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6 Effective Ways To Fix Door Knobs And Door Handles

Fix Door Handle

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If you are looking to fix door handles, there are several ways to go about it. But before you start, you need to know a few things. These fixes and installation methods are not always the same as basic lock installation. It is important to know what type of door handle you are trying to fix. You need to know what type of fix will solve your particular issue. And you must be sure that you have the training and background for proper servicing and diagnosis. For everything you need to fix a door handle, no matter your skill, just read on.

Common Door Handle Types

In order to fix door handles, you must know what type of handle it is. Knowing the type of door handle you are trying to fix allows you to better understand how the mechanisms work. If you do not understand the basics of the handle you are trying to fix, then you risk damaging the handle as well as the door that it is on. To fix door handles, begin by knowing what might be wrong with them and how to go about safely servicing them.

Keyed Door Handle – Keyed door handles are most often found on exterior entryway doors. If the door leads to the outside, there is a good chance it has a keyed cylinder to add more security to the building. If your handle or knob has a keyhole, then it is keyed. Besides how the door knob is controlling the latch bolt, there could also be issues with the lock cylinder breaking or malfunctioning.

Privacy Door Handle – When a door handle is intended only for privacy, and not for security, then it will not have a keyway. These types of locks will be used on interior doors. There is still likely to be an actuator on the side of the door that leads to the room where privacy is desired. The actuator is likely to be a turning or push button switch. To fix door handles like this, you hardly have to worry about issues with the locking mechanism breaking down.

Simple Turn Handle – These door handles have no intention of delivering privacy or security. They are made only to require a door handle to be twisted in order to access the room. Handles like this will often not even be secured onto a door with through screws. Often the rose plate around the base of the handle, or even the handle itself, will be threaded. This threading allows the knob to be securely fastened without the need for screws. Often these handles will need to be tightened, and in the most extreme cases, the door will need maintenance.

Exposed Fastener Door Handle – When the set screws or another method of a fastener is readily accessible, then this will make most methods to fix door handles simpler. With this style of the door handle, you can always remove the step of exposing the set screws in any process that requires some form of handle disassembly. Sometimes these handles are noticeable because they will have their set screws on full display. Other times they can appear to be concealed fastener door handles, but that is because the fastener is the rose or handle of the door knob.

Concealed Fastener Door Handle – A door handle with a concealed fastener forces whoever is working on the device to remove part of the assembly before having full access to the part of the handle, which is keeping the full assembly in the door. Most often these locks have a rose plate on the interior handle, which is held in place by an Allen screw and/or spring loaded button.

Find out what is being used to secure your rose before you move onto fix door handles. Go to the side of the door that has the turning or push button actuator (this is the interior side/secure side of the handle). If your handle does not have an actuator, chances are the rose or handle is the faster (refer to the “Exposed Fastener Door Handle” section above). If there is a small hole in the handle, often that needs a rose catch tool in order to depress the spring loaded button. The Allen screw needs an Allen key in order to move it out of the way.

1. Removing Rust

Cleaning Rust

Background

Rusted parts in a door handle can lead to many types of mechanical failures. Most often people will seek to fix door handles that are not operating smoothly by removing rust. This is a very recognizable issue because often rust is outwardly visible on the door handle. When something looks old, it is a popular idea to try and fix or replace the device. It is a good strategy, but external rust build up does not always coincide with internal oxidation. This is especially true if the outside of the doorknob has been cleaned without addressing the interior parts of the handle.

Rust is not always the reason for jammed door handles, sticking latch bolts, etc., but if you do see rust, it is best to fix door handles that are affected. All forms of rust on any type of door handle can create complications to functionality, but the largest issues can arise with keyed door handles. When there is a locking mechanism, many of the small internal parts can rust or become jammed due to rust. When you fix door handles that are rusted, be sure to address the smaller components of any locking mechanisms.

