Making holes in a stainless steel door?

My house’s front door is a standard wooden door, but there’s a stainless steel plate the covers the inside, and another one on the outside of the door. It’s a pretty cool look, but…

I’d like to add a 2nd deadbolt to the door, and I’d also like to add a peephole / viewfinder of some sort so I can see who is on the other side of the door before opening it. (2nd deadbolt would be near the top of the door… not a crime deterrent thing, but my 3 yr old is at the point where he can just about unlock the door from the inside, so I want a 2nd lock up top so he can’t open the door on his own.)

So, both of these fixes require drilling holes in the door, through two sheets of metal. Is there a way to do it while the door is on its hinges? Or does the door absolutely have to be removed to do this?

I’m going to have to hire a professional to make sure this is done right, but curious how big of an operation this is going to be.

All you need is a good bi-metal hole saw. The door does not need to be taken down. Just make sure you drill halfway from each side so you don’t have any blowouts. As long as you get your measurements right you can absolutely do this yourself.

As far as how big an operation it will be, a good locksmith could do it in less than an hour. DIY a little over an hour.

You could also replace the existing deadbolt with a double-locking deadbolt rather than putting another hole in the door.

a professional can do it in place. you will probably get billed for an hour of time.


What’s a double locking deadbolt, by the way? Unfamiliar with that.

A deadbolt that requires a key on both sides. Pic.

Ah, definite no then. We’re in a high fire zone (plus earthquakes), and I don’t want to be stuck in the house because we can’t find the keys in a moment of blind panic. A second, higher-and-out-of-reach deadbolt will work better for us.

a deadbolt that requires a key on the inside is a serious safety issue. if you need to evacuate the house during a fire that is not the time to be looking for a key. if you have a dual cylinder deadbolt a partial solution is to leave a key in the inside lock or place a key on the wall inside near the door, though even that when you are breathing smoke and in a panic is a hazard

What about something like this instead of a full-on second deadbolt?

I put deadbolts on our doors (steel faced, although not stainless). We had told the insurance agent we had them, then noticed, whoops, we didn’t. The only difficult part (apparently :rolleyes:) was making sure the hole saw was made for cutting metal and not just wood so I wouldn’t have to go buy a second one.

Cool, thanks everyone. At least I know I can get this done pretty simply.

Make sure you drill a pilot hole first. You really don’t want a hole saw to jump.

I was going to suggest this, but you beat me to it.
Pilot holes are your friend.

Oh, I’m absolutely hiring somebody to do this right. =)

Good choice. If a double dead bolt is installed on any door a fire axe should be mounted next to the door.

Eh, a good hole saw should have a pilot bit.

When you’re drilling stainless steel, make sure to use some kind of oil on the bit to keep it cool. SS can get work hardened, making it even harder to drill and bits will start breaking. Also don’t go full speed spinning the bit around, go at half speed or lower.

So essentially, treat it like anal sex; go slow, and use lots of lube :smiley:

Yes a hole saw will have an arbor bit, but that’s not the point. Have you ever used a hole saw on a metal door? Without a pilot hole the saw teeth will stick and it will jump, leaving horrible looking spiral scratches on the door that are impossible to fix.

By the time the saw teeth are touching, isn’t the pilot bit already in just as deep as if you’d pre-drilled the pilot hole? How does pre-drilling help you?

Trying to get the pilot bit started on metal is difficult to begin with, more so with the hole saw in the way; if you’re not holding the drill perpendicular to the door the teeth can catch and jump. Using a hole saw on metal is not as quick and simple as on wood. Even at speed progress is relatively slow. You’re scraping away tiny bits of metal as opposed to sawing through wood.