Just changed the locks on my house today, and I noticed that the strike plate screws that came with my new deadbolts are much longer than the existing strike plate screws.

I'm using the old screws for now, but I assume the longer screws are more secure (and the color matches), so I'd like to use the new ones if possible. I'm worried about drilling horizontally into something near the doors, so I was wondering if the area around a door is typically safe, or if I could use some tool to confirm before drilling anything.



3 Answers 3


Most wood frame houses use at least two 2x4s or 2x6s(stud plus a jack post) plus the door frame at doors/windows. That gives minimum of a bit more than three to 3½" inches before hitting something.


You could use a stud finder tool. It probably won't work beside the door because of casing (trim work) overlapping the door jamb and extending onto the wall. But in typical US stick-frame construction the outermost wall stud goes the entire height from floor to ceiling. Use the stud finder to find the edge of the stud above the door, the translate that down to strike plate height by using a level, plumb bob, measurement from a nearby vertical corner/edge in the wall, or simple visual estimation.

The most likely thing to run into beside a door is electrical wiring associated with a light switch. But if the switch is not located immediately beside the door/casing, the wiring is probably not stapled in that area either.


In addition to the light switch Greg mentioned, keep in mind that the door bell has wiring that usually runs along and or through the frame. Just drill slowly and keep checking the bell. If you remove the button cover, you might be able to determine the wire route.

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