By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Unless you have seen the dazzling array of interior door lever sets sold at home centers and cabinet shops, you might have never considered these attractive alternatives to the standard doorknob. This hardware falls into two basic categories: "privacy" lever sets, which are most commonly used in a bathroom or bedroom because they can be locked from the inside and have a push button emergency release; and "passage lever sets for interior doors in hallways or on closets where locking isn't required. If all you expect is function from a door knob, any standard issue one will do; however, if you want a detail that makes a difference, go for a good quality brass latch set that's sure to enhance the room.
A locksmith will charge $127 to replace an old door lever set with a top of the line brass interior door lever set. This includes labor and material. If you have carpentry experience, you can buy one for $75 and install it, and pocket a 40 percent saving. You'll need an electric drill and bits, an awl, Phillips head and flat-blade screwdrivers, and some masking tape. The job involves removing the old lever set and then taping the template that comes with the new one to the door to help you properly align the holes on both sides of the door. It requires some finesse to hold the two parts together as you fasten them with the hardware.
Tip: If you plan to paint or refinish the door, it's a good idea to do it before installing it.
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Here's a link to the Door Hardware Center's Door Handles and Levers.
That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to replace a lever door handle lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a locksmith. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020