How to Troubleshoot the Installation of Baldwin Locks

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Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Allen wrench (provided with lock set)


If you need to reposition the upper strike plate and the upper latch plate, you can fill the old screw holes with wood putty or jam small dowels into them. This will allow you to drill new guide holes very close to the old ones.

Repositioning the latch or strike plate may require you to enlarge the mortises, or the indentations in the door frame that hold these plates. You'll need a chisel and hammer for this operation.


It is important that you fix problems with the deadbolt and the latch as soon as possible. If these pieces are not engaging properly in their latch plates, it may make it possible for an intruder to open the door without a key. If the deadbolt is hard to turn, you may break the key in the lock while trying to open it.

As with all locksets, installing a Baldwin lock requires careful measurement and accurate drilling, cutting and mortising. Be sure to follow installation instructions carefully and use all supplied templates.

Baldwin Hardware manufactures a number of different exterior locksets for home and commercial applications. While these models may differ dramatically in aesthetics, their installation varies only slightly from model to model. There are a few basic problems that might arise, and effectively troubleshooting them involves recognizing the symptoms of a faulty installation. Fixing the problem usually takes just a few minutes to correct, assuming the door holes and frame mortise have been sized and positioned correctly.

Step 1

Remove the deadbolt turn knob assembly and the lock cylinder if the deadbolt won't turn without the key in it. From the inside of the door, extend the deadbolt all the way out by turning the slotted screw in the center of the mechanism clockwise with a flat-head screwdriver. Reinstall the cylinder with the long tailpiece held vertical. Hold the cylinder in this position while you reinstall the deadbolt turn knob assembly.

Step 2

Reinstall the spindle if the inside knob or lever doesn't retract the latch bolt and spins freely instead. Remove the lower handle set. The spindle is the square rod through the square hole in the latch mechanism and into the door handles. Remove and reinstall the spindle so that the short side of spindle faces the exterior of the house, and the long side of the spindle -- the side with the V groove in it -- faces the inside.

Step 3

Check the position of the set screw on the knob or lever if it keeps falling off the spindle. The set screw is on the underside of the knob or lever. It should fit into the V groove in the spindle and be fully tightened. Use the Allen wrench to loosen the set screw, check the position and tighten it again.

Step 4

Remove and relocate the deadbolt strike plate if the deadbolt extends when the door is open but won't extend when the door is closed. This indicates that the strike plate is not aligned properly with the deadbolt. With the door closed, look through the gap in the door and try to extend the deadbolt, noting whether the deadbolt is striking the upper or lower edge of the strike plate. Remove the strike plate and the reinforcing plate under it by removing the Phillips-head screws that hold the plates into the door. Reinstall them higher or lower on the door frame as needed.

Step 5

Call Baldwin customer service if you have to turn the deadbolt knob forcefully to get it to retract all the way. This is an indication that you received the wrong lock cylinder and it may need to be replaced.


Scott Knickelbine

Scott Knickelbine began writing professionally in 1977. He is the author of 34 books and his work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including "The New York Times," "The Milwaukee Sentinel," "Architecture" and "Video Times." He has written in the fields of education, health, electronics, architecture and construction. Knickelbine received a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in journalism from the University of Minnesota.