It is well known that with a latch door, your privacy is reduced and your daily routine is unnecessarily complicated.
For that purpose, you will need to fix the jammed door as soon as possible, but also in a way that will prevent the problem from recurring.
Depending if the door is latch stuck closed or latch stuck open, you will need to find the best way to make your door function properly.
Although your safety comes more from your deadbolt than from the latch bolt, you will not get security from a stuck latch door.
This guide, which results from our team’s incredible research, will help you determine why your door latch is stuck, how to diagnose the problem, and how to fix the most common issues.
Why Is Your Door Latch Stuck?
Considering that you have a door latch stuck, and naturally, you want to find a way how to solve the problem, but for that purpose, firstly, you will have to determine the reason why the door is latch stuck.
There is a considerable variation in how a door latch could be stuck, including the door latch stuck open and the door latch stack closed, but the reasons for each will probably vary quite a lot.
Firstly you will have to do a little research and troubleshoot the door latch stuck position in order to resolve the problem.
How to Troubleshoot a Stuck Door Latch?
Firstly you’ll need to try to open the door while it is shut.
Then note the resistance that the door is providing.
You will have to note:
- If the doorknob is not turning in order to retract the stuck door latch
- If the latch is not retracting even when the doorknob is turned.
- If the door latch is not extended properly before rotating the knob.
- If there is a need in order to turn the knob and unstick the stuck door latch.
You must jiggle the knob and the handle in order to unstick the stuck door latch.
The next step is to simulate door opening without the latch extending and retracting out of the strike plate.
With this procedure, you are actually actuating the door latch with the door handle.
In case this is not working, and the door is not opening, you will likely need to do some additional procedures, including:
- Try to shim the latch for the purpose of retracting enough and opening the door.
- There are also situations in which the door latch is stuck closed, where you cannot shim the latch because a component is frozen or likely because of the latch guards. In this case, the best solution is to take the lock off the door.
The most crucial step is to note the similarities and differences between the types of resistance the door is providing.
There are tons of similarities and differences, but we’ve singled out the most common ones.
For example, you will have to note:
- If there is some kind of fluid movement of the latch when the door is open.
- If the latch is still stuck in place.
- If there are any differences (which is not that often) or any similarities on how the handle needs to be manipulated to move the stuck latch.
The next step is to with the usage of your finger press down the door latch, but be careful.
You’ll have to do this without manipulating the door handle.
The next step is also of crucial importance, and it includes noting how the latch moves under different conditions.
For example, when the latch is directly depressed or when the pressure is released.
Here your duty will be to:
- Note if there is a need for more pressure so the latch can retract.
- Note if there is a need for the latch to be wiggled for the purpose of unsticking the stuck door latch.
- Note if the latch is moving freely in with pressure. Also, you will have to note if there is a springing up while the pressure is released.
- Note if the door latch is stuck or not when you are directly manipulating the door latch.
And last but not least is to make a diagnose.
How to Diagnose a Stuck Door Latch?
To deal with the information you have gathered from the stuck door latch, you need to have a better insight into what could go wrong with the lock, normally, in different scenarios.
You can now use your incentives to make an informed possible diagnosis of why the door latch has been stuck.
Below we have singled out some of the problems you may face along with possible resolutions that you can make yourself or with the help of a professional.
These are not the only possible reasons the latch is stuck, but they are seemingly the problems you are facing.
Misaligned Strike Plate
It is essential to mention that on the physical level, what is actually happening is that when you try to pull or extend the door latch into the disturbing hole in the impact plate, the metal latch does not fall perfectly into the hole.
This can manage into a scrape that requires excessive force to pull the latch against the sliding metal’s friction.
This is expected to happen with a jammed door’s latch as it cannot extend into the hole for which it is intended.
With the fact that a door latch is stuck when you try to open a closed door, on the contrary, when the door is open, you should not have any problems. This is due to the fact that you may have a misaligned plate.
The reason why a misplaced slab is likely related to the moisture that spreads through the wood on your door, or maybe even a problem with the fact that the foundation of your home has not been secured.
In both cases, this type of issue is likely to be repeated on an annual or semi-annual basis.
It is well known that if you are looking for a permanent solution to this problem, you will still have to make a short-term repair and then take additional steps to solve a bigger problem.
Suppose the problem is wood expansion, which is also known as a seasonal affective disorder.
In that case, you may want to look and redo how the door finishes are repeated so that moisture-related effects do not affect the shape of your door.
If the problem is your foundation, you may want to consider repairing it, some form of foundation, or even removing the tree whose roots are being thrown out from under the house.
In fact, the short-term solution is to move the punch plate to better align with the door latch, which is stuck.
By closing the door, you can mark the door frame’s point that contacts with the latch.
From here, you can unscrew the strike and reattach it to the proper position or even widen the hole with both wood and metal.
Nevertheless, if you only slightly move the stroke up, down, or even sideways, then you may not be able to turn it back into the frame.
In case the holes are placed too close to each other, they can compromise the strength of the screw because the thin part of the wood separating the two holes.
This thin part of the wood will probably make the impact plate very unstable.
What if the Latch Is Jammed?
