How to Fix a Loose Door Handle

Unfortunately loose door handles and door knobs is an often occurrence with all the wear and tear that is daily put upon these household items. Whenever the handle pulls away, jiggles or just keeps turning with no purpose, you know it’s only a matter of time before it stops working completely!

Fortunately, we have put together this helpful guide to help you fix those pesky door handles and knobs so that they can be in working order!

*disclaimer, these are some helpful tips if you want to attempt to fix your door handle yourself. We would always suggest calling in a professional where possible to prevent further damage to the door.

 

Reasons doorknobs or handles can become loose

There are multiple reasons why a door handle or door knob might become loose, these can include:

  1. Wear and tear of time can cause the door handle or doorknob to become wobbly or loose so that it needs adjustments to be made tight again.
  2. It is an older mechanism and has been subjected to a build-up of dirt, dust and other pollutants that may affect the operation of the handle or lock.
  3. There might be a missing screw or a screw loose in the door plate.
  4. There might be an issue with the handle or doorknob mechanism malfunctioning

 

Popular types of door knobs

Exposed set-screw Doorknob

This doorknob has a set of exposed screws which secure the handle to the threaded spindle, and is often the most common way of attaching a doorknob. This version is often easier to tighten up a loose doorknob over that of a concealed screw doorknob as you can easily see how the doorknob is secured into place and how all the parts will fit together.

Hidden screw Doorknob

Although the screws cannot be seen there are still screws holding the doorknob to the spindle, much like the exposed set-screw doorknob. The major difference between the two is that all of the screws that hold together the doorknob are concealed behind a cosmetic faceplate.

 

How do you fix a door handle or Doorknob?

Step 1: Remove the handle or doorknob

If you cannot immediately see the issue the best course of action will be to remove the handle completely.

With exposed screws, you can simply locate the screw and loosen it using an Allen key or a screwdriver. Once all screws have been removed, you should then be able to remove the handle or doorknob.

If you have a handle or doorknob that has hidden screws, you will need to locate the detent access hole. The detent hole is spring-activated with a pin that sticks out to prevent the handle or knob from twisting on the door. You will need to use a flathead screwdriver to be able to press down on the pin. Once this has been done you should be able to spin the shaft which will enable you to remove the knob or handle.

 

Step 2: Remove the base

After removing the handle or doorknob the next step is to remove the base from the door. To remove the base, you’ll need to take a flathead screwdriver and try to slowly pry the ring loose. Be sure to be careful when removing the base as not to damage the backing plate. Should the backing plate be damaged it can stop the handle from ever going back on properly and you will need to call out a Locksmith.

 

Step 3: Identify the screws and tighten

After removing the base you should be able to see a set of screws, which most likely will need to be tightened. These screws run through the door and into the backing plate which is what holds the handle or doorknob together. Whist carefully holding the backing plate carefully tighten each screw.

 

Step 4: Reposition the base and restore the handle

After you have tightened the screws, you can put the base back onto the backing plate by clipping it into place. Once the base is in place you can place the handle or doorknob on the spindle shaft in order to line up the holes with either the screw holes (if you have visible screws) or the detent (should you have hidden screws).

The last step is to replace any exposed screws and you are finished with hopefully a fixed door handle or doorknob!

 

What to do if a doorknob is loose?

If a doorknob loosely spins on the spindle, the cause is usually that a set-screw similar to a grub screw, has loosened up and has lost its grip on the handle spindle. To adjust the screw or Allen key, look around the collar on the doorknob to identify the loose screw and using the appropriate screwdriver tighten the screws.

If a screw has been lost, you can take the doorknob to a hardware store to find a replacement.

 

DIY or Hire a Locksmith?

Depending on your skill level, repairing a door handle could be a fun weekend activity that challenges your knowledge or it could become a nightmare of a situation where you could actually end up worse than before!

 

Why Should You Hire a Locksmith?

  • Guarantee that the problem will be fixed
  • Saves time, frustration and energy
  • Can provide extra advice on maintenance and upkeep
  • Should a mechanism or lock need to be replaced it can be done immediately whilst the Locksmith is on site

 

DIY

  • Requires times and patience
  • Risk of the door handle not being repaired correctly
  • May require a range of tools
  • Inexperience could make the situation worse

 

Whether you decide to tackle the repair yourself or hire a Locksmith, there are many benefits to contracting your Local Locksmith to help you repair a loose handle. Not only will you get first class customer service, but are guaranteed the issue to be rectified.

