30 Sep

A Sticky Situation

The Door Was Stuck

green door

I was called out to a home the other day due to a pantry door not opening.  Let me tell you the lady was about to go nuts thinking she could not get to the food that she knew rested right behind that closed door.

When I received the call about this issue, my first thought before arriving at the home, was this would be a possible foundation issue (and I would have to pass it off to someone else).  Foundation issues is typically what I think of when someone tells me the door is stuck.   In general foundation issues cause the home to shift, which in turn causes doors to jam.   However, when I arrived, I realized that a simple misinterpretation of vocabulary caused me to have that original thought.    Although the door would not open, the door itself was not actually stuck, but the door knob was stuck and would not turn, thus resulting in not being able to open the door.

I used a gentle turn on the door knob, and the thing was not budging at all.   With a little more force I was able to actually get the knob to turn and finally open.  The lady was so happy it was as if the doors of heaven had just opened up when that door opened.  Although I did have the door now opened, we were not finished with this job yet.  Now I need to find out why it was sticking and fix it so this does not happen again as soon as we shut that door.

Steps to Fix the Door         

  1. Remove the screws
  2. Remove the actual door knobs
  3. Oil the moving parts
  4. Test the door knob for easy operation
  5. Reassemble the knob

The Actual Process in Action

  1. Remove the screws

Using a screwdriver remove the two screws that are holding the door knob in place.   These screws can be somewhat long, so if you are using a manual screwdriver you may be unscrewing for longer than you would typically expect.

Pro Tip: Take caution to not beat up the door knob with your screwdriver.  It may be a good idea to place some type of cloth or paper between the shaft of your screwdriver and the actual knob, so you do not cause damage while removing the screws.

door knob door-knob-2
  1. Remove the actual door knobs

Now that the screws are removed, hold on to both sides of the knob and pull each knob away from the door (Left side – pull left, Right side – pull right).

Now you should be able to see the deadlatch.  This is the piece that is actually inserted inside the door and is what latches the door shut when it is closed.  This is the piece that has all the moving parts that most likely needs to be oiled.  At least in this issue that was the case.

Door knob pulled out Door Knob Inside Deadlatch
  1. Lubricate the moving parts

Most likely your knob was stuck due to lack of lubrication.   With repeated use, and dirt and dust in the air, metal on metal friction can cause lubrication to break down over time.  Thus resulting in needing more lubrication.  You can use any type of oil or spray lubrication.  In my case I used 3 in 1 oil.

Lubricate all the areas where you see metal touching metal.  In the next step you will be testing, so you may end up repeating steps 3 and 4 multiple times before you get full success.

3-in-One oil Oil door
  1. Test the door knob for easy operation

Reassemble the half of the door knob that actually does the work.  It is the side that has the three prongs sticking out of the end.  The prong in the middle is called the spindle, and the other two are the post screw receptacles.  Place this piece back into the deadlatch and try turning the knob to verify that it will now turn without sticking or binding.  This may take a few turns to get the lubrication in place.

Pro Tip:  You may need to repeat step #3 if you find the latch is continuing to stick.

  1. Reassemble the knob

Now that you have the latch no longer sticking, it is time to reassemble the knob.  Reverse the previous steps to reassemble the knob.

door knob

I hope this tutorial was beneficial.  If you have any questions about this process be sure to contact me.