How High Should A Deadbolt Be On A Door?

A fully functional and efficient deadbolt lock should be at the appropriate height on a door. Unless the instructions state a different measurement, follow the recommended or provided distance. But exactly how high should a deadbolt be on a door and from the knob itself? We've looked into these questions and summarized the answers in this post.

The standard deadbolt height follows a measurement of around 48 inches or higher from the ground. Door knobs typically go 38 to 42 inches from the bottom of the door while a deadbolt is usually positioned above the handle. Note that these may still vary depending on the knob's height.

With that, you might be wondering where to position the deadbolt. Could it be above or below the door's handle? Is the installation a do-it-yourself job? Keep reading as we further discuss where a deadbolt goes and what you should do to install it.

A white wooden front door with a stainless steel door with a deadbolt lock, How High Should A Deadbolt Be On A Door?

Do Deadbolts Go Above Or Below The Door Handle?

Deadbolts are often put above a door handle, although they can be positioned both on top or under the doorknob. Placing a deadbolt on top of the knob is more likely to prevent clashing and makes the lock easier to access.

The standard height to position a deadbolt lock is often 48 to 78 inches from the ground, including the distance between the deadbolt and knob. It's common to place it around this height, but this can vary if the handle is higher or lower and the deadbolt goes above it.

On the other hand, door handles go approximately 38 to 42 inches high.

A deadbolt is one way to reinforce an exterior door. And so, they should be easily reachable and visible to the homeowner. Placing it too low may make it harder to access, especially with door handles that are larger or longer.

How Far Should The Deadbolt Be From The Door Knob?

A woman installing a deadbolt lock

The distance between a deadbolt and door knob is usually 5 1/2 to 6 inches above the handle. Most do not recommend placing it any higher than 6 inches from the original knob unless the situation calls for it.

In some cases, it could be less due to having too little space on the door to use. If this is the issue, you can place the deadbolt closer to the knob. However, it shouldn't stick too closely to ensure both locks will be working effectively.

Can You Install A Deadbolt Yourself?

Yes, a deadbolt can be installed on your own, as long as your door isn't made from tough material. The installation process is similar to door knobs.

Hiring an expert to install the deadbolt for you can range from $200 or higher. Depending on the company, the costs may be separate for labor cost and materials.

Check out how much a deadbolt usually costs in this post: How Much Does A Deadbolt Cost?

Installing a deadbolt yourself can help you save money. But although it's an easy DIY, remember it won't always be perfect work.

How To Install A Deadbolt

Follow the instructions below to properly install a deadbolt:

Tools Needed

  • Deadbolt lock set
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill and drill bit set
  • Ear protection, safety goggles, gloves
  • Hole saw kit
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Wood chisel

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Determine how high you will install the deadbolt. Consider how far it will go from the ground and the door handle.
  2. Mark the center of the location using the template provided in the deadbolt lock set. Set it 2 3/8 inches away from the edge of the door unless the package provides different measurements.
  3. Use the same template to mark where the hole on the side of the door goes to identify where the latch be.
  4. Cut a hole for the lock using a hole saw. Do this step carefully to ensure the hole is straight.
  5. Use a spade bit to cut the hole for the latch following the same pace.
  6. Place the latch plate around the latch hole and trace around the edges.
  7. With the chisel, carve out any excess wood until the plate is flush with the door.
  8. Insert the latch through the hole, then screw the plate in place.
  9. Install the deadbolt through the door, and attach each end with screws.
  10. Install the strike plate by following the provided template.
  11. Mark the center of the door jamb, then drill out the hole for the latch using the spade bit.
  12. Use the chisel to remove extra wood on the door jamb to let the strike plate sit flat.

Can You Put A Deadbolt On A Hollow Door?

A white front door and a doorknob with deadbolt lock

Yes, a deadbolt can go on a hollow door, but it may require more force to make it possible, unlike a non-hollow door.

It's essential to make enough space for the deadbolt lock's components on both sides of the door if you will be installing it on a hollow-core door.

Installing A Deadbolt On A Hollow Door

You can still install a deadbolt yourself, even on a hollow door. To do so, check out the steps as follows:

  1. Identify how high the deadbolt lock will go on the door, then mark the position and center of the lock.
  2. Measure from the center of the circle to the edge and the top or bottom of the door. Do this for both front and back sides. The results from these measurements should be equal.
  3. On one side, use the hole saw to mark where the deadbolt will go. Keep your hand firm and steady, and saw slowly.
  4. Remove any excess wood from the hole saw.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the door.
  6. Turn the tailpiece in the lock plate clockwise. Place the other components of the tailpiece into the lock plate located in the hole.
  7. On the other side of the door, cover up the hole by attaching the screw plate. The two screw holes in the secure plate should run in a straight line at the top since it keeps the mechanism on the lock plate from moving.
  8. Place the bolts in their designated holes on the secure plate. Be sure to line them up with the lock piece on the opposite side of the door. Tighten them once you've ensured they line up with the lock
  9. Attach the thumb turn over the secure plate, positioning it making sure the screw holes are in line with holes in the secure plate. When the door is locked, the thumb turn should be straight.
  10. Fasten the screws to the thumb turn, then secure them with a screwdriver.

Do You Need A Locking Knob If You Have A Deadbolt?

A worker installing a deadbolt lock into the front door of a house

No, installing a deadbolt won't require you to have a locking knob. The purpose of a deadbolt lock is to provide added security to the home, particularly with entryways and exterior doors. And so, it can also work as the primary locking mechanism on a door.

Two locks on a door keep the door much more secure than a door with only one. However, it doesn't affect the performance and effectiveness of the additional deadbolt.

Deadbolts require using a knob or key to unlock, meaning they are more secure than most locks. In the same sense, it makes deadbolt lock well to stand alone.

If you want to know how many keys come with a deadbolt lock, read through this post: Do Deadbolt Locks Come With Keys?

The Bottomline

The placement of a deadbolt lock can affect how efficiently it works on the door. Typically, it would be set about 48 inches from the ground. Another factor to consider when positioning the lock is how far it stays from the handle, which follows a standard of 5 1/2 to 6 inches apart.

These measurements are vital when attaching a deadbolt lock on your own. Deadbolts don't require other door hardware before installing and can go most doors, including hollow core doors, as long as the proper installation process is followed.

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