fit.
  4. Ensure that you know whether the door handle or other attachment being used is sprung or not, so as to purchase a latch that is well-matched.
  5. When purchasing new door hinges, make sure that you measure the original ones so you can get the proper size, width, height, and depth. Measurements are important as they can all affect how the door will close.
  6. Make your door burglar-proof by considering more than one locking system. A single strong blow from a resolute prowler can be enough to defeat a single system. The door frame can be split by one heavy strike when there is only one point for all of that force to focus on. The more locking systems on a door and the further they are spread apart will ensure that the force applied from the outside is spread between all of them, thus rendering the overall strength of the door and door frame improved.

Attaching the Hardware

  1. The above list applies to this section as well. The following assumes you are ready to attach the hardware to your existing or new door.
  2. After you have decided upon a comfortable height for your door handle, place the lock on the edge of the door and scribe lines on the door above and below the plate on the lock. These lines will allow you to cut the proper sized mortice.
  3. Take a measurement of the thickness of the lock plate so you will know how deep to cut the mortice in the door. You can mark with a pencil on one of the face edges of the door the proper thickness or you could use a mortice gauge.
  4. Find a drill bit that is equal in size to the width of the latch. Measure down from the tip the depth that you need the mortice for the latch and use tape on the drill bit at that measurement. This will act as a depth gauge for your drill bit. Drill down the centre of the mortice area with slight overlaps slightly deeper than your depth gauge.
  5. Use a sharp chisel to straighten out the edges of your new mortice and clean it of any leftover wood material or debris.
  6. Check the mortice size with the plate of your latch and make any necessary adjustments.
  7. Keeping the lock even and plumb with the door, making sure the face plate is towards the mortice, mark the position of the keyhole with a bradawl.
  8. Use a piece of scrap wood on the opposite side of the door to ensure that splitting won’t ruin your door face, then drill a hole that is big enough to allow the spindle through. The holes may be different sizes for different systems. Make sure you are drilling the proper sized hole.
  9. Slide everything into position and attach using the appropriate hardware.
  10. Do not attach the door until you are sure the spindle moves properly. Once it does, check to see that the key works properly as well, and then attach the door to the frame.
  11. Now close the door and mark the areas where both the bolt and the latch bolt meet the door frame.
  12. Using the same basic procedure as above chisel out the mortices for both bolts into the door frame and then attach the strike plates.

Remember that these instructions are a simple guide; if you are unsure of your skill or the steps needed you should contract a professional to do the work.

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