Let’s agree— desperate times call for desperate measures. Losing a key is nerve-racking, especially when you only realize it once you’re at the door. And the constant thought of staying or even sleeping outside only makes things worse.
Worse, you might have the key, but the door won’t open because somehow the lock has broken down—so what do you do? This post gives you numerous techniques to use when your door is jammed from outside.
Why Does the Door Get Jammed?
Doors get jammed because the strike plate is loose. The strike plate loosens slowly and ultimately stops working properly. However, in some rare instances, it’s the door that doesn’t fit well, and so you have to find a way to tighten or sand it.
A door handle or a doorknob mainly uses a spring-loaded lock. So when you open your door, the handle draws back the latch by pulling the spring and compressing it. Unfortunately, it makes the spring enlarged when it’s not in use. Therefore, when the doorknob is tightly locked, the knob will not turn.
In short, when your doorknob turns but doesn’t open, the problem is your handle not engaging the spring in the latch. So how do you then fix a stuck door latch? Well, fixing a stuck door varies since they have different challenges. However, you first need to open the door before you proceed.
If your door lock is typically used in an interior door, reading about how you can get back into your locked room will be significant. However, if your lock is for an exterior door, you’ll probably need to keep them open as you tackle the issue of your doorknob turning.
To properly fix the door handle problem, find out where the connections have gone wrong:
- Then, remove the knobs off of the door.
- Get rid of the handles and the thru spindle.
- Use a flathead screwdriver to adjust within the space the thru spindle inserts into.
- Monitor if it works and retracts the handle.
If you notice the latch retracting, the handles are probably not attached to the thru Prindle effectively. That is a connection problem you will have to solve quickly. Perhaps the spindle has an issue, maybe the handles or, worse, the pressure that ensures they are in solid contact with each other.
You’ll need to check if all the door parts are still in shape, and if they are worn out, you’ll have to replace them immediately. But if there’s no damage, ensure the handles are appropriately attached to the door with the required pressure so that when they turn, they make the spindle work.
If you notice the latch not retracting, there’s a severe issue with its housing that needs to be addressed immediately. The chances are that there’s a problem with the spring and other latch components. Replacing latch fine-tuned parts is convenient, or you can choose to replace the whole latch housing but keep your doorknob.
When your doorknob doesn’t open, you will have to replace some parts but before that, make sure you isolate the problem to know what you’re dealing with.
Other Causes of Jammed Door Incidences
When an interior door sticks, it’s caused by several issues, such as the natural expansion and contraction of wood. This can periodically be a challenge to your door not opening correctly, and so you need to have a foundation repair, or else the problem will be persistent.
For some of us, our door stops functioning properly immediately after the rain strikes. This is mainly due to high humidity or a lot of moisture in the air. Similarly, heavy rainfall can make wood swell, making your door stick, but when the rain stops, the wood shrinks, and somehow the problem vanishes.
The other reason why your door might be giving you a nightmare is when your door hinges are out of alignment. This challenge is mainly brought by loose screws or, sometimes, children swinging on the door.
When your children hang on the door, their weight makes the door misaligned. To counter this situation, buy and install new hinges and if that doesn’t help, shave the bottom and top of the door so that it opens and closes without any issue.
If the problem persists, have your home foundation inspected. For example, foundation problems make the door and window not close properly. Other signs that your foundation might be doing you a disservice are uneven floor, cracks on the wall, floor, and ceiling.
6 Quick Ways to Open the Jammed Doors
We’ve all experienced panic attacks when you’re in front of your door, you reach into your pocket, and you can’t find your house keys. Of course, the question that runs through your mind is; is the key misplaced temporarily or lost forever? At this point, you’re sweating and shaking.
So how do you open a jammed door? Let’s find out.
1. Push the Bolt
If your door handle uses a latch bolt that its angled end faces you, try opening it with a credit card and see if it works. The credit card should push the bolt-handled end to allow the door to open without any difficulty.
You’ll need to apply constant pressure until you notice the card slides in between the jamb and the bolt and then twist the handle to open the door. The great thing about this method is that the card’s flexibility allows you to wiggle it and bend it into the tightest and tiniest holes.
2. Pick the Lock
Even though picking a lock sounds odd, it still works because it’s possible to open the door with wire bobby pins. First, get two bobby pins that are bent. The first bobby pin will act as a replacement for the lost or misplaced key.
