How to Fit a Replacement Garage Door Handle

Replacing a T-handle for an up-and-over garage door is a straightforward DIY job. This quick how-to guide will show you what’s involved, from choosing the right replacement handle to finished installation.

White garage door without a T-handle - free standing garage on waste ground

There are many reasons why a garage door lock handle might need to be replaced. For example, the lock mechanism has seized, the handle turn has failed or the handle has corroded.

This guide will help you choose the right replacement locking T-handle, how to remove your old handle, and how to install the new one.

Garage door handle with lock - white panelled garage door

Choosing the Right Replacement Garage Door Handle

There are a range of garage door locking T-handles available, with most of them being the stock 'Henderson' type.

Garage door handle - Henderson type T-handle with lock for general up and over garage doors

There are however some design variations to consider. There's the thickness of the handle base. Typically a handle with a thinner base won't fit as a replacement for a handle with a thicker base, and vice versa. Also the shape of the base can differ, with different orientations and screw placement.

Another consideration is the spindle shape. Garage T-handles will have either a square spindle or a diamond spindle.

Make sure you check that you are replacing like for like.


By far the most popular finish for garage T-handles is polished chrome, but they are generally available in matte black too, which can work well with brighter coloured doors. Choose which ever handle finish will suit you best.

Garage door Henderson style T-handle lock - painted blue

Removing the Old Handle


First, make sure you have the right tools to fit your new garage handle. Often just a screwdriver is all you'll need. However, pliers may be useful, depending on how your handle fixes to the door and latching mechanism on the inside.

Remove Fixings

Simply unscrew the screws on the inside handle to expose the spindle. At that point the locking handle on the outside of the door can be removed.

A Note About Garage Door Types

With older garage doors that have a lever on the inside that attaches to cables, you may need to remove a starlock washer too. If so, you should use a flat headed screwdriver to gently lever it off. Take care not to damage the washer as you will need to use it to secure the cable lever after installing the new handle.

Once the lever is removed, you will have access to screws to finish removing the old handle.

DOuble garage doors with T-handles - white panelled with glass panes

Installing the New Handle

Make sure the area where the new handle will sit is clean and clear of rust and any other debris.

Put the new T-handle into place on the garage door. Push through the spindle and screw shafts so that the handle sits in place correctly.

From the inside, replace the long screws and tighten to hold the handle securely. You may be able to pull the handle by its spindle so it's flush to the door. You might find it a bit fiddly to keep it in place while tightening the screws.

To make it really easy, ask somebody to help by holding the handle in place from the outside.

Ensure that all of the screws are tight and the handle is securely in place.

If you have a lever handle on the inside of the door, reattach it so that it operates the latch release cables correctly.

Finishing Touches

If necessary, apply a weatherproof sealant around the edges of your new garage door handle to protect against water ingress and corrosion.

Conduct a final inspection to ensure all components are securely fitted and your new T-handle operates correctly.

Row of garage doors with T-handles - white up-and-over style

Final Thoughts

Replacing a garage door locking T-handle is a straightforward DIY job that requires minimal tools that anyone with just a little DIY know-how can do.

You can find a huge range for hardware and ironmongery products at Hiatt Hardware. For more DIY and home improvement guides, and DIY inspiration articles, visit the the blog