No Handle, No Problem: What to Do When the Handle Falls Off

A broken door handle can be a minor inconvenience or a major problem, depending on the situation. If you find yourself in a situation where the handle has fallen off and you can’t open the door, don’t panic. There are a few simple steps you can follow to get the door open without the handle.

Check for any other ways to open the door.

Before attempting any DIY solutions, check if there are any other ways to open the door. For example, if the door is a sliding door, check if there is a latch or release mechanism that can be used to open it. If you live in an apartment building, contact the building manager or maintenance staff to see if they can assist you in opening the door. In another case, check to see if there is a different entrance you can go through, or maybe an unlocked window.

Use a credit card or similar object to slide between the door and the frame.

If you don’t have any other options, you can try using a credit card or a similar object to slide between the door and the frame. First, insert the card between the door and the frame at the level of the latch. Then, wiggle the card up and down while pushing the door away from the frame. This should disengage the latch and allow you to open the door. Keep in mind that this method may damage the card, so use one that you don’t mind losing.

This gets a little difficult when you have a trim board on the outside like in this photo. Try to rock the door back and forth while sliding the card in between the door, that should give you enough room.

broken handle affordable professional locksmith photo

Try using a screwdriver or other tool to turn the locking mechanism.

If the door handle is broken but the locking mechanism still works, you may be able to open the door by using a screwdriver or other tool to turn the mechanism. First, remove any screws or covers that are blocking access to the mechanism. Then, insert the tool into the mechanism and turn it in the direction that would normally unlock the door. This should disengage the lock and allow you to open the door. Keep in mind that this method may damage the mechanism, so use it as a last resort.

Remove the hinges from the door to gain access.

If the door handle is completely broken and the locking mechanism is not working, you may need to remove the hinges from the door to gain access. First, locate the hinges on the side of the door opposite the handle. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the hinges in place. Once the hinges are removed, carefully lift the door out of the frame. Be sure to have someone help you hold the door to prevent it from falling or getting damaged. With the door removed, you should be able to access the locking mechanism and open the door.

Call a professional if all else fails.

If you have tried all of the methods for opening a door without a handle and still cannot gain access, it may be time to call a professional. A locksmith can help you remove the door handle and replace it with a new one. It may cost a bit more than a DIY solution, but it will ensure that your door is properly fixed and secure. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it. At Affordable Professional Locksmith, we can provide you with an accurate estimate on repairing your door with only a photo, feel free to reach out to us for a free quote.

Assuming you managed to open the stuck door successfully, congratulations! We recommend you tape the latch down as a temporary solution, or at least avoid shutting it. It’s best to seek the help of a professional locksmith to fix the issue so it doesn’t happen again. If you attempt to fix it yourself, do it with caution.

Repairing the Door Handle

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

  1. Identify the door handle you have
  2. Gather the necessary tools and materials
  3. Remove the door handle
  4. Tighten loose screws or replace broken parts
  5. Reassemble and Test for correct operation

Identification: Before you can fix your loose door handle, you need to identify what type of handle you have. There are two main types of door handles: knob handles and lever handles. Knob handles are round and require you to twist them to open the door, while lever handles are long and require you to push down on them to open the door. Once you know what type of handle you have, you can move on to the next step of fixing it.

When it comes to residential hardware, Kwikset and Schlage are the two main manufacturers. It’s crucial to determine the make of your handleset to ensure easy replacement. This information is most commonly found on the plate at the edge of the door. You may be able to replace certain parts rather than the entire handleset, so it’s worth checking for replacement options.

The finish or color of the handle is something to note as well, as you will likely want it to match.

kwikset door handle finish guide

Photo credit: Kwikset

schlage door handle finish guide

Photo credit: Schlage / Allegion

Quick note if you think your hardware falls into the ‘super old’ category: The issue may simply be a loose set screw. To check, look for a small square spindle on your door where the handle used to be. You might find a flathead or Allen-key type set screw on the handle itself. Once you’ve located it, line it up with the old holes and tighten it down. If you’re still having trouble, consider reaching out to Affordable Professional Locksmith. We specialize in repairing antique mortise locks and take pride in restoring them to their former glory. Plus, these old locks often add character to a door and can be costly to replace. Let us help you keep your handle right where it belongs. 719-210-7158 24 hours a day!

Gather the necessary tools and materials: Before you start fixing your loose door handle, you need to gather the necessary tools and materials. You will need a screwdriver, pliers a hammer, a drill, screws, and possibly a replacement handle if the current one is damaged beyond repair. You probably wont use anything except for the screwdriver, it really depends on how your handle fell off or broke.

Make sure you have all the tools and materials on hand before you start the repair process to avoid any unnecessary delays. If your door is in need of some extra support, there are a few add-ons that can help.

One option is a door wrap, which can be installed around the door to provide additional security for the lockset. Another option is lock cover plates, which can be used to cover up any damage or misshapen areas around the lock hole. These simple additions can help improve the overall functionality and appearance of your door, and maybe keep the handle from falling off again.

don-jo wrap plate for broken handle

Door wrap plate photo credit: Don-Jo Link to Product

don-jo scar plate for broken handle

Scar plate photo credit: Don-Jo Link to Product

The first step in fixing a loose door handle is to remove it from the door. To do this, locate the screws that hold the handle in place and use a screwdriver to remove them. Depending on the type of handle, you may need to use pliers to hold the other side of the screw in place while you unscrew it. Once the screws are removed, gently pull the handle away from the door. Be careful not to damage any of the surrounding hardware or the door itself.

When trying to remove a lock, screws may not always be visible. If this is the case, it’s usually held on by one of the three things:

Set ScewThis screw can come in two shapes: flathead or hexagonal. To release the knob and reveal the screws, simply unscrew the set screw in a counter-clockwise direction. There are some Kwikset levers that will require you to screw clockwise to remove the knob.
Mechanical Detent PinThe knob typically has a small hole on its side, which can be used to push a button and remove the knob from the door. To do this, simply insert a paper clip or similar object into the hole and press the button, then pull the knob away from the door.
Spinning Collar RingIf pressing a pin does not work, try using a spanner wrench in the hole and twisting counter-clockwise.

Tighten loose screws and replace broken parts: Once you have removed the door handle, inspect the screws and other parts for damage or wear. If the screws are stripped or damaged, replace them with new ones of the same size and type. If any other parts are broken or worn, such as the latch or spindle, you may be able to replace just these parts. Schlage and Kwikset will both sell replacement latches at the local hardware stores. Once you have replaced any damaged parts, reattach the handle to the door using the new screws. Tighten them securely, but be careful not to over-tighten and strip them.

After replacing any damaged parts and attaching the latch to the door with new screws, it’s time to reassemble the door handle. Make sure all parts are in their correct positions and tighten any screws or bolts that hold the handle together. Do this with the door open.

Lastly, once you have reassembled the handle, test it for stability by turning it and pulling on it to make sure it doesn’t come loose. If it feels secure, you’re done! If not, double-check that all parts are properly tightened and consider replacing any parts that may still be damaged.

If you’re having trouble with a broken lock or handle, don’t hesitate to reach out to Affordable Professional Locksmith. While it may be a simple fix in some cases, we understand that older hardware or unfamiliar situations can be daunting. Our team of expert locksmiths is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have and provide suitable replacements (keyless or otherwise) for your door. Don’t let a broken handle keep you from accessing your property – give us a call today. Rekey your own locks at home with these easy guide.

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