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How to Fit a Front Door Knocker - Your DIY Installation Guide

Article Topics:

  1. Door Knocker Styles

  2. Front Door Types

  3. How to Fit a Front Door Knocker

  4. Surface Mount Fixing

  5. Through Bolt Fixing

Introduction

You may think that the rise in popularity of doorbell cameras has made the humble door knocker somewhat redundant. But they have recently come back on trend. Not so much as a means for guests to announce their arrival at your door, but as an interesting decorative, ornamental detail.

The door knocker is unlike other front door hardware. While knobs, letterbox covers and other door furniture enable you to add a sense of style and individualism to your home, door knockers offer another level of expression and personalisation.

Also, door knockers offer an easy and relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your front door. And fitting a new door knocker is a straightforward DIY job.

How to fit a front door knocker - traditional urn door knocker close-up - brushed brass finish

In this article we'll look at some popular door knocker styles and provide a step-by-step guide on how to fit surface mount and bolt through knockers. Let's begin with an overview of different door knocker styles and door types.

Door Knocker Styles

Door knockers come in a wide variety of design styles. From traditional urn and doctor's door knockers to animal, mythical and nautical themes, to modern styles. Some door knocker designs are associated with legend and lore, while others have historical or architectural roots. The knocker pictured below is the popular depiction of Dionysus, the Ancient Greek god of wine making and festivity.

 How to fit a front door knocker - black iron Dionysus door knocker - close-up

There's a massive choice of not only design styles, but also materials and finishes. A door knocker's finish can make a huge difference to its aesthetic appeal, whether polished brass, antique brass, pewter, black iron, satin chrome, matte black, the list goes on.

The image below shows examples of the same knocker in silver nickel (left) and antique brass. As you can see, the finish has a big impact on the look – one is very modern, the other more traditional and rustic.

How to fit a front door knocker - two bumbble bee ring knockers - one silver nickel the other antique brass

You can find out more about different door knocker designs, their meanings and origins in this deep dive Door Knocker Upgrades article.

Front Door Types

The three main door types are timber, UPVC and composite doors. For wood and composite doors the methods of fitting your door knocker will principally be the same. A composite door usually has a timber core with other plastic materials laminated with it.

UPVC door knockers will usually need to be fitted with the bolt through method due to them being thinner than wood and composite front doors.

Note that for new UPVC doors it might be a good idea to check with the supplier to make sure fitting new door furniture won't void any warranty.

How to fit a front door knocker - traditional front door with gold lion head knocker

The design of your front door may well influence the type of door knocker that you choose. For example, if you have a traditional Georgian or Victorian-style door you may well choose an urn or doctor's knocker. Or for a UPVC door a more modern design or finish might offer a satisfying look.

But the truth is that it doesn't really matter. As with any home decor, it's up to you. You can follow a more formal design ethos, or use the door knocker as a way to express your own design sensibility, with a quirkier, more playful approach – the sea shell knocker below is a good example.

How to fit a front door knocker - sea shell door knocker in nickel finish - close-up

How to Fit a Door Knocker?

Installing your knocker is a relatively simple DIY job, providing you have the right tools and follow some straightforward guidelines. Always follow manufacturer guidance too.

Note that this guide gives a method overview and the fitting process may vary slightly for different knocker designs.

How to fit a front door knocker - first step- tape measure close-up

You'll need a few simple materials and tools for both surface mount and bolt through fixing methods:

  • Electric battery or powered drill

  • 1mm - 2mm drill bit

  • Bolt size appropriate drill bit (through fixing only)

  • Spirit level

  • Spanner or wrench (through fixing only)

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

How to fit a front door knocker - spirit level with ruler

There are generally two ways in which a knocker fixes to a front door, either surface mounted or through fixed. Let's take surface mounting first. New door knockers will likely be supplied with appropriate fixings.

Surface Mount Fixing

Note that surface mount fixing is not appropriate for most UPVC front doors. Use the bolt through fixing method instead.

Generally speaking a surface mounted knocker will either screw into place, or it will have a backplate that will screw to the door, with the knocker attaching or clipping in position to the plate without the need for additional screws.

Step 1 - Choose Knocker Placement

Decide where on your door you want to install the knocker. Typically, it's centred horizontally and placed about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the door. Or sometimes between eye and shoulder level. Whatever suits you best.

With single glazed doors, the knocker will likely be fitted on the left side nearer the door edge. The fitting method will be the same regardless of the knocker’s placement on the door.

Step 2 - Measure and Mark

Use a tape measure to find the centre of the door horizontally and mark it with a pencil. Measure the desired height for the door knocker and mark that on the door too.

How to fit a front door knocker - figure measuring a front door

Find the centre mark of the door by measuring the full width and dividing by two. This will locate the centre point on the door for your knocker.

Mark the door through the knocker or knocker plate screw holes with your pencil. Use a spirit level to ensure the markings are straight.

Step 3 - Drill Pilot Holes

Using the marked spots as a guide, with the 1mm-2mm bit drill pilot holes for the screws that will hold the door knocker or backplate in place. Do this for each screw hole, for the backplate or knocker.

Be sure not to drill too far into the door. Don't go more than two thirds of the way through. What this distance actually is will vary depending on the thickness of your front door.

How to fit a front door knocker - figure drilling a hole in timber

Step 4 - Attach the Door Knocker

Position your knocker over the pilot holes and align it with your markings. Then insert the screws through the door knocker or backplate and into the holes. Ensure the screws are not too long for the door's thickness. If you do need alternative screws, choose a corrosion resistant, self-tapping type of a screw head style and finish that suits your door knocker.

Use your screwdriver to tighten the screws until the door knocker is securely attached to the door. Be careful not to fit the screws too tight, as this could damage the door or the knocker.

Step 5 - Test and Adjust

Stand back to see how your knocker looks fitted. Is it straight? Is it sitting flush against the door? If not, loosen the screws and adjust accordingly.

Give the door knocker a few test knocks to make sure it's securely attached and functioning properly.

How to fit a front door knocker - complete steel, chrome finished urn door knocker being knocked

Through Door Fixing

The method for fitting a door knocker with bolt through fixings is pretty much the same as surface mount fitting. As already mentioned, through fixing should be used for UPVC front doors and other doors that are too thin to accommodate surface mounting screws, and of course for knockers that are designed that way.  

The only real difference compared to surface mounting is that you need to drill holes through your front door to the inside to create bolt holes. For this you should use a drill bit that is an appropriate size for your bolts, and always use washers that are supplied with the bolts and nuts on the inside fixing holes.

Striking plate

If your door knocker has a striking plate, you can fix it in place using the same methods as above.

How to fit a front door knocker - weathered scroll door knocker with striker plate - black & white image

An important consideration is to make absolutely sure that the striking plate is in the correct position to receive the knocker where it strikes the door. When measuring and marking include the striking plate position relative to the knocker.

How to fit a front door knocker - traditional style of door with matte balck lion head knocker

Final Thoughts

A new door knocker can really add to a unique look at the entrance of your home. Door knockers combined with other matching, or contrasting, front door furniture are a key element of a front door makeover.

Fitting your door knocker is a straightforward DIY job that with a little work can produce satisfying and long lasting results.

For more front door renovation ideas check out the Front Door Makeover Inspiration article and explore front door colours and hardware combinations, including handles, knobs, locks, letter box covers and more.

We hope you have found this how-to article helpful. For more DIY and home improvement advice and guidance like this visit the Hiatt Hardware Blog. Or browse the full range of front door furniture at Hiatt Hardware.

Large ring door knocker with striking plate - chrome finish