How to Fix an Exterior Door Handleset

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Exterior door handle sets should provide a quick and secure way of entering and exiting your property. If the handle or lock is damaged or broken, you might find the door is difficult to open, close or properly secure. Inspecting the handle set and fixing any damage is often relatively straightforward. Many common issues can be fixed relatively easily with basic household tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Drill
  • Powdered graphite (preferably in spray form)
  • Hammer and chisel

Slowly close the door, paying attention to how the latch bolt lines up with the strike plate in the door frame. If the plate is too high or low, the bolt will not click into place when the door is closed. To raise or lower the plate, loosen the screws at the top and bottom and remove the plate from the frame. Drill new holes slightly or lower, depending on your needs, and tighten the plate back in place. You might need to chisel away a little wood to establish the correct position.

Remove the screws on the inside door handle and pull both handles off the door at the same time. Inspect the insides of each handle, making sure both move when the handle is lowered. Make sure the square metal rod running through the mechanism turns the latch mechanism. Consider installing replacement parts if the handles do not turn the rod.

Remove the screws on the side of the door holding the latch mechanism in place. Pry the mechanism out of the door test its movement. If the mechanism is jammed or broken, consider purchasing a replacement. Apply a little powdered graphite into the mechanism to loosen up stiff moving parts.

Push the mechanism back into position and replace the screws on the side of the door. Insert the outside handle first and then the inside piece making sure the square metal rod passes through the mechanism. Securely tighten the screws on the inside handle to complete reassembly.

Apply a little powdered graphite into the handle's keyhole if the lock is stiff or hard to operate. Work the key in and out a few times to work the product around the tumblers. Used by locksmiths and watch makers, powdered graphite helps lubricate delicate moving parts.

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