It is well known that as a result of moisture, rust can accumulate in the lock and can affect the latch bolt.
With the fact that the latch has been stuck due to rust, the internal components get stuck as the excess material fills the gaps needed for things to move side by side.
This creates unnecessary friction as the metal lock bits try to slide next to each other or get out of the way of different moving parts.
This gun and dirt can impede the movement of springs, too.
In fact, the stuck door latch due to jamming latch will have no natural variation between the way the latch is moving when pressed or when the lever is turned (there are no differences based on whether
the door is opened or shut).
The problem is not in the door or even in the control that the knob has over the latch that is being stuck.
It is associated with the accumulation of material within the components, which allows the door latch to stretch and retract due to prevented spring tightening.
Determining how often you polish the lock will result in how quickly the lock will rust again.
Basically, rust creates an extreme potential for re-rusting in those same areas.
Therefore, it is good to use something like car wax to seal any minor metal imperfections prone to future rust.
Of course, before applying the varnish, you should take the time to dry the lock’s components.
Then, after the varnish has completely coated the lock, do not forget to remove the excess varnish so that the door latch does not stick.
It is well known that in cases where the door latch is stuck because it has been jammed with rust and other materials, it is always best to disassemble the lock and do some cleaning.
Leaving the components to sit totally immersed in the vinegar which contains about 5% acidity will do the job of separating the gunk from your metal.
Rust removal is widespread in old homes where you can see a lot of clogged locks.
This affects all locks with enough time, but after about a day sitting in vinegar, the locks will probably be wiped down and polished, which is going to make them look brand new.
Aside from just wiping the finish, you may need to clean certain corners and cracks with a small brush.
What if the Internal Mechanism Is Broken?
There are plenty of different things that could go wrong when something is broken in the lock.
The first sign that something is broken in the lock could be easily noticed when trying to manipulate the handle while the door is either opened or closed.
But this is easily resolvable by just pressing the latch, and it will slide in and out the way it is predicted to.
It can be broken via the spindle, so the trigger does not send any information to the door latch.
This is because the chain of interactive parts has broken down.
Apart from the spindle, there may be something wrong with the spindle hole.
If you see a problem with the keyed cylinder, then there may be a problem with the locking cylinder’s rear.
There may be something broken in the lock.
It is essential to mention that you need to be aware that there may be a problem with rust accumulation in the locking cylinder.
A few small pieces in the lock may have broken, which may reflect the effects of some other possible diagnoses.
When the lock is too broken to repair or total, which means that the price you need to repair is more than buying a new lock, this can be a perfect opportunity to upgrade your safety.
You can invest in higher quality locking products that provide greater security and require less maintenance and probably will not break down as often as cheaper locks.
This is because the same solid metal and well-made internal elements that make the locks high protection also make them better able to withstand general wear.
It is well known that the easiest way to repair a broken lock that has a compromised component is to replace the locks.
This can also be a cheaper solution if your lock is just one of the locks you can get cheap at Home Depot.
You can possibly check in your local locksmith shop to find out if there are any replacement parts.
The prices of specific replacement components can vary, and this type of replacement also requires you to know what you need to replace.
The more genuine you can diagnose the problem, the easier it is to replace the lock’s broken part.
Should You Fix the Stuck Door Latch?
The moment you have understood the problem with a door latch that has been stuck.
You need to know that you can also fix the door latch that is stuck.
With the fact that the latch has been stuck, the ways you can potentially fix the problem are time-consuming, plus you are familiar with the mechanics of locking.
Considering this is probably the highest cost in this process, it makes sense to do the work yourself.
However, if your time is highly precious, or you do not have the background to understand potentially complex and subtle problems and solutions, doing it by yourself may not be suitable for you.
When you do not fully understand what you are doing, there is a possibility of further damage to the lock, so it is essential to take time with each step in the process.
Pros of Fixing a Stuck Door Latch by Yourself
There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages of fixing a door latch that has been stuck by yourself.
But in this guide, we have singled out the essential benefits of resolving the problem alone, including:
- Spending money only on materials
- There is room for advancing your knowledge
Cons of Fixing a Stuck Door Latch by Yourself
Our team has singled out the disadvantages that appear to be more challenging for the one who is fixing the latch, including:
- It requires you to have exceptional knowledge.
- You will have to spend more of your time, and resolving the problem will last longer.
- You could damage the lock even more.
Should You Call a Professional to Fix Your Latch?
Make sure you choose a reputable company that sends qualified technicians who understand these types of issues.
With a locked door, you should be able to believe that the issue will be resolved in a way that reduces the risk of the problem recurring.
The best way to fix and anticipate the next problem is to borrow the eyes of a qualified professional.
They will inform you about your options and service prices, as well as the pitfalls of inactivity.
Pros of Fixing the Latch by a Professional
It is evidential that there are a lot more advantages than disadvantages, including:
- You will be sure that you are in safe hands.
- You will not have to purchase something before knowing all the options.
- The latch will be fixed as quickly as possible.
- You will have access to all necessary equipment and replacement parts.
There is only one disadvantage, and that includes paying for the necessary labor and materials.