After installing a new door from the garage leading to the kitchen I searched around a bit for a more “interesting” model for the rear garage opening. I was hoping to get something with a window or a fanlite. Unfortunately, the selection in 32” x 80” outswing doors is rather limited, unless you don’t mind bumping up to a special order door, which can run from $500 and up.

(FYI, in the majority of the US, an outswing door is frowned upon as it eliminates the small landing at the bottom of the door, which allows it to drain outward. However, in Florida, with hurricane winds a constant fear, an outswing door adds an extra layer of protection as it is that much harder to be smashed in by wind and/or debris. You do have to take extra care in sealing it properly though.)

Ultimately, we ended up choosing the same model door for security reasons, as my wife didn’t feel comfortable with any added glass within the garage. With that, I went ahead and ordered the same locks for both doors, as I’m trying to maintain a unified look throughout the house. Having already installed a Kwikset Smartkey lock & handle on the front door finished in oil-rubbed bronze, we went with the similar Kwikset 991 Tustin Entry Lever and Single Cylinder Deadbolt Combo Pack featuring SmartKey® in Venetian Bronze through These ring up the register at $60.98 each, which I feel is very reasonable for a system that lets you essentially “program” your own keys, as well as being bump proof (look it up, it’s a big deal…).

The kit comes boxed nicely and seems like a fine quality door handle set. When installing I started out with the deadbolt cylinder, which went in very easily (although the striker plate supplied does not match the notched portion in the new door frame, so I’ll have to get a separate striker plate to avoid having to chisel out the different size). Getting to the actual handle portion, I quickly noticed that it comes setup for a right-hand door. This is a non-issue, as it is very simple to switch around the handles with the supplied allen head tool. Note, that on the side with the lock cylinder, you really have to shove the allen head all the way in, as the locking screw is actually on the opposite side of the mechanism. So far so good.

Having flipped over the handles I went to install the unit and quickly noticed that this orientation would leave the lock cylinder flipped upside down. Now, I’ve been to homes where such an installation was performed and it always leaves me with a slight distaste upon seeing it incorrectly oriented. As such, there was no way that I was going to allow that in my home (look… Call it OCD or insanity, whatever; I’m a nitpicky type of guy). I quickly pulled out the various sheets of instructions that came in the box, and low and behold… not a single mention on how to flip the lock cylinder around. As usual, I called my good friend Mr. Google, and he gave me a number of options and explanations on getting this done. I first saw a YouTube video from a gentleman explaining how to do this for a Kwikset Smartkey application which required the removal of the lock cylinder from the rear (or center) of the unit. This happened to be the result with the most hits. Please note that from what I can tell, this is only applicable to knob style door handles. If, like me, you have a lever styled handle, that solution doesn’t work. In fact, the solution for the lever handle is far-far easier.

Holding the handle you’ll first need to remove the lever with the provided allen head. After removing the lever, you’ll see the exposed lock cylinder. Just below the lock cylinder on the bottom of the handle there is a C-Clip that holds the lock cylinder in place. The clip is pretty tightly incorporated into the housing, but it doesn’t have a ton of tension, which helps. Using a small screwdriver simply press against one side of the C-Clip pushing it out. Once you have some separation of the C-Clip from the housing you can use the same screwdriver to pop it loose from the newly exposed section. With the C-Clip removed, the lock cylinder is completely loose, so you can just remove and rotate 180 degrees. After reinstalling the C-Clip back on that’s it, we’re done.

At the end of it, it was quite easy to accomplish. For the life of me I don’t understand why these instructions are not included with the handle, luckily this information is literally at our fingertips. With the lock orientation corrected I finished installing the handle and man, it looks and feels great. Once the second handle is installed I’ll be using the Smartkey feature to match both the front and rear doors, cleaning up some of that keychain clutter.

It’s not a difficult process, but the fact that the instructions are not clear and that an online search came up with multiple procedures for multiple applications can cause some confusion. As such, some mechanical knowhow is needed to recognize what system you are dealing with. Kwikset; you make a very nice high quality product, but come-on, whoever you have writing up your instructions is lacking. Hopefully this helps you in your application and saves you some unneeded frustration.

Useful Parts & Tools to Help you with this DIY Project: