How to Install a Bolt on a Dutch Door

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A Dutch door is one that has two halves, or leaves, with one on top of the other. The top and bottom halves open separately, allowing you to keep the bottom half closed while leaving the top open. Dutch door bolts are locks that connect the two halves of a Dutch door so they move in unison when you open or close the door. The bolt is a sliding barrel-type lock, with a bolt that you slide down into a hollow strike.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Drill with screwdriver bit
  • Screws (should come with bolt)
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Chisel

Line up the top and bottom halves of the door, or close both of them.

Measure at least 2 inches back from the side of the door on both halves. Mark both spots with a pencil. Compare the spots you marked with the location of the doorknob and any other latches or locks; measure back another inch or so if needed in order to place the bolt so it’s not in the way of any of these. Joseph Truini, author of “Building a Shed: Expert Advice From Start to Finish,” recommends placing the bolt 5 inches away.

Position the top bolt part of the Dutch door bolt by the mark on the top half of the door, and adjust its location as desired. Mark the screw holes with a pencil. Drill pilot holes at the marks, reposition the bolt and drill screws into each pilot hole.

Hold the strike plate against the bottom half of the door under the top half of the bolt. Mark the sides of the strike plate on the bottom door so that you know where to install the strike plate. Don’t mark the screw holes yet. The strike plate will actually sit a little lower after you carve out a small part of the door’s edge, so when you go to attach the strike plate, the screw holes will be a little lower as well.

Move the bottom half of the door out a bit and place the strike portion of the bolt on the top edge. The strike plate has a bend in it that hugs the edge of the door. Place the plate where you want it and carve a light outline around the top portion with the utility knife. Don’t make it too deep; just enough to be visible. The pocket into which the bolt will side should be on the front of the door.

Measure the thickness of the part of the strike plate that sits on top of the door. This portion is actually supposed to sit in the top of the door, so you must cut part of the door away, a process known as mortising or cutting a mortise. If you have the specific manufacturer’s instructions for the bolt, use the measurement given there.

Measure the same distance down the front of the door from the top of the edge. Cut a light line with the utility knife.

Deepen the outline with the chisel and hammer, lightly. When chiseling on top, don’t chisel deeper than the amount marked off in front.

Remove the wood in the outlined segment with the chisel and hammer. Chisel lightly and in bits so you don’t take out more than you need to. The newly exposed surface should be flat.

Lay the strike plate back in the mortised section to check if the plate is now even with the top of the door. Chisel out more bits of wood if necessary, but look out -- don’t take out too much. Dummies.com says to keep the plate flush with the wood, and not lower than the surface of the wood.

Position the strike plate back on the door and drill screws into the plate’s holes to secure it.

Lock the bolt and test opening and closing the door.

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