Fixing a Door Handle
Determined to fix that troubling door handle? Discover the precise steps for diagnosis and repair in this definitive guide on “how to fix a door handle.”
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You’ll learn how to tackle common door handle issues with simple tools and clear instructions — no experience necessary.
Door Handle Repairs - Overview
- Identifying the specific issue with a door handle, such as wear, misalignment, or damaged components, is an important step before the repair can begin.
- Repairing a door handle involves a toolkit that includes a variety of screwdrivers, Allen keys, possibly a power drill, and having a replacement handle ready if necessary.
- If door handle issues are beyond simple DIY repairs, it’s advisable to seek out a professional repair service, ensuring they have experience, a good reputation, and provide guarantees on their work.
Identifying the Problem with Your Door Handle
Before jumping right into things, the first step is to find out what is actually wrong with your door handle, just so you know what you are doing going into things. The last thing you want to do is leave your handle or knob in a worse state.
Door handles can develop a myriad of issues, including:
- Loose door handle
- Missing screws
- Misaligned door knob collar
- Wear and tear
Identifying the problem is the first step towards fixing it. A loose or missing screws on your door handles can signal wear and tear, and a loose door handle may also be a sign of damage.
Sometimes, a door may not close properly due to the handle, which could be due to incorrectly positioned hinges or misalignment between the door latch and strike plate on the door frame.
Misalignment issues can be particularly detrimental, leading to broken door locks or damaged doors. Look out for these common problems to identify what’s wrong with your door handle.
This can be one of the problems with composite door locks that you may encounter, but can be easily solved if you know what to do.
Tools for Door Handle Repair
Obviously, you can't just move a few things about with your hands and fix your loose door handle, so here we will go through some of the tools you'll need.
Prior to starting your repair, ensure you have the appropriate tools. A variety of screwdrivers, including a flat-head screwdriver with different head types and sizes, alongside an Allen key, are indispensable for door handle repair. This screwdriver or Allen key tools are used to adjust and tighten the handle.
In certain cases, you may need a power drill. This is especially important when it’s necessary to drill a hole in the latch body or when screws need to be drilled in.
Also, remember to have a new handle or doorknob kit on standby in case your old one is beyond repair.
Disassembling the Door Handle
Now, it's time to put those tools to use for your loose door handle!
The first step to inspecting and repairing your door handle involves its disassembly, which includes the removal of the handle and the detachment of the base plate. Let’s guide you step by step through this process.
Removing the Handle
To remove the door handle, inspect for any recessed fasteners that may require a thin screwdriver or an Allen wrench. If no fasteners are visible, a paperclip can be used to engage the handle’s release mechanism via a detent access hole.
Be sure to keep the door in an open position to prevent accidental lock-ins. Use a wedge or doorstop to secure the door in an open position.
On the side of the door, carefully pry or twist off the door plate, including the handle’s cover plate, to expose any fasteners connected to the base, such as hidden screws.
Detaching the Base Plate
Once you’ve removed the handle, it’s time to detach the base plate. For this, you’ll need a screwdriver and pliers. Depending on the specific repair needs, you might also require a tape measure, hammer, and drill.
To remove the backing plate, follow these steps:
- Insert a flathead screwdriver into the notch in the base or side of the handle.
- Carefully remove the plate by prying or twisting if necessary.
- Ensure that any recessed fasteners are undone before detaching the base plate.
Inspecting and Repairing the Door Handle
After disassembling the door handle, proceed to its inspection and repair. This process involves checking for loose screws and realigning the handle if required.
Checking for Loose Screws
Loose door handle starts to become a problem when loose screws make it wobbly and unreliable. Here’s how to fix it:
- Start by removing the handle or doorknob and rotating the shaft to look for areas of instability.
- Reattach the handle onto the spindle and securely tighten the set screw.
- Ensure proper alignment by locating the detent hole.
Be cautious not to over-tighten the screws in the screw holes, as excessive tightening can cause stripped or snapped screws, damaged threads, and failed fasteners. These issues can compromise the secure fit of the door handle and potentially cause damage.
Realigning the Handle
Misaligned door handles can cause broken door locks or damaged doors. To fix this issue, follow these steps:
- Slightly loosen the screws on the door handle to allow for movement.
