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How to Replace a Door Knob on an Exterior Door

Want to learn how to replace a door knob on an exterior door?  Replacing a door knob is easy and hopefully this step-by-step tutorial with photos will help!

How to Replace a Door Knob
The “After”

I’m currently visiting my parents, 1000 miles from my house, and I’ve missed tackling home-related DIY projects.  I talked about this, and pined for some DIY, when I shared my tutorial for how to make a pair of simple (but pretty) earrings.  So I guess I caused this, lol:

How to Replace a Door KnobHow to Replace a Door KnobHow to Replace a Door Knob

My mom to left run an errand and, as she departed, she called out to me to come lock the door behind her.  Before I could reach it, she knocked on the door.  I giggled, because she and I both knew it was unlocked.  But when I opened the closed door I saw her standing there, holding the doorknob.  My dad had refused the change the weathered doorknobs, even though my mom repainted the exterior doors, because they were “still good”.  Nope, no they were not lol.  So instead of running errands, we headed to a local lock shop and picked out a nice sturdy new knob – nothing fancy (this is similar) – and Hubby and I installed it for her.  I figured I’d share, in case anyone needs a step-by-step guide for how to install a door knob on an exterior door, read on for instructions and an easy how-to for replacing a door knob!  Plus scroll down for photos of the new knobs and a glimpse at the outside on my adorable childhood home.

How to Replace a Door Knob on an Exterior Door:

First things first, remove the old knob.  Use the proper screwdriver (probably a Phillips, or “star” head) and remove the two screws from the interior knob (the exterior side won’t have screws like this, for safety).

How to Replace a Door Knob

Pull off the inner knob and you should see something like the photo below.  Note: the outer knob may fall off at this point, so be ready to catch it.

How to Replace a Door Knob

Pull off the outer knob and you are left with the inner hardware.

How to Replace a Door Knob

Remove the two screws from the escutcheon plate around the latch:

How to Replace a Door Knob

And then pull out the latch mechanism.

How to Replace a Door Knob

Here are the components that came in the box with the new doorknob.  Not all parts are used for all installations.  The manufacturer includes parts for different needs (eg. different shaped strike plates):

How to Replace a Door Knob

Most door latches are adjustable.  Before purchasing new hardware, measure the distance between the edge of the door and the centre of the knob and confirm that the new hardware will fit.  In our case, it was 2-3/4″, which is a standard dimension.

How to Replace a Door Knob

Put the escutcheon plate on the new latch.  For our installation there is a plate that is slid on from the left (see image below) and one from the right.

How to Replace a Door Knob

Slide the new latch into the door in the reverse of the removal and put the new screws into the escutcheon.  Ensure the latch is installed so the door can shut, but don’t shut it yet.  Slide the outer knob into the outer side of the door, through the latch mechanism.  The outer knob is the one with the screws in it.  This puts the screw heads on the inner side of the door.  This is for aesthetics on non-locking knobs, and security on locking knobs.

How to Replace a Door Knob

Slide the inner knob onto the mechanism of the outer knob and push the screw heads through the inner knob.  This is usually achieved by sliding the knob onto the center pin and then twisting the knob slightly so the screw heads can slide into the proper slots (sorry, I didn’t take a photo of this).  On some knobs you will have to remove the screws completely from the outer knob before installation, but everything else works the same.

All you have to do now is tighten up the screws and check for proper operation of the mechanism.  Make sure it all works before you shut the door for the first time.  This can save a bit of hassle.

It’s pretty straightforward, but hopefully these photos helped if you were looking for a tutorial for how to replace a door knob on an exterior door!

How to Replace a Door Knob
All finished replacing the door knob.How to Replace a Door Knob

Although the doorknobs to the two back doors were replaced with plain silver knobs, we tried to find a fancier one for the front, one that matches the vintage 1950s knobs inside the house (because the front door opens onto the living room).  Here’s the old, vintage knob from the living room:

Vintage Brass Door Knob
Original knobs, installed by my great-grandpa (he built the house.)

And here’s the new front door knob – kind of a similar shape, I think!  Best we could do on such short notice, haha. 

How to Replace a Door Knob
New front door knob.

P.S. Hubby did not replace the strike plates on the door frame because they are still in good condition, but the knob comes with new plates and screws if needed.

How to Replace a Door Knob

How pretty is this cinnamon coloured door with the pale grey exterior?

How to Replace a Door Knob



  1. Stephanie
    July 28, 2011 / 12:49 am

    I didn't know it until this post, but I heart door knobs!

  2. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    July 28, 2011 / 2:27 pm

    A new doorknob really freshens up a door – especially if it has a fresh coat of paint too.

  3. cred
    September 13, 2012 / 2:19 pm

    I'm kinda flitting around your site and found this older post. Do you (or your mom since she's with you) know the name/brand of that beautiful colour she painted her door.I was already considering orange but this colour just may be perfect.thanks,Cindy

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