Tools

  • Vinegar (Preferably with 5% Acidity)
  • Baking soda
  • Metal clear coat spray
  • Container(s) (enough or large enough to submerge every part of the door handle)
  • Water
  • Water basin (dry to start)
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver (if the handle is secured with screws)
  • Rose Catch Tool (if the screws are concealed under a rose plate)
  • A Rag or Piece of Cloth
  • Scrub brush and/or toothbrush

Process

  1. Expose the set screws on the door handle.
    • If screws are already exposed, proceed to next step.
    • If the knob or rose plate itself is screwed on with threading on the hardware, there will be no screws to expose.
  2. Take the handle off of the door.
  3. Carefully take the handle apart.
    • Deconstruct the handle to the full extent possible.
  4. Place all pieces of the door handle in the containers.
    • Make sure that no part extends past the lip of the container it is placed in.
  5. Pour vinegar into the container(s).
    • Pour enough to submerge each part entirely.
  6. Leave the door handle parts to sit in for one day.
  7. Drain the vinegar for the containers.
  8. Move the parts to the dry basin.
  9. Coat the parts with baking soda
    • This neutralizes the acidity of the vinegar.
  10. Pour water onto the baking soda covered components.
  11. Scrub remaining residue off the components.
  12. Dry with the towel.
  13. Coat the dry door handle components with your metal clear coat spray.
  14. Spray one side at a time, and allow each side to dry before doing the next.
    • This clear coat will keep the metal from re-rusting quickly.
  15. Reassemble the door handle in the door.
  16. Tighten the screws.
    • If the knob or rose plate is threaded, turn the hardware to the right in order to fix door handles.
    • If an additional tool is needed to grip the handle so that torque can be applied effectively, place a cloth or rag over between the tool and the handle to prevent scuffing or damage to the finish.
  17. Reinstall any covers.
    • If the screws were exposed already or the door handle assembly was rotated to fix the door handle, there will be no covers to reinstall.
  18. Test to make sure the door handle actuates the latch correctly.
    • If the door handle uses locking mechanism, test all the ways of locking.

2. Replacing Parts

Background

Old door handles rarely break completely. Sometimes the part that breaks can be too expensive to replace. Then it makes sense to just get a new door handle, but this is not always the case. Even when it is broken, you may want to hold onto your current door handles for sentimental, historical, or design purposes. Sometimes small pieces within the door handle can fall out, corrode beyond salvaging or simply break. In the case of wanting to fix a vintage or custom door handle, it is still possible to replace the broken piece(s). There is always the possibility to fix door handles by replacing parts. This is even possible for repairing locks.

The most important step in replacement is knowing what part of the door handle needs to be replaced. If it is something small, it may not be that obvious. Components such as springs or parts within a keyed lock cylinder can only be assessed for damage once the lock is taken apart. If you are unfamiliar with the mechanics of your particular lock, it can also be hard to diagnose what is not working, let alone fix door handles experiencing an issue.

Tools

  • Phillips Head Screwdriver (if the handle is secured with screws)
  • Rose Catch Tool (if the screws are concealed under a rose plate)
  • A Rag or Piece of Cloth
  • Tweezers
  • Replacement part(s)
  • Door handle assembly information (any documentation about the handle set that is available)

Process

  1. Expose the set screws on the door handle.
    • If screws are already exposed, proceed to next step.
    • If the knob or rose plate itself is screwed on with threading on the hardware, there will be no screws to expose.
  2. Take the handle off of the door.
  3. Carefully take the handle apart.
  4. Consult the information you have about your handle.
    • Juxtapose what you see in the handle with what your documentation says/shows.
  5. Find missing or broken part(s).
    • If you cannot find the part(s) consult a professional.
    • Find the names of the parts in order to find replacement materials.
  6. Replace old parts with new parts.
    • Pay attention to proper positioning and fit.
  7. Attempt to actuate the door handle before re-installing it in the door.
    • Make sure that the latch bolt is retracting.
    • Rotation should be smooth.
  8. Reassemble the door handle in the door.
  9. Tighten the screws.
    • If the knob or rose plate is threaded, turn the hardware to the right in order to fix door handles.
    • If an additional tool is needed to grip the handle so that torque can be applied effectively, place a cloth or rag over between the tool and the handle to prevent scuffing or damage to the finish.
  10. Reinstall any covers.
    • If the screws were exposed already or the door handle assembly was rotated to fix the door handle, there will be no covers to reinstall.
  11. Test to make sure the door handle actuates the latch correctly.
    • If the door handle uses locking mechanism, test all the ways of locking.

