How to drill out a deadbolt?

Sometimes renovations are paramount; you would one day have to stop ignoring those doors with a deadbolt lock that would never open. It could be that you can no longer find their keys or you may be having a damaged deadbolt lock.

Deadbolt locks are made with some tumbler pins to lock and unlock the bolt, so your first thought would be to pick the lock. If that has failed, you would be left with the last option, which is to drill out the deadbolt. One thing you should know is that when you drill the lock, you destroy it by breaking the tumbler pins.

So, how do you drill out a deadbolt?

Instead of hiring an expensive handyman for this, we have a few steps that can guide you to perfectly lose your deadbolt lock and gain access to those abandoned parts of your home.

Observe the lock

It is best to be sure of the exact problem you are dealing with before you proceed. After you have tried to pick the lock and you can’t get through, you should inspect the door to confirm that the difficulty you are facing is with the lock and not another locking mechanism.

If your lock is covered with paint, use a utility knife to scratch it off and reveal the edge of the keyhole and make a double check. Also, disable any alarm connected to the lock.

Get the right tools

Projects like this could discourage even a DIY hobbyist, but you should stay encouraged, there is a way out. It would be a difficult task to get through your lock by hand or with any crude tool, and since you are using a primitive method, the first thing you need is a variable speed power drill (you can buy DEWALT DWD210G on

You would also need a drill bit that would match the size of the lock, so you should rather get several sizes of bit drills so that you can try them and select the appropriate bit drill for the deadbolt lock.

Insert your bit drill

Insert a bit drill into your tool, most preferably a 1/8 inches bit. This size is small enough to drill out the tumbler pins neatly, so you can easily turn the lock using a screwdriver rather than using a larger drill to dismantle the whole thing. If you don’t have a 1/8 inches bit, you can use the next closest size.

Make the necessary preparations

Something else you should do is apply spray lubricants on the drill bits you are using, inside the deadbolt, and on the outer edges of the lock to allow the bit have a smoother run and also to keep friction from damaging it.

When you lubricate every part of the lock, it might become too slippery to work on, so you should use a hammer to make a small puncture that would guide the drill bit. You may decide to drill the center of the lock, but it would be neater to rather dig through the point directly above the keyhole, so make the puncture there.

Drill Slowly

After you have gone through all the above steps, you can now make use of the drill. In the hole you have made, place the tip of the drill bit, then set it at a horizontal level, and gently apply pressure on the trigger, don’t pull the trigger too fast because it can strip the screws of the drill bit.

Carefully monitor the drilling process and note when the drill bit is facing difficulties, so you can take a pause and lubricate the bit with water or oil lubricant. At this point, maintain the drill at an angle to keep it from coming in contact with other unnecessary metals while you slowly drill the deadbolt.

Change your bit

When you have drilled to a certain level, you should switch your drill bit to one that is slightly larger than the size you are already using, to apply more pressure and break the tumbler pins for the locks to open. For example, if you have initially used a 1/8 inches bit (as we have suggested), you can switch to a 1/4 inches drill bit.

With the larger drill bit, you should run the machine until all the tumbler pins are broken, and the drill bit punctures through the rear of the lock. You should now use a screwdriver to turn the lock and open your door. If you don’t have a screwdriver, you can improvise with any flat head object that can fit through.


Even though we have said you should switch up your drill bit to one that is slightly larger, some deadbolt locks could be very stubborn and may require you to drill the whole thing out.

For these locks, you can use a 3/4 inches drill bit or a cylindrical tubular lock bit to drill through the entire mechanism and destroy the whole deadbolt.

The steps above would properly guide you through drilling out those deadbolt locks in your home to give you access to all available rooms.

But whether you think it is necessary or not, always wear protective gears like gloves and eye goggles while you drill to keep metallic particles from getting into your eyes. If you are new to using drills, you should also read about it before using them for any of your projects.

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