Use the pin to turn the lock cylinder. Also, use the first bobby pin to bend the last centimetreFinally, test the latch and see how it adapts. or the round head end of the pin properly until it fits the two free ends. Then, incorporate the deep end into the key slot and use the visible part of the bobby pin as your handle.
You need to flatten and straighten it for the second bobby pin to make it a more extended, straight lock pick. Then, you’ll only need to make a slight upward bend to it on one end. Use the bent side and slide it into the top of the keyhole above, where you inserted the first bobby pin.
Note that when the door is locked, the cylinder lock stops turning, and it can be seen through the cylinder holes. Similarly, like the original key, the pin-shaped part keeps the pin-up and out of the way to make the cylinder turn.
To effectively pick the lock, use a bobby pin to push forward the pins simultaneously until the cylinder turns completely.
3. Drill out the Lock
Yes, drill out the lock. Find a drill and use it to make a hole through the lock to knock down the pins to enable the lock to turn freely. Since you aim to destroy the pins, you have to position your drill just above the spot where the key is usually placed and in line with the threshold, between the pins and the cylinder.
For the drill types, you’ll just have to experiment so that you find one that’s in the correct size you need. Start with smaller ones as you work your way up to more significant bits. Similarly, using oil helps the drill greatly in cutting through the metal.
The drilling process will take you some time, even after using oil, so you’ll need to be patient. Once you’ve drilled your way through the lock, use a screwdriver to unlock the door.
4. Pull the Bolt
If your door lock system has a spring-loaded latch bolt with an angled end, you should look carefully at the end of the bolt. If you notice it is facing away from you, use a lengthy wire to open it.
Ensure the wire is straight and that only one end is bent into a hook shape. Put the bent wire into the space between the jamb and edge of the door and ideally hook the wire to the latch bolt.
Once you’ve hooked the wire to the latch bolt, use one hand to hold the wire and the other to grab the doorknob. You then have to pull the wire toward you as you turn the knob. The pressure applied to the latch will force the door open within minutes.
5. Remove the Doorknob
To open interior doors that don’t use high-level security doorknobs, you’ll have to take the doorknobs off and then dismantle the lock. If you see the mounting screws showing, remove them, disassemble the knob, and lock.
Finally, test the latch and see how it adapts. A screwdriver will be great to remove the round decorative plate(known as a rose), shank, and knob.
However, if you’re unable to see the mounting screws, you’ll have to disassemble the doorknob piece by piece.
When you finally have a clear view of the mounting screws, get rid of them to access the lock system. Then, slowly slide the latch away from the doorjamb to open the door.
6. Unlock With Substitute Key
When you keenly study interior door locks like those for bedrooms and bathrooms, you’ll notice they are made so that even when your key is lost, you can still gain access to the room.
When you look at them closely, you’ll see a small hole in the knob. That hole has a hidden button that can be pushed to open the door. You only need a stiff and straight tool then you’re good to go. I recommend a paper clip.
Alternatively, you can use a spam key which is used for opening food cans and twisting metals. It’s key-shaped, so it will ideally help you open your door if you’re locked out.
Spam keys haven’t been used for a long time, but they get the job done in seconds. However, when the lock requires you to insert an object and twist, you’ll have to settle for a tiny screwdriver.
An Alternative to the 6 Solutions
If the above methods don’t suit you, use powdered graphite to coat your door key. Alternatively, you can spray graphite into the keyhole, which will act as an unguent and will loosen lock parts that were clogged. Finally, try the lubricated key if it doesn’t open after spraying.
You can also use a key extractor but only after applying a lubricant. It’s mainly used when you have a broken key inside your door lock. An excellent key extractor will help you open your door without any challenges. You’ll have to swiftly move the key up and down to ensure it’s hooked, then quickly pull the extractor to remove the key.
Another solution is to remove the faceplate of your lock, whether it’s a mortise or a surface-mounted rim lock, and take them for repair. These locks are standard for apartments and home doors. Next, you’ll need to expose the cylinder by removing the faceplate, turn them clockwise, and, lastly, tighten them. Finally, you’ll have realigned the cylinder to have a proper lock system.
Finally, test the latch and see how it adapts. If your lock is stubborn, you need to widen the strike plate inside the slot so that you can easily remove some metals incorporated around the rim. This is also a solution for locks that are misaligned.
Having a jammed door is stressful, but with some techniques, you can make it less nerve-racking. The methods above, when followed keenly, will help you open your jammed door within seconds.
Best of all, it doesn’t require many tools, only one or two; then you’re ready to open your door. However, applying too much force while implementing the methods above is risky as you might destroy your lock.