3. Tightening Connections

Tighten Door Handle

Background

To fix door handles that are loose, you may be able to simply tighten the connections that have begun to wane. The looseness of a door handle can be due to the prolonged use of a particular entryway. Every rotation of the handle applies torque to the hardware, to fix door handles that are experiencing excessive torque, you need to refasten them to the same degree the handle has been destabilized.

This is a natural part of a door handle’s lifespan. As long as no parts of the door handle have broken, all you will need to do is tighten the connections that have loosened. The trick will be finding out how the handle is secured to the door. Finding this is the key to fix door handles with this issue. Once you know how the assembly is kept in place, the rest of the process is very simple. For more insight on how the handle is secured, refer to the section above on “Common Door Handle Types”.

Tools

  • Phillips Head Screwdriver (if the handle is secured with screws)
  • Rose Catch Tool (if the screws are concealed under a rose plate)
  • A Rag or Piece of Cloth

Process

  1. Expose the set screws on the door handle.
    • If screws are already exposed, proceed to next step.
    • If the knob or rose plate itself is screwed on with threading on the hardware, there will be no screws to expose.
  2. Take the handle off of the door.
  3. Check that all through screws are connecting between the two handles.
    • Reconnect any disconnected parts.
  4. Reassemble the door handle in the door.
  5. Tighten the screws.
    • If the knob or rose plate is threaded, turn the hardware to the right in order to fix door handles.
    • If an additional tool is needed to grip the handle so that torque can be applied effectively, place a cloth or rag over between the tool and the handle to prevent scuffing or damage to the finish.
  6. Reinstall any covers.
    • If the screws were exposed already or the door handle assembly was rotated to fix the door handle, there will be no covers to reinstall.
  7. Test to make sure the door handle actuates the latch correctly.
    • If the door handle uses locking mechanism, test all the ways of locking.

4. Door Maintenance

Background

The door handle is not always the source of your trouble. Sometimes in order to fix door handles, you need to make adjustments on the door itself. Issues with the door can affect a door handle’s functionality. Everything from latches not locking to sticking door handles can be caused by a problem with the door. Most often the issue with the door is that it is misaligned. Doors naturally misalign as either the foundation of the property, the door, or the door frame, changes.

When doors lose their finish, the weather can cause them to change sizes. A buildup of moisture or even extreme dryness can incrementally affect the wood. Moving foundations can cause the bottom of entry ways to slant, interfering with how the door handles operate. To fix these issues, you can choose to work on the door and reshape it (removing wood until it fits in the doorway). In some cases, you can also adjust the strike plate on the door. Foundation issues should be addressed by a professional, but if the issues is with the deformation of the wooden door or frame, be sure to refinish the wood so that you can reduce the chances of needing to fix door handles in this way again.

Process

The type of work you will have to do can vary quite a bit. It is also very difficult for an untrained eye to make these types of assessments without a bit of trial and error. However, there are a few things to remember when you are trying to fix door handles in this way:

  • Make measurements before you cut.
  • Sand down all areas that are cut until they are smooth.
  • Refinish the door and/or door frame after completing the work (especially after sanding).
  • Do not be afraid to remove the door to position yourself better with this work.

5. Full Replacement

Full Lock Replacement

Background

When the assembly is too damaged, you will not be able to fix the door handle with any of the methods mentioned above. A door handle beyond salvaging is mainly determined by one factor: Is the cost to fix a door handle worth the investment? This is an extremely important question because you can keep putting money into anything and continue to make fixes. These fixes may not last very long or they may be extremely expensive. In these cases, it will be best to fix door handles by fully replacing the existing assembly. This may lead to having to change door locks.

