Changing a door handle

Changing door handles is a simple way of revamping doors, and you can now choose from a vast array of styles and materials to find the particular design that suits your tastes. In most cases, you do not need to change the latch mechanism when changing handles therefore making the job very straightforward indeed.

unscrewing old handle 1. Unscrew the existing handle – normally straightforward, but sometimes you may need to find a small screw (grub screw) under the handle or knob, which will allow you to dismantle the fitting. Fill any fixing holes with wood filler, sand smooth and repaint.
new spindle 2. Position the new spindle and handle to check the spindle’s length through the existing hole. Cut the spindle down with a junior hacksaw if necessary.
bradawl to mark fixings 3. Position the new spindle and handle and use a bradawl to mark the new fixing positions through the fixing holes in the handle plate.
pilot hole fixings 4. Pilot hole the marked off fixing points with a small wood bit. A 2-3mm bit is ideal. Simply drill to the depth of the fixing screws.
fit new handle 5. Fix the new handles in place. Use a handheld screwdriver, as it is easy to slip with a drill/driver and scratch or mark the handle surface.

Handle fitting tips

  • Remember that you only need to fill and paint the old fixing holes if the new handle doesn’t cover them.
  • If you are changing from a handle to a knob design, it may be necessary to change the latch mechanism. This is not because the knob won’t operate a handle latch, but because you may need a latch with a longer barrel so as to move the knob position further away from the edge of the door – otherwise you tend to catch your knuckles every time you open the door! Therefore if you have a 63mm latch, consider changing it to a longer one – the size is generally recommended by the knob manufacturer. If you need to fit a new longer latch, see the guide –‘Fitting internal doors’, where it shows you how to drill into the door edge and fit a latch.


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