How to Fit a Barrel Bolt or Sliding Bolt to a Door in Your Home for Extra Security

Summary: In this project we will show you all you need to know about how to fit a sliding bolt or barrel bolt as they are sometimes known to a door in your home. This will provide you with additional security for your home. You will learn the best positions for fixing your door bolt or bolts, how to fix them so that they are level and also how to cut the door keep into a section of architrave if needed.

Don't want to do this job yourself? Let us help you find a tradesman local to you

Fitting a barrel or sliding bolt is one of the easier DIY projects. To fit a door bolt, follow through the instructions below.

Different Types of Door Bolt

You will need to decide on what type of sliding bolt or barrel bolt you are going to use, there are quite a few available. Most of these types of door bolt can be surface mounted on the door or window making them easy to fit. Some examples can be seen below:

Brass Door Bolt

Brass door bolt

Pin type door bolt

Pin type door bolt

Straight sliding bolt

Straight sliding bolt

Padlock bolt

Door bolt with padlock latch - Available from our online store

Tools Needed for Fitting a Sliding Bolt or Barrel Bolt

In order to complete this project we recommend that you have the following tools available:

  • Door bolt kit
  • Pencil
  • Small spirit level or boat float
  • Medium grade sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • 1/2 inch chisel
  • Flat edge screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Selection of small drill bits 2 - 4mm if possible or a bradawl

How to Fit a Door Bolt and Door Keep

Decide on Height of Door Latch

The first task is to decide at what height on the door you want your bolt to be at. There are no rules for this and now is the time to decide if you actually want two bolts, one at the top of the door and one at the bottom. Two bolts will obviously provide a bit more security than just the one and considering the cost it's well worth adding two.

Door with bolts top and bottom

Door with door bolts fixed top and bottom

With your position chosen, hold only the bolt on the door. Make sure that the end of the bolt is not overhanging the door itself and touching on the frame. Position it right on the edge of the door so that you have the maximum length available from the bolt.

Mark First Screw Hole and Drill Pilot Hole

Using a pencil, make a mark inside the screw hole on the bolt furthest from the edge of the door. To ensure that the bolt is fitted straight and level we are going to insert one screw and level it up from there. With your hole marked, remove the bolt from the door.

Next, we are going to create a pilot hole for the screw. Due to the small size of the screws normally used to fix a door bolt you will need to use a very small drill bit, 2 - 3mm should be fine (depending on the size of screw you are using - manufacturers instructions on the packaging should state the size of hole). If you have a bradawl then this will be ideal. Drill in about 5mm.

Marking and fixing first screw in door bolt

Position the door bolt and mark the first screw. Drill your pilot hole and then screw up, but not too tight

Screw on Door Bolt in First Screw Hole

Now, position the bolt back on the door ensuring that screw hole is over your pilot hole. Using a screwdriver or cordless drill/driver insert the screw into the hole but do not tighten it all the way just yet, allow a little movement.

Level Door Bolt and Mark Second Screw Hole

Now, swing the hanging bolt up until it's level by eye. Using your boat float, position it along the flat top edge of the bolt and adjust until it's absolutely level and mark the top left hand screw hole with your pencil.

Remove the level and allow the bolt to swing back down out of the way and drill another pilot hole for your second screw. Swing the bolt back up and insert your screw and tighten it all the way up and also now tighten up the top right hand screw.

Insert Remaining Screws

Depending on the type and size of lock you have you may have four or six screw holes. You can now work your way around them, inserting screws and screwing them up.

Screw in top screw nearest door edge when level

Level up the door bolt and then mark, drill and screw the top screw hole nearest the door

Mark Fixings for Door Keep

With the door bolt now fixed firmly to the door the final job is to fix the bolt keep onto the door frame.

Extend the bolt out slightly and push the bolt keep over it. Close the door up until the keep touches the door frame. This will now mark the position on the frame where the keep will need to be fixed.

Chisel out Architrave if Needed

At this point you may now need to chisel a little out of the architrave to allow the keep to be fixed at the same level as the bolt itself.

If this is the case, use your pencil to mark around the the area that needs removing and open the door up. Take a suitable size chisel (should be around 1/2 inch) and carefully chisel the architrave back until to reach the door frame. Please make sure you are gentle. Remove only small pieces at a time and don't just whack it as you may end up splitting the architrave or frame.

Fix door keep into recess in architrave

Fix door keep to door frame within recess in architrave

Tidy up the Recess

Once you have removed the bulk tidy up the edges using the chisel and then a medium grade piece of sand paper. As this will probably be quite a tight area to get into you can wrap the sand paper over the end of the chisel or a screwdriver and use it as a sanding block to really get into those corners and give yourself a nice sharp, tidy finish.

Fix the Door Keep

Now, put the bolt keep back onto the end of the bolt and close the door back up. With the keep flush on the door frame use your pencil to mark the screw holes on the frame. Ensure there is a little movement around the bolt in the keep so that once all fixed, it is not too stiff to close. Remove the keep and open up the door again.

Drill your pilot holes using the same method described above and then screw your bolt keep firmly to the frame

Don't Forget any Painting!

NOTE: Just before you fix the keep to the frame, if you have had to chisel out a section of architrave now is a good time to paint the bare wood that now remains. Paint it up and leave it until dry and then screw up the keep to the frame and you're finished! Another job well done!

Don't fancy doing this project yourself? We work with Plentific to ensure that we recommend only reliable and trustworthy tradesmen.

All project content written and produced by

Project Feedback