The most important consideration for fixing door handles this way is finding a replacement handle that will fit the door. Most residential and commercial doors will have a standard size, which corresponds to the available handles in a given market. You need to find out if you are the exception in your location by taking some simple measurements. If you need to fit the handles into a mortise lock, this is also worth knowing. Not every type of handle will fit with what you already have installed. Before you try to replace anything, make sure you know what you need. Even if you are intending to replace the door, or the current lockset, along with your broken door handle, be aware of what you need for replacements.

Tools

  • Replacement door handle
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver (if either door handle is secured with screws)
  • Rose Catch Tool (if the screws are concealed under a rose plate of either door handle)
  • New door handle installation instructions

Process

  1. Expose the set screws on the door handle.
    • If screws are already exposed, proceed to next step.
    • If the knob or rose plate itself is screwed on with threading on the hardware, there will be no screws to expose.
  2. Take the handle off of the door.
  3. Follow the installation instructions.
    • Do not tighten any screws fully.
    • When the door handle is in place tighten each screw one at a time.
    • Doing this will help to make sure there are no alignment issues with the new door handle.
  4. Check the new door handle to see if it is working, without closing the door.
  5. Close the door and test the door handle again.
    • Improperly functioning new door handles have either been installed incorrectly, are not the proper fit for your needs, or point to the fact that the door handle was not the issue.

6. Call a Locksmith

Background

If at first, you don’t succeed, hire a professional before you hurt yourself. On a serious note, you should not attempt to do any work that you are not completely comfortable with. With many of these ways to fix door handles, there is not much risk to physical safety, but they are rather difficult to accomplish without the proper training. For an assessment, and even for servicing, it is easier to call a professional home locksmith.

When you choose a locksmith to fix door handles, you are taking all the guess work out of whether the door handle will be fixed properly. If you want to do research on locksmiths, you can learn about how to choose the right locksmith. You might also want to know what to expect when you call a locksmith. All of this research is sure to make you feel as though you are making a more informed decision on who you hire. But if you really want to know you are in good hands you can follow the process below.

Tools

  • Phone or Internet enabled device

Phone Process

  1. Check to see if United Locksmith services your area.
    • You can verify that HERE.
  2. Call 866-338- 9997.
  3. Tell the dispatcher that you would like a locksmith to fix your door handle(s).
  4. Make an appointment.
  5. Pass along other requested information.
  6. Wait for your locksmith technician to arrive.
    • They will check in with you to give you about their ETA and ask you some follow-up questions about the requested work.
  7. Show the locksmith the issue.
  8. Allow time for assessment and pricing.
  9. Accept competitively affordable pricing.
  10. Wait for the locksmith to fix the door handle.
    • Feel free to watch them work, ask questions, or go about the rest of your day.
  11. Pay the bill when satisfied with the work.

Internet Process

  1. Click “CONTACT” on the permanent header at the top of this web page.
  2. Fill out information or email your inquiry.
  3. Wait a few moments for your response.
  4. Answer response with the requested answers and schedule an appointment.
  5. Wait for your locksmith technician to arrive.
    • They will check in with you to give you about their ETA and ask you some follow-up questions about the requested work.
  6. Show the locksmith the issue.
  7. Allow time for assessment and pricing.
  8. Accept competitively affordable pricing.
  9. Wait for the locksmith to fix the door handle.
    • Feel free to watch them work, ask questions, or go about the rest of your day.
  10. Pay the bill when satisfied with the work.

Conclusion

With these effective ways to fix door knobs and door handles, you can get your door handles back in working order, no matter your skill level. Don’t forget to troubleshoot all of your issues before deciding on the proper fix for your door handles. And never be afraid to ask for help from the professionals.

Category: How To's, Residential


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