How do I install a door chain on a metal doorframe?

We have a standard door chain which is taped to the wall next to the door, because our power drill can’t handle the metal doorframe. Drilled I never so wisely, all I could do was make a couple shiny indentations; no way I was going to be able to put screws in that. And I can’t mount the chain part on the wall beside the door, because there’s no stud there. Screws won’t hold.

So handy Dopers, how do I solve this problem? Is there a special kind of drill bit I should buy?

I’d use a very pointy slightly large Nail. Or if you own a Punch, use it. Once you punch a hole in the metal, use your driver to get the screw in.

Is it solid metal, or just a metal sheet covering the wood door frame? If it’s solid metal…well…you need a good drill (AC powered, not battery) and a metal bit. If it’s just a piece of metal over wood, then let me ask you this:

And are you trying to directly drive the screws into it, or trying to drill a pilot hole first, and then drill them in? If you have the right type of screw, you usualy don’t need to drill a pilot hole. And if you are wasting yourtime trying to amke a pilot hole with an underpowered drill and/or wrong bit, then yeah, it’s not going to work.

Speaking of screws, are they sheet metal screws? Are they designed to screw into metal or wood? Most sheet metal screws have a round head with a flat bottom, as oppossed to many wood screws that have a flat head with an angeled bottom. It will also have a coarser thread than a wood screw, usually.

Here’s a sheet metal screw
It might also have a hex head, so that it can be driven with a nut driver in addition to a screwdriver.

When drilling into metal, make an indentation for the bit to start in. A nail, or a punch or even a screw whacked with a hammer. Then drill, at a SLOW speed. Don’t ‘whir’ it like going through wood. The bit will just dance over the metal and merely polish it.

I disagree. You do want high speed.

Is this just an aluminum storm door? Or steel. Reguardless, If you have the right drill bit, you should have no problem.

And no problem using a battery operated drill. I do it all the time.

Well, a decent battery powered drill will do it with no problems. If your bits are dull you’ll have problems with any drill.

Get to a decent hardware store with the chain assembly. Tell the fellow at the service counter the situation and ask him for the correct screws and the correct drill bit. He will give you what you need for the job. :smiley:

I suggest a brand spanking new drill bit. Get a decent quality one, sized to fit the screws you intend to use. New bits really cut metal well, dull bits are worthless in anything but soft wood.

Use a new or recently sharpened bit. Go slower in steel than you would in aluminum, and use cutting fluid - this will prevent overheating the bit by providing lubrication.

It’s also easier and faster to pop an 1/8" hole first and then increase the diameter to that which is needed rather than attempting to gnaw the biggie in one shot.

Spoken as one who sharpens his own bits and refuses to lend them to folks who know not how to treat a cutting tool properly. :wink:

In these situations, I just use self-drilling metal screws similar to these. Any hardware store will have them in a variety of lengths and types (hex head, phillips head, pan head, oval head, etc). I have used these in door frames, electrical junction boxes and various gages of sheet metal. It also saves you from buying a drill bit, although if yours is dull, that’s not a bad investment to make.

Well yeah, cutting fluid or oil if it’s a bank vault door. Where talking a screen door here. No need to make it overly complicated or messy.

Spectre just needs to buy a decent 1/8th inch (or there abouts) drill bit and use a nail or center punch to give the drill a ‘start’.

Spectre, the punch does not have to go through the metel, just a tiny ‘dent’ is fine.

Also, If your drill is spinning, there is nothing wrong with it (for this job). You just need a new drill bit.