French doors are a unique, decorative way to add elegance to your home, particularly when you install them as exterior doors. The glass panels in the doors allow you to take advantage of as much natural light as possible, but they also mean you'll need to be careful about installing locks so that you don't damage the glass panels. Some door styles come without a pre-installed lock system, so you'll have to add a lock to the door before you install them. Here are the steps you'll need to follow to install a brand new lock on your new French doors.
Drill the Holes
Before you can install a lock set on a door, you'll need to use the template that comes with the lock set to mark where the holes need to be for proper installation. Every template will have a set of measurements that tell you how far up from the floor you should place the door handle and lock assembly. Measure to the proper location, then tape the template to the door.
Drill a pilot hole through the largest hole on the template. That hole is where the main assembly will go, along with the door handle. You'll want the pilot hole to pass completely through the door.
Once you have the pilot hole, drill the full hole with a hole saw. Center the hole saw directly on the pilot hole, then drill halfway through the wood. Move to the opposite side of the door and repeat the process until the hole is drilled all the way through. It's best to do it this way so that you don't splinter the wood by passing straight through the other side. This reduces the chances of glass breakage as well.
Move to the inside edge of the door and drill the latch bolt hole with a spade bit. Drill it in the space indicated by the template. Then, drill the remaining holes as indicated on the template. This will clear the spaces needed for you to install the lock set and door knob.
Drilling for the Strike Plate
Tape the strike plate template onto the opposing French door. You'll follow the same measurements as indicated by the lockset you purchased. It's important that you measure carefully when you position the template for the strike plate, otherwise the two components won't line up.
Drill the latch hole according to the template provided. You'll want a spade bit for this section. Drill the remaining holes for the fasteners and screws that will secure the strike plate, then remove the templates from the doors.
Center the strike plate over the latch hole that you drilled, then trace around the outer edge of the plate with a sharp utility knife. Set the strike plate aside, then use a chisel and hammer to clear out a recessed space in the door. This will make space for the strike plate to install without leaving a gap between the doors.
Installing the Deadbolt
Tape the deadbolt lock template to the door so that the template is about six inches above the lockset center line. Drill a pilot hole for the deadbolt and then use a hole saw to cut the holes, working from opposing sides of the door as you did with the previous hole. Use a spade bit to drill the opening on the other side that will accommodate the actual bolt from the lock.
Place the deadbolt lock assembly, bolt and strike plates on the doors. Secure them with the screws or fasteners provided with the lock. Do the same with the door handles that will complete the set. Test the fit on the doors before you connect the hinges, so that you can be sure that the locks will fit before you put the doors up. Then, you can put the doors in place on the hinges.
When it comes to securing new French doors, you'll need to be careful about your lock installations. French doors are prone to some surface splintering when you drill through the wood, so taking the right precautions will help preserve the doors. By following the guidelines on the lock template and the steps here, you can install your own lock and secure your new doors. For more information about french doors, contact a local supplier, like The Door and Window Store.