How to Remove a Deadbolt Lock From a Door

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Set of screwdrivers with flat heads and Phillips (cross-recess)

  • Optional: needle-nosed pliers, thin-bladed knife


A pair of needle-nosed pliers or a thin-bladed knife are good optional tools to help loosen, pry and remove parts.

Deadbolt Parts

In the course of remodeling homes and salvaging hardware, I have often found doors and door frames that were damaged by an apparent attempt to force open a deadbolt lock on the door. In some cases, this might have been done by an intruder, but most often it resulted from frustration due the lock having been stuck or the mechanism jammed. But removing a deadbolt is a straightforward procedure that generally requires only the use of a screwdriver.

Step 1

Start by gaining access to the inside of the door, If the bolt is locked or jammed,enter via a window or removed ceiling panel, if possible.

Step 2

Removing Screws from Inside Faceplate

Locate the screws on the inside faceplate of the deadbolt. In the example pictured here, the screws are on either side of the handle used to turn the bolt manually. Select the proper type and size of screwdriver (standard flat or cross-recess), and remove the screws. The shanks of the screws are long, with a fine thread, and it usually requires a fair amount of time to remove them. Make note of the sequence in which you remove the parts, in the event that you will want to replace them in the correct order and location.

Step 3

Removing Inside Faceplate

Remove the inside faceplate. In some cases, it might be necessary to turn the faceplate counter-clockwise to unscrew it from the fitting, but most often, the faceplate will simply pull straight out.

Step 4

Removing Front Faceplate

Remove the outside faceplate from the opposite side of the door. Generally, this plate must be turned counter-clockwise to be unscrewed. In some cases there might be a small set-screw on the bottom side that must be removed before the faceplate can be turned. Inside the front faceplate is the locking mechanism for the deadbolt. If the lock is designed for keyed entry, the mechanism will slide out with the faceplate. In other designs, the mechanism is underneath the faceplate and will need to be removed separately. After this is accomplished, the bolt can usually be unjammed or unlocked by inserting a flat-head screwdriver into the slot where the shaft of the locking mechanism was previously placed, and turning it manually.

Step 5

Remove the sliding bolt by turning the door to the narrow edge and locating the set-plate, which has two screws, one on the top of the bolt's end and one below. Remove the screws with a screwdriver. The set-plate will often be attached to the bolt and its sleeve, and will slide out as one unit. In some older models, the plate and bolt with sleeve are removed separately. The task is now complete.

David Claerr

Artist, author, musician and researcher—the contemporary equivalent of the Renaissance Man—David A. Claerr is a professional graphic designer and a certified Adobe expert. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Bachelor of Art Education from Eastern Michigan University.