Skip to content

A deadbolt lock only keeps the bad guys out if it’s installed properly. A deadbolt lock is only secure when the bolt is fully extended into the door frame. if it isn’t fully extended, it’s possible to unlock the door without a key. We show you one common problem with deadbolt lock installations that’s easy to identify and easy to fix.

Tools & Materials Needed

  • Electric drill.
  • Spade bit for drill.

Steps To Inspect and Repair an Improperly Installed Deadbolt Lock

  1. Test the deadbolt by turning the twist knob to latch and unlatch the lock with the door open and then again with the door closed. If the twist knob lever stops in the same position for both tests, the strike plate and hole are most likely installed properly.
  2. If the twist knob stops short when the door is closed, the hole in the door frame has not been drilled deep enough, which could make it easier for a criminal to defeat the lock.
  3. Remove the strike plate from the door frame. Do not try to deepen the hole without removing the plate. If you don’t remove the strike plate, the opening will not be wide enough for the spade bit and it could snag, causing the drill to buck. This could easily injure you or damage the door frame. Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when using tools.
  4. Using the appropriate-sized spade bit and an electric drill, cut the hole in the door frame about 1/4 inch deeper.
  5. Test the latch mechanism again. If the twist knob stops in the same position with the door opened and closed, the hole is deep enough. If not, use the drill to make the hole another 1/4 inch deeper.
  6. Test the deadbolt latch again, if necessary.
  7. If the lock tests properly, re-install the strike plate and test the lock one more time to make sure the bolt is not snagging on the door frame.

Return to DIY Video Library

Back To Top