How to Fit Door Handles and Latch to Interior Doors

Last Updated on July 21, 2022

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From this post, you will learn how to fit the latch, latch plate and door handles to a new door and door frame.

First of all, decide on an appropriate height for the door handles and mark the centre of the door handle on the edge of the door with a pencil.

Using a square, mark this centre line for approximately 4″ (100mm) on the face of the door (the pencil mark can be removed later with an eraser or damp cloth).

Hold the door latch against the face of the door, flush with the door edge, and mark the spindle centre on your previously marked centre line (see Fig 1).

Mark spindle centre on door

The holes for the door latch and spindle can now be drilled (see Fig 2).

Measure the diameter and length of the door latch. The majority of door latches are tubular so you only have to drill a circular hole using either a brace and bit or a battery/power drill with a suitably sized wood bit, or as I prefer, with a battery drill and hole saw, as I find this easier to control with regard to the drill cutting speed and keeping the hole straight and level.

Don’t forget to add a few millimetres to the depth of the hole to allow for the recess that will be cut in the door edge for the front plate (forend) of the latch.

Drill the spindle centre hole through the door using a pilot drill, the hole can then be drilled with the correct size of bit (so the spindle can turn), from each side of the door to avoid the wood splintering.

Cut the recess in the door edge, using your wood chisel and hammer, to accommodate the front plate (forend) of the latch and then place the latch in position.

Before fixing it in place, check the spindle passes through it and can turn freely, if not, make any adjustments necessary then fix the latch in position.

If the door is hardwood, use a small pilot drill for the wood screws, if it is softwood use a bradawl or thin screwdriver to give the screws a ‘start’.

Drill holes for latch and spindle - Recess door edge to fit latch flush

The latch plate can now be fitted to the door frame.

Close the door ‘to’ and mark the centre of the latch tongue on the door frame. Measure the distance (as shown in Fig 3 as A) and transfer this measurement to the door frame.

Position the latch plate in what will be its fixed position and mark out the door frame for the recess and any hole that will be required for the latch tongue, when these have been cut out using your wood chisel and hammer, the latch plate can be fixed in position on the door frame using whichever method is appropriate (pilot drill or bradawl).

Mark out and cut recess for latch plate in door frame

To fix the handles to the door (see Fig 4), drill small pilot holes for the wood screws and check, dependant on the door handle shape, that the handles are square to the door edge before fully tightening the screws.

Always use the correct size screwdriver to suit the screws you are using, a screwdriver slipping could easily scratch the door handle.

Fix door handles in position

Tools Required

  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wood chisel
  • Hammer
  • Bradawl
  • Power / battery drill
  • Wood drill bits
  • Small pilot drill bit
  • Dust sheet

There are a vast amount of door handles and latches on the market, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Good luck!