How to Install a Deadbolt on a Steel Door

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Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses or goggles

  • Tape measure

  • Center punch

  • Hammer

  • Wooden doorstop

  • Electric drill

  • 2 1/8 inch bimetal hole saw

  • 1 inch bimetal hole saw (for metal edge doors)

  • 1 inch drill bit (for wood edge doors)

  • Screwdriver


Most doors have wooden edges, and most metal edge doors are prepunched for a lock set.

Backset is the spacing from the edge of the door to the center of the lock cylinder. Standard locks have a backset of 2 3/8 inches or 2 ¾ inches, and many are adjustable for either backset. For aesthetic reasons, it’s best to choose a deadbolt with the same backset as the door’s knob.


Always wear eye protection when using power tools. Keep long hair away from spinning drills.

With the right tools, installing a deadbolt in a steel door is easy
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Installing a deadbolt lock on a steel door may sound intimidating, but with the right tools, it's a fairly simple task. Steel doors are easy to drill into using a bimetal hole saw and an electric drill. Most moderately skilled amateurs can complete this task in about half an hour.


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Step 1

Measure 42 inches up from the bottom of the door, on the inside, and a distance from the door's edge equal to your lock's backset. Make a mark using the center punch and hammer. Make another mark 42 inches from the door's bottom and centered on the door's edge.

Step 2

Drill a hole in the face of the door using the 2 1/8 inch hole saw, starting from your mark on the inside. Drill until the pilot bit of the hole saw comes through the outside of the door. Stop drilling and open the door partway. Wedge the doorstop under the door to keep it stable as you drill. Using the pilot hole to guide you, finish drilling from outside the door.


Step 3

Using the 1 inch hole saw (for metal edge doors) or the 1 inch drill bit (for wooden edge doors), drill a hole starting at your mark on the edge of the door. Stop drilling when you intersect the hole you drilled in Step 2.

Step 4

Install the bolt assembly from your lock set into the one inch hole, securing it with two small screws.

Step 5

Install the cylinder assembly by placing the keyed side on the outside of the door, and placing the thumb latch on the inside of the door. Secure with two long machine screws.