- Adjust the handle to a proper horizontal position.
- Retighten the screws to secure the handle in place.
By following these steps, you can realign the door handle and prevent any further damage.
To identify misalignment in a door handle, you can use the following method:
- Apply lipstick or a coloured marker to the latch plate.
- Close the door.
- Check if the transfer occurs onto the strike plate. If it does, it indicates misalignment.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that the door handle’s spindle aligns with the latch follower.
Reassembling the Door Handle
Once the handle is inspected and repaired, the next phase involves its reassembly. This step requires placing the handle back onto the spindle shaft and securing it.
Putting the Handle Back on the Spindle Shaft
To put the handle back on the spindle shaft, follow these steps:
- Remove the handle or doorknob.
- Rotate the spindle shaft if necessary.
- Place the handle onto the spindle.
- Tighten the set screw to hold the handle in place firmly.
Exercise caution while doing this because improper alignment of the holes and improper positioning of the face plate can lead to issues later on. Be sure to securely turn the handle until it audibly clicks into place.
Securing the Handle
Once the handle is back on the spindle shaft, it’s time to secure it. This involves tightening the screws and possibly using a detent to ensure secure placement of the handle.
For an additional layer of security, consider applying a thread locker adhesive directly onto the fastener threads before screwing them in. It enhances the handle’s ability to withstand:
- reduces the risk of loosening
- reduces the risk of leakage
- reduces the risk of corrosion of the screws.
Once you have done all of this, your door handle should hopefully be fixed and no longer loose. This could be a good time to clean your door handle to further breathe some new life into it.
Door Handle Replacement - When to Do It
There may be instances when complete replacement of the door handle becomes necessary. Indications for replacement could be:
- Irreparable loose handles
- Wobbly handles from a dropped door
- Damaged handles
- Broken springs
- Problems with the multi-point locking system
A quality door handle generally has a lifespan of over 25 years. However, premature replacement may be necessary if components deteriorate or malfunction due to inadequate maintenance or other influencing factors. Always consider the condition and age of your door handle before deciding on a replacement.
In addition to replacing your door handles, you can also replace the locks on your door with it. You can see our guide on changing locks on a uPVC door for a better idea of what to do when you get into a bit of DIY.
Professional Door Handle Repairs
If DIY attempts risk security or the problem surpasses your expertise, seeking professional door handle repair services could be beneficial.
Professionals offer a range of services, including repairing and fixing broken or faulty door handles and replacements.
Selecting a door handle repair professional requires careful consideration of their experience, reputation, and customer reviews.
Additionally, inquire about their warranty or guarantee on their repair work. A professional in this field should have mechanical skills, knowledge of door handle installation and repair techniques for any part of the door, and the ability to think creatively and problem-solve on the job.
Fix Loose Door Handles - Final Thoughts
Now that this is the end of our guide, you should hopefully know a bit more about repairing door handles, including that a loose or malfunctioning door handle is a common household issue that can often be fixed with the right tools and a bit of know-how.
From identifying the problem, gathering the required tools, disassembling, inspecting, repairing, and reassembling the door handle, we’ve walked you through the process step by step.
Remember, if the issue persists after your repair attempts or if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
After all, a properly functioning door handle is not just a matter of convenience—it’s also a matter of security.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fix a loose door handle lever?
To fix a loose door handle lever, first locate the screws on the faceplate of the handle, inspect them, realign the lever, tighten or replace the screws, and then reinstall and secure the door handle.
How do you fix a door handle that sticks?
To fix a door handle that sticks, try applying lubricant like WD40 to loosen the seized components.
If the problem persists, you may need to replace the door handle.
How do you fix a jammed door handle?
To fix a jammed door handle, use a lubricant like WD-40 to loosen up the mechanism and work it into the components while checking for signs of rust.
What tools do I need to fix a door handle?
You will need a screwdriver, an Allen key, and possibly a power drill. Consider purchasing a new handle or doorknob kit if the old one cannot be repaired.
How do I identify a misaligned door handle?
To identify a misaligned door handle, you can apply lipstick or a coloured marker to the latch plate and then close the door. If the mark transfers onto the strike plate, the handle is misaligned.