Fitting a mortice latch can seem like an overwhelming task, so we've broken it down into an easy-to-follow guide!

In this guide, we're using a 2.5" Heavy Duty Tubular Mortice Latch on a solid oak door, paired with a Lever Latch Handle. The same principles apply for most latches, deadbolts, and locks, with slight variations depending on the product you're using.

 

1. Mark the latch position

With your door off the hinges, lay it down sideward and mark the position of the latch. This position is decided by the height at which you want your door handle/knob - this can vary based on the size of your door and your personal preferences.

Mark a cross at the required height and centrally on the edge of the door. A try square can be used to ensure the line is parallel on each side of the door.

Person using a pencil to mark a line on the edge of a wooden door

 

2. Mark the faceplate

With the square face plate held onto the latch position on your pencil mark and centrally on the edge of the door.

Draw around the square faceplate with a pencil taking care to make sure all is central and not too close to the edge.

Person marking the position of a latch on the edge of a wooden door.

 

3. Drill

Using your pencil cross (which should be centered in the outline of the latch faceplate), drill into the door edge using an auger drill bit.

The size of your drill bit will depend on the size of the latch casing, so make sure it's large enough to allow the latch to easily slide into the door. It's worth doing this drilling now because once you start chiselling in the next stages, all the pencil marks will be removed.

Person drilling a hole into a wooden door.

4. Brace your door

Depending on the thickness of your door, it may be worth bracing the door with some scrap wood and a G clamp, since the latch faceplate might be very close to the edge of the door.

Start by carefully chiselling around the outline pencil marks of the faceplate.

 

Person bracing a wooden door with a G clamp.

 

5. Chisel

Once the outline has been made, begin to carefully chisel out enough of the door edge to enable the latch and faceplate to sit flush with the surface.

Person using a chisel to make a hole for a latch in a wooden door.

 

6. Re-drill your hole

Using the existing hole, you may want to re-drill your hole using the same auger bit to ensure the latch casing will fit properly and to the right depth.

Person using an auger drill bit to drill a hole in the edge of a wooden door.

 

7. Position the spindle

The next step is to position the spindle which passes through the door latch and connects the two door handles together.

Start by holding the latch in the correct position along the face of the door, ensuring it aligns with the drilled hole. Using a pencil, draw a mark through the spindle hole in the latch.

Person holding a latch to the edge of a wooden door and using a pencil to mark the position of the spindle.

 

8. Drill the spindle hole

Using the mark you've just made through the spindle hole, you'll need to drill a hole all the way through the door. This will allow the spindle to pass from one handle hrough the door, operate the latch, and connect the handle on the other side.

Use an auger bit drill and drill a hole big enough for a 7/8mm spindle to pass through.

Person using an auger drill bit to drill a hole through a wooden door.

 

9. Insert the latch

Now you're ready to insert the latch with its faceplate into the edge of the door and ensure everything sits flush. 

If it doesn't fit flush, you may need to amend the size of the hole.

Person inserting a latch into a hole in the edge of a wooden door.

 

10. Fix the latch

With the faceplate in position, drill pilot holes and fix the latch in place using the screws provided.

Person using a screw driver to fix a latch faceplate to the edge of the wooden door.

 

11. Fit your hardware

With your mortice latch fitted, you should now be ready to fit your handle or knob set, and hang your door on the frame (using butt hinges or any other type of hinge you decide to use).

Once your handle has been fitted and the door is on it's frame, you can prepare to fit the receiver/keep. Start by closing the door and marking when the latch hits the frame of a door with a light pencil mark.

Person using a pencil to mark the location of the latch on a door frame.

 

12. Continue marking the latch

After marking the top and bottom of the latch, open the door and continue the marks around the door frame to get the final resting position of your latch.

Person using a pencil to mark the location of a reciever/keep for a mortice latch on a wooden door frame.

 

13. Mark the reverse of the door

Hold up the reciever plate to the position of the faceplate on the latch and mark on the reverse of the reciever where the edge of the door sits.

Person holding a reciever plate to the position of the faceplate on the latch and marking on the reciever where the edge of the door sits.

 

14. Position your reciever plate

Hold up the reciever plate to the door frame so it's centralised with your latch lines on the wood and the door line on the back of the reciever. This gives an excellent position for fitting the plate.

Person holding a reciever plate up to the edge of a door frame.

 

15. Mark the reciever position

Hold the plate firmly in position and use a pencil to draw around the outer part of the receiver, the two fixing holdes, and the latch hole.

Person using a pencil to draw the outline of a receiver plate on the door frame.

 

16. Position the latch tidy

Hold the black plastic latch tidy up to the frame and position centrally in the outline you've just drawn.

This is used to tidy up the appearance of the door frame once you've chiselled and drilled out the wood.

Person using a pencil to mark the position of a black latch tidy on a wooden door frame.

 

17. Drill your holes

With all your marks made, we recommend drilling any holes prior to starting chisel work as the pencil marks will be removed once chiselling begins.

Drill pilot holes for the two fixings and for a guide to drill out the frame for the latch to actually sit in.

Person using an electric drill to drill holes in a wooden door frame.

 

18. Create space for a latch tidy

Using your central guide hole, use an auger bit to drill a space large enough for the black plastic latch tidy to fit comfortably.

An auger drill bit used to create a large hold in a wooden door frame to accomodate a latch tidy.

 

19. Chisel a space for the receiver plate

Chisel out the main square area deep enough for the tidy to fit snugly into. Then, carefully chisel out the outline previously drawn for the receiver plate to sit flush with the surface of the frame.

Person using a chisel to cut out an area of door frame to fit a receiver tidy.

 

20. Position the latch

Position the latch tidy in place to confirm it all fits properly and place the receiver over the top.

Person positioning a black plastic keep tidy in a hole in the frame of a door.

 

21. Fit the receiver plate

Using the pilot hole from a previous step, fix both the tidy and the receiver plate in place using the wood screws provided.

Person screwing a receiver plate to a door frame using wood screws.

 

22. Admire your work

Now is the moment of truth. Close the door and test the handle/knob - see if it works with the latch. With any luck, your door should close easily, fit perfectly into the door frame, and open just as smoothly.

Pewter lever latch door handle fitted to a wooden door.

 

If you're unsure about any part of this fitting guide, take a look at our FAQs or get in touch with us for some expert advice on your project!

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