How to Fit a Barrel Bolt to a Door

Barrel bolts or sometimes named sliding bolts are an alternative to external or internal door locks with keys, they are a simple locking mechanism and super easy to fit along with being one of the cheapest solutions to securing a door. Available in many different sizes, styles and finishes giving you a choice of bolt that will be most suited to the door, some of which are straight others cranked and even those that are designed for use with padlocks which are ideal for sheds and gates.


Before getting started with fitting the bolt you will need to check that you have the tools required to hand, these will include a pencil, power drill, drill bits suitable for the material you shall be drilling, a screwdriver and if fitting a barrel bolt where the frame or architrave is not flush with the door a chisel and hammer will be needed.


Tip 1 IconPosition

Once you have the tools required and have purchased the barrel bolt(s), it’s time to decide on the position that would be best for fitting. Fitting bolts at the top and bottom of a door provides the most security whilst avoids interference with the door handles. If fitting to a toilet or bathroom door then bolts fitted centrally at hand level are easiest for use whilst still provide adequate security to stop someone walking in.


Tip 2 IconCheck its Level

Now that you have decided where you shall be positioning the door bolt(s), draw a straight line on the door and the frame using a straight edge and pencil. At this point a spirit level or combination square is useful although not essential if you’ve a good eye or willing to measure the distance from the top or bottom of the door at both ends of the line to check its level.


Tip 3 IconEnsure its Flush

Once the line is drawn, align the bottom edge of the fixing plate on the line and the end with the edge of the door ensuring its flush before marking the fixing holes using the pencil.


Tip 4 IconPilot Holes

Put the bolt to one side and check that the markings are aligned before using the power drill to create shallow pilot holes using a drill bit thats narrower than the fixing screws that shall be used.


Tip 5 IconKeep Position

Screw the barrel bolt onto the door and as you tighten the screws hold it in alignment with the straight line to ensure it screws on level. Take the ‘keep’, the part of the door bolt that will be fitted to the frame or wall and position it to get an idea of whether it can be fitted without chiselling out a section of the frame or architrave.


Tip 6 IconChisel or Not

If you need to remove some of the frame or architrave then draw around the ‘keep’ marking the section to chisel. Using a sharp chisel and hammer carefully chisel out the section so that the ‘keep’ plate will sit flush on the frame and allow for the bolt to slide in and out easily.


Tip 7 IconKeep Fixing

Once you have chiselled out the frame or determined the frame is flush with the door and doesn’t need chiselling, place the ‘keep’ on the frame and mark the fixing hole with a pencil. Drill pilot holes using the power drill and screw the ‘keep’ to the frame or surround. To ensure the ‘keep’ aligns with the bolt and allows for easy use, keep the bolt extended within the ‘keep’ whilst marking the fixing holes.


Tip 8 IconTest for Ease

With both parts of the barrel bolt screwed securely to the door and frame, test that the bolt slides easily into the ‘keep’.


Having successfully fitted the barrel bolt to the door, you may also like to read our article on how to fit a door stop.