Unlocking a locked door is a routine task for everyone, but a door latch stubbornly stuck in the locked position can turn a routine entry into a challenging puzzle.
So the question is…
How do you get a door latch unstuck?
Misplaced keys, debris accumulation, and internal malfunctions are some of the most common causes of this problem. In this guide, we’ll explore five easy and practical ways to address a door latch in the locked position.
So without further ado…
Let’s get started…
Table of Contents
9 Practical Ways To Fix Stuck Door Latch In Locked Position
1. Use a Flathead Screwdriver:
This method works when the door latch is stuck in the door frame. Take a flathead screwdriver and insert it into the space between the door and the door frame where the latch is located. Gently pry the latch back into the open position while turning the key.
Note: Don’t put pressure vigorously otherwise it will damage the door or the frame.
2. Check The Key
Sometimes a partially inserted key creates the problem. Ensure that the key is fully inserted into the lock and turned in the correct direction.
3. Lubricate The Lock
Sometimes dust accumulation or rust may cause the latch to stick. You can apply graphite or silicon-based lubricant into the keyhole and on the keys to fix this issue.
4. Wiggle The Door
To relieve the pressure on the latch, gently wiggle the door while attempting to turn the key. This can help it to disengage.
5. Paint Build Up
This is also a most common scenario where paint build-up obstructs door opening. You can solve this issue by following the below steps:
(a) Identify The Paint Build-Up:
First, look at all the visible signs of paint on around the door and lock mechanism.
(b) Scraps Away Excess Paint
Excess paint can be removed using a utility knife or a putty knife. Remove the excess paint around the keyhole and the latch area.
Note: Be gentle to avoid damaging the door or the lock mechanism.
(c) Apply Paint Remover
Sometimes scraping doesn’t fully work, you can use a paint remover to fix the stuck door latch. Before using paint remover must read the product instructions carefully and protect the surrounding surface from it.
(d) Scrub or Brush The Lock
After applying the paint remover, leave it on the surface to work then take a small brush or a toothbrush to scrub the lock mechanism. This can help dislodge and remove the paint.
(e) Flush With Water
You may have to rinse the lock mechanism with water after applying the paint remover. It helps to remove any residual paint remover. Dry the lock thoroughly afterward.
(f) Lubricate The Lock
After removing the excess paint lubricate the lock mechanism using a graphite or silicon-based lubricant. This will help prevent future sticking and ensure smooth operation.
(g) Operate The Lock
After removing the excess paint and lubricating the lock mechanism, it is time to check if the lock operates smoothly or not. Insert the key and turn it to ensure it operates smoothly. If the latch is still sticking consider using additional lubrication.
6. Tap The Lock
If the lock is jammed for some reason, tap it using a rubber mallet or the back of a screwdriver.
Note: Be careful not to use excessive force to avoid damaging the lock.
7. Apply Heat
The heat helps to expand the metal and may release the stuck components. You can use a heat gun or hairdryer to gently heat the lock mechanism.
8. Remove The Door Knob Or Handle
In some cases, you need to remove the doorknob or handle to access the inner workings of the lock. This helps to manually manipulate the latch to release it.
9. Take The Professional’s Help
If you are uncomfortable attempting these solutions, consider calling a locksmith or a professional handyman to fix the issue.
Door Latch Stuck In Strike Plate
If the door latch is stuck in the strike plate, follow these steps to fix it easily:
(a) Check The Misalignment
Carefully examine the alignment of the door with the strike plate. Sometimes, the lock may get stuck, if the door is not properly aligned with the strike plate.
Solution: Adjust the strike plate so that it lines up properly with the lock.
(b) Loosen The Screw
Loosen the screws of the strike plate slightly. If the door lock is binding against the strike plate, it can help to provide some clearance. With loose screws, you can make some adjustments to fix the issue.
(c) Adjust The Strike Plate Position
Loose screws help to adjust the position of the strike plate slightly. You can move it up, down, left, or right until the lock operates smoothly. Tighten the screws back in place once you get the correct adjustment.
(d) Check For The Loose Hinges
Loose Hinges on the door or the door frame contribute to misalignment issues. You can fix this issue by tightening the loose screws of the hinges.
(e) File The Strike Plate
If adjusting the strike plate doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to file the opening in the strike plate slightly. Just take a metal file to remove a small amount of material from the strike plate’s opening to provide more clearance for the lock.
(f) Inspect The Door Frame
A wrap or damaged door frame may cause a door latch stuck in the strike plate. A damaged door frame needs repair or a complete replacement.
How To Remove A Broken Latch From A Closed Door
Removing a broken latch from a closed door is not easy, however, you can do this by following these steps:
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Needle Nose Plier
Step 1: Inspect the Latch
You have to first carefully examine the broken latch and determine the extent of the damage. Find the best approach for removal.
Step 2: Attempt to Slide or Pull
Take a needle nose plier and try to slide or pull the latch back into the door. If the latch is partially out, you may be able to grip it with the plier and pull it the rest of the way.
Step 3: Use a Flathead Screwdriver
Take a flathead screwdriver and insert it into the gap between the door and the door frame. Wiggle the screwdriver to pry the latch away from the strike plate.
Visible latch can be pushed back into the door.
Step 4: Apply Pressure
When you are trying to move the latch, apply pressure to the door in various directions to relieve any tension that might be holding the latch in place.
Step 5: Remove All The Screws From The Latch Plate
If the latch is still stuck, remove all the screws from the latch plate. You can use a screwdriver for that. This allows you to access the lock mechanism so that you can manipulate it.
Step 6: Drill Pilot Hole
In extreme cases, you need to drill pilot holes into the broken latch. Make sure the size of the drill must be smaller than the latch.
Note: Use the drill carefully, it may damage your door or door frame.
Step 7: Extract With Plier
After drilling pilot holes, take a needle nose pliers remove the broken latch, and pull it out. Twist and wiggle the pliers as needed to dislodge the latch.
Step 8: Apply Lubrication
In some cases the latch may stuck due to rust, or debris, applying lubricant might help loosen it.
Step 9: Take Professionals Help
If nothing works or if you are uncomfortable with such DIY work, consider seeking the assistance of a professional locksmith or handyman.
In conclusion, it is very frustrating to deal with a door knob that is stuck in the locked position but don’t worry we have shared some effective and practical methods to address the problem.
Whether caused by misalignment, paint build-up, or other factors troubleshooting steps such as adjusting the strike plate, lubricating the lock, and careful manipulation can often resolve the issue.
It is crucial to address the situation with patience and caution, considering a professional’s help if needed to avoid any possible damage to the door or the lock mechanism.
Regular maintenance such as lubrication, and preventive measures during painting can also help prevent future occurrences of a stuck door lock.
Q.1 How do you get a door latch unstuck?
Ans: You can free a stuck door latch by first inspecting the door for visible obstacles, and lubricating the latch mechanism. If misalignment is an issue adjust the strike plate by slightly loosing and repositioning it. Remove the excess paint if paint build-up is a problem. Use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry the latch away from the strike plate. If the issue persists take professional help.