Gilles' Outlet

January 26, 2007

Installing a door viewer (peephole) in a metal door

Filed under: House Remodelling — Gilles @ 7:29 am

A door viewer is installed in a metal door.

Skill Level: 1 (Easy)

Time Taken: Approximately 20 minutes
A door viewer is a cheap and easy way to enhance security at your front door. These simples steps show how to add one to a metal front door.

Left: The door viewer to install. It can fit doors from 1 3/4” to 2” thick and offers a viewing angle of 200 degrees. The wider the angle, the better.

It is approved for installation in fire rated doors. I purchased it at a local home center for less than $5. 

Right: I started the installation by marking the center of the door viewer with a pencil. It is centered horizontally and 5′ high from the finished floor.

Anyone old enough to answer the door should be able to use the door viewer and 5′ from the floor allows a teenager to use the device without problems. 

Left: On the inside of the door, I drilled a 1/8” pilot hole at the location I just marked.

I made sure to drill through one side of the door only. This technique eliminates potential material chipping on the edges of the hole on the other side of the door.

Right: Using a 9/16” metal bit, I drilled over the pilot hole.

With the 9/16” bit, I drilled through the insulation located in between the two sides of the metal door and went far enough to make a dent visible from the outside of the door. I did not actually drill the hole completely.

Left: From the outside, I drilled a 1/8” pilot hole over the dent made in the previous step.


Right: I used the 9/16” bit to drill the complete hole on the outside of the door.

Left: I applied a bead of siliconized exterior latex caulk around the outside end of the hole.


Right: I inserted the outside part of the door viewer and pressed it into the bead of caulk.

Left: I threaded the inside piece of the door viewer in the outside piece, through the hole.

Normally, I would have applied expanding insulating foam in the hole before tightening the door viewer but in this case, the bead of caulk and the insulation inside the door were sufficient.

Right: I finished screwing the inside part. The last quarter turn was done by pushing the assembly using a large flat screwdriver.

I could also have used the back of the blade of a large kitchen knife. It is a little easier to tighten the assembly because the blade acts on both rabets instead of one but you need to be careful not to cut yourself with the blade.

Finally, I removed all excess caulk which oozed aroud the outside part of the door viewer and smoothed the bead.


Tools Used:

  • Corded Drill 
  • Tape Measure
  • Caulking Gun

Materials Used:

  • Door Viewer 
  • Exterior Siliconized Latex Caulk



  1.   Je n’ai pas tout compris et je n’ai pas trop de temps pour le dictionnaire.
    Mais je trouve le reportage trés bien fait pour montrer le déroulement et l’avancement des travaux. J’ai compris que tu avais posé un eilleton sur ta porte métallique pour des raisons de sécurité avant l’ouverture de la porte d’entrée. c’est, ma foi, une très bonne précaution. C’est dommage que tu ne sois pas en France, car j’ai plein de petits travaux de ce type …… Bises.

    Comment by Renée — January 30, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  2. I purchased a viewer like the one above installed the way it states on a steel outside door only problem is the lens keeps filling with moisture – di I buy the right viewer

    Comment by darrin — December 16, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  3. Very helpful tutorial, thank you! 🙂

    Comment by donny — May 29, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    • Very helpful, wish would have done this sooner. Thanks!

      Comment by Kerry — June 25, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  4. thought it would be harder. thx for the easy to follow write up

    Comment by shopstclair — July 8, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

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