How High Should A Deadbolt Be On A Door?

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A deadbolt lock is a popular addition to any entry door, adding security due to its design and durability. If you plan on installing one of these deadbolts to your doors, you might be wondering how to measure where it should go. For your convenience, we have carefully researched how high your deadbolts should be on a door.

When installing a deadbolt into your door, you must consider its distance from any existing handles and the bottom of the door frame. The deadbolt and door handle should remain about 6 inches apart. The deadbolt should typically measure around 44 to 48 inches from the bottom of the door frame.

Installing deadbolts at the correct height will ensure that you can use them conveniently and effectively. Keep reading to learn how to prepare your door for a deadbolt, if door knobs are all the same height, and if deadbolts are different from deadlocks.

A wooden door with a deadbolt lock and a key stuck on it, How High Should A Deadbolt Be On A Door?

Where Do You Put A Deadbolt?

Deadbolts increase security because they are generally stronger, heavier, and deeper than a traditional spring-loaded latch in your door knob.

As such, they are widely used above the door handles on exterior doors. Usually, they can only be used manually, so they should always be within comfortable reaching distance. But there are several standard measurements you can follow when you install a deadbolt.

Click here to find this deadbolt on Amazon.

Measurements

A primed deadbolt lock

Consult your own building codes before adding anything. Also, remember to double-check the unique manufacturer requirements for the selected lock.

You can use a pencil to mark all of the necessary measurements, but you can also dig in a small hole with a chisel.

Click here to see this chisel set on Amazon.

First, measure the width of your door so that you can purchase a corresponding deadbolt.

The minimum distance between the center of the deadbolt and the center of the door knob is 5 1/2 inches, but the standard is 6 inches. It’s proper to keep the two from bumping into each other, so it’s best to place the deadbolt above the door knob rather than below.

The maximum distance between them is around 12 inches. Anything more is likely going to be too inconvenient, especially for doors that are going to be used every day.

A locked deadbolt on the door

Next, you should measure the “backset,” which is the technical term for the distance between the deadbolt and the side of the door.

Again, it is important to line up the center of the deadbolt with the center of any existing door handles or knobs.

However, If you don’t have a handle or door knob yet, you can always use the conventional backset measurements. Deadbolts are usually installed about 2 3/8 inches from the side of the door, but sometimes it can reach 2 3/4 inches.

You may also measure the vertical distance from the bottom of the door frame to the deadbolt. The standard distance is 48 inches, but adjustments should be made for the existing handles.

Are All Door Knobs The Same Height?

A huge covered entryway for a carpark

Because door knobs and handles determine the deadbolt height, it’s important to understand that specialists agree that door knobs can vary in height.

Door knobs can freely be installed anywhere between 34 inches and 48 inches from the floor. However, many contractors simply place them 36 inches above the ground. This is mainly due to building codes and ADA accessibility, which makes them comfortable for anyone to reach.

The height of a door knob typically changes when it involves children. For example, pool areas often have door handles that measure 40 inches from the ground for safety purposes. Conversely, other door knobs may be lower to make it easier for kids to use.

Sometimes, the size of the door is also a factor. If the entry doors are unusually large, such as 80-inch doors, then the door handle might also measure 40 inches from the ground. This creates symmetry so that the doors don’t look disproportionate.

How To Prepare Door For Deadbolt

After measuring and marking the location of the deadbolt, you can begin using the standard template that comes with most kits.

Click here to see this deadbolt installation kit on Amazon.

The template is typically a double-sided piece of paper that helps define where to drill your pilot holes. This template can be secured to the door using simple painter’s tape.

Put on safety goggles and a mask to protect yourself from debris. Then, use a power drill to complete the pilot holes where directed by the instructions.

It is crucial to keep the drill level, so you should consider purchasing a drill guide. They are often relatively inexpensive, so it’s a worthwhile investment to prevent serious mistakes.

Click here to find this drill guide on Amazon.

Next, you’ll need to remove the template and drill out the cylinder for your lock. This will require a hole saw for your power drill. Make sure to drill through the door from both ends, or your door will splinter.

Click here to see this hole saw kit on Amazon.

Now, fit the cylinder lock into place and measure where the cylinder bar needs to be cut. You can use simple pliers to cut it down to size.

Drill the mounting plate to the door, and fit the cylinder lock into place with screws. You’ll actually need to unlock the cylinder with the key in order to access one of the screw holes. After this, you can simply screw on the latch plate.

Installing The Strike Plate

This piece of the mechanism is what sits flush with the door jamb, securing the deadbolt and reinforcing the area.

Click here to find this strike plate on Amazon.

First, line up the strike plate with the lock. Then, mark the door jamb by tracing the outlines of the strike plate. Add a mark for the center point.

Put your safety gear back on. Use a hammer and a chisel to break off the wood until the plate can be fitted into the jamb. If you're having trouble with the woodworking, you can read our post How To Repair A Door Frame With Wood Filler to fix any issues.

Measure the length of the bolt to determine how deep you need to drill into the door jamb. Use another hole saw to drill into the door jamb until you match the depth of the bolt.

You can use painter’s tape on the hole saw as a cue for when to stop drilling. A spade bit is also generally used for this step.

Click here to find this spade bit set on Amazon.

Return to an ordinary bit to drill the pilot holes and screws through the plate.

How Much Is A Deadbolt Lock?

A deadbolt lock with a key stuck on it

Big retail chains like Home Depot offer deadbolts ranging anywhere from $12-$40. Locks that are more expensive usually add extra durability or elaborate mechanisms.

For example, there are also electronic deadbolts that require the use of a keypad and code to open. While some only cost around $50, others can range as high as hundreds of dollars because of the added security.

You can read our post Can You Put A Keypad On A Sliding Door? if you need to add electronic security to an unconventional door, like pool area entrances.

Click here to find this electronic deadbolt on Amazon.

Experts advise that hiring a professional to install an ordinary deadbolt might also cost hundreds of dollars. But this average is certain to change based on your local area.

How Long Do Deadbolt Locks Last?

This varies greatly based on the quality of the lock, the conditions of the environment and usage, and your maintenance upkeep.

Specialists suggest that average locks may only last seven years, although locks that don’t receive too much traffic can operate for decades.

In Closing

A wooden door with a deadbolt lock and a key stuck on it

Adding a deadbolt lock to any door can help increase your security because it must be manually triggered, and has improved strength. You can now install a deadbolt to any door, adding more safety than a traditional spring-loaded knob, while keeping the same level of convenience.

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