Learning, Drilling,

How to Put a Lock on a Door without Drilling (3 Methods)

In this article, you’ll learn how to put a lock on a door without drilling.

Even though drilling is the easiest way to set up a door lock, you’ll have to find alternative installation methods in some cases. For instance, unavailability of a drill, agreements with the landlord, or door jamb layouts will prevent you from installing a door lock by drilling. As a handyman, I have seen all types of methods and compiled a list of great ones below.

To install a door lock without drilling, you can:

  • Use a key entry door knob
  • Use a portable door lock
  • Use Top-of-Door lock

You’ll find more details in my below article.

Method 1 – Use Keyed Entry Door Knob

Brink's keyed entry door knob
Video | Phil Crockett

If you can’t drill the door to install a lock, using a keyed entry door knob is the easiest and quickest fix. But you’ll need a good understanding of these locks.

They are also known as privacy knobs. They come with a turning lock on one side of the door, and the other side has a keyhole. Hence, you only need the key for one side of the door.

How to Install a Keyed Entry Door Knob?

Installation of this type of keyed entry door knob is simple. You only need a screwdriver for this. No drilling is required. Simply replace the old door knob with a new one. Use the old holes for the new lock. As I mentioned, you don’t need to drill the door. Here is a simple guide to installing a keyed entry door lock.

Step 1 – Measure and Find a Keyed Entry Door Knob That Fits

Remember to check the door knob size on the door before buying. At least take the outer measurement.

Step 2 – Remove the Old Door Lock

screw and remove old door knob
Video | Phil Crockett

Then, take a screwdriver and loosen the screws holding the old door knob. After removing the screws, pull out the old door knob.

Step 3 – Install the New Latch

install new door latch
Video | Phil Crockett

Next, take the new latch and install it on the old holes. Remember, you don’t need to drill new holes for this. Use the screwdriver to adjust the hole size according to the new latch if needed. Tighten the screws using the screwdriver.

Step 4 – Install the Door Knob

separate the keyed entry door knob into two parts
Video | Phil Crockett

Now, separate the keyed entry door knob into two parts. Keyed entry door knobs come with two knobs; an inside knob and an outside knob.

installing door knob
Video | Phil Crockett

The knob that comes with a keyhole is the outside knob. And the knob that comes with a thumb turn is the inside knob. So, identify these two parts before installing the door knob.

align inside and outside knob
Video | Phil Crockett

Then, place the inside knob and outside knob accordingly and align them correctly. 

Step 5 – Check the Door Lock

checking door knob
Video | Phil Crockett

Finally, test your new door lock. You need to make sure there is no give, and its cant is taken out easily with force.

Not the Perfect Option for External Doors?

However, this is not the safest option if you plan to use the keyed entry door knob on an external door. These locks can be easily unlocked with some practice. So, this may not be the best option for external doors. But this is the perfect solution for internal doors when you are not allowed to drill new holes in the door.

Method 2 – Use a Portable Door Lock

Using a portable door lock is an excellent solution if you plan to install a door lock without drilling. You can also use these locks as temporary door locks. Here are some uses of a portable door lock.

  • You can childproof a guest room.
  • An excellent option for open or remodeling houses.
  • You can use them in motel rooms that don’t have any locks.

How Does a Portable Door Lock Work?

The mechanism of a portable door lock is pretty simple.

It jams the door from the inside. Some portable lock blocks the door latch, and some lock the hinge. Either way, no one can enter your room without your permission after you put on a portable lock. The installation and removal are straightforward. It would take a few seconds to install and remove the portable door lock from your door.

Here are some of my favorite portable door locks.

Door Strike Plate Locks

woman using door strike plate locks
Video | QVCtv

These strike plate portable locks are the most popular, and they come with two parts; a steel plate and a lock. The steel plate goes inside the door strike plate. (1)

door strike plate's locking mechanism
Video | QVCtv

You can use the lock to activate the locking mechanism, and the lock goes into the side of the steel plate. This simple mechanism prevents the door from opening.

Door Jammers

woman using door jammers
Video | DoorJammer

If you are looking for a reliable portable door lock, door jammers are the best option.

These locks have a part that connects with the floor, and the other part holds the door. After you apply the door jammer, opening the door will be nearly impossible. The door jammer can take any horizontal force that comes toward the door.

Door Braces

Door braces use a similar mechanism as the door jammers except for the movable part. Door braces come in two different parts. One part is fixed to the floor, and the other is moveable. These portable door locks are highly durable and can withstand up to 3000 pounds. (2)

Method 3 –Top-of-Door Lock

Lastly, I got the perfect door lock for childproofing a door.

This lock is designed to block the door from opening in either direction. It goes to the top of the door. Hence, your child won’t be able to reach it. To install a Top-of–Door lock, follow these steps.

door peg installation
Video | KidSafeHome

door peg
Video | KidSafeHome

  1. Open the door.
  2. Connect the peg to the top of the door frame.
  3. Place the door lock on top of the door.
  4. Close the door.
  5. Slide the door lock into the fixed peg.

Quick Tip: Depending on the type of the lock above installation process might vary.

Few Other Methods for Locking a Door without Drilling

Apart from the above three main techniques, here are some simple alternative methods to lock the door without drilling.

Security Bar

Security bars are the easiest option if you are looking for a door lock that can block significant force. After being installed, an intruder cannot easily kick down the door. Security bars are similar to barricades. They come with two heavy-duty brackets and a thick wood or metal bar.

The brackets can be installed on the door frame, and the metal bar goes through the two brackets. This simple yet effective technique completely blocks the door from opening.

You’ll get a better idea from the above image.

Use a Fork

using fork to lock door
Video | ZSBvids

Using a fork is the best option for those looking for a cheap and easy method to lock the door. Here’s how you can use a fork as a portable door lock.

  1. Insert the fork into the latch and mark the depth on the fork.
  2. Bend the fork from the marked position.
  3. Cut off the fork handle.
  4. Insert the bent fork prongs into the latch hole.
  5. Close the door.
  6. Insert the handle into the middle prong.

That’s it. Now your door is locked.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) steel – https://www.britannica.com/technology/steel
(2) pounds – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/

Video References

Phil Crockett


NIGHTLOCK Door Barricade



Insight Security


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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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