Top 10 Locksmiths FAQs

We have created our top 10 FAQs based from what our customers ask us on a day to day basis. This guide will give you all the answers to the most commonly asked questions that you might ask when you need a Locksmith on the double.

How quickly can you get out to me?

The type of job can affect the response time of a Locksmith due its urgency. However we here at Keytek® have an emergency response time of 30-60 minutes, where possible, and for non-emergency cases will always try to get out to you within 1-2 hours.

Do you have a call out charge?

At Keytek® Locksmiths we don’t have a call out charge, we only charge for Labour (the time on site) plus parts if they are needed plus VAT.

Can you gain access without needing to replace the lock?

In the majority of cases you can gain entry to a property without having to replace the lock. Most locks, including uPVC and wooden locks can be bypassed by picking or other non-destructive entry techniques with relative ease when carried out by an expert Locksmith.

 

Our Locksmiths at Keytek® will always prioritize non-destructive entry techniques to help to you gain access to your property and as experts with both uPVC and wooden locks and mechanisms can easily bypass locks to get you in as quick as possible. In some rare cases it may be necessary to replace the lock, but this will depend on the circumstances of the lock out and the lock itself.

How much will the parts cost?

Factors such as door type and lock type will affect the cost of any parts required when hiring a Locksmith and the price you can be charged will differ from company to company. For example, the cost for a new lock on a uPVC door will change dependent on size, make, model and the level of security it holds as there are different standards of locks. See below for a brief overview of potential costs for parts.

Door TypeLock TypePrice Estimate*
WoodenYale Cylinder Replacement£20+
WoodenComplete Yale Replacement£40+
WoodenMortice Lock Replacement (5 Lever)£45+
WoodenMortice Lock Replacement (2-3 Lever)£25+
uPVCCylinder Replacement£30+
uPVCMulti-Point Locking Mechanism£60+

*Theses prices can vary and are only estimates. The exact cost of the lock will depend on size, make and model.

For a detailed and expansive overview of the costs of hiring a Locksmith, head over to our Locksmith Prices page.

How many keys will come with a replacement lock?

Each lock will differ with the amount of keys that it comes with, but you should expect to get 2-3 new keys with the installation of a new lock by an expert Locksmith.

Does the work come with a guarantee?

All work carried out by a Keytek® Locksmith, including any parts supplied comes with a year guarantee.  Any professional Locksmith should give you a variation of a guarantee to ensure that all work is completed correctly.

Home Security in Period Properties

Period properties combine class and style with both character and history, but can prove a challenge for security, especially if you are living in a listed building with restrictions or conservation area regulations. One of the main challenges can be home security, as period and heritage properties often have outdated security systems, making them easy targets for criminals. Modern security solutions can be introduced to increase the security of your traditional property and these are worth the investment. It is also possible to install security measures that work with the aesthetics of your property and its setting, without disrupting its visual appeal.

 

Home Interiors Chandelier on ceiling. Luxury Vintage Chanderlier

 

Window Security

Period properties have older windows such as wooden-frame sash instead of the lockable, double glazed uPVC windows that modern houses often have. You should consider looking at specialist sash-window locks as these will provide higher levels of home security. However, these might be subject to restrictions so you should always check with your local council’s conservation officer first before making any changes. You could also consider installing collapsible grilles for the insides of your windows; these may disrupt the period aesthetics but they do fold away when needed. These retractable security grilles are a good deterrent for burglars and also offer a higher level of security.

 

White Window

 

Door Security

Period doors can often be very thin, and therefore can be vulnerable to crime. If you have wooden doors, you could consider turning them around so that they open outwards instead of inwards, as this makes it harder for thieves to kick them in.

Georgian homes were built during the 18th Century and are often very symmetrical with large solid front doors, whereas Victorian properties were built during the 19th Century, identifiable by their red brick, large bay windows and gothic architectural style. Victorian front doors were representative of wealth within the community, presented through colourful, patterned tiling in the artwork on the door. If your door is from the Victorian or Georgian era, it may  not be as durable or sturdy as more modern doors to protect from intruders, with an increased risk of age and wear making it vulnerable to break-ins.

There have been advancements in door security for period properties, with improvements supported by the government’s Building Regulations. Doors should meet or exceed the British Standard PAS24 and locks should conform to British Standard 3621 . You should check that your new front door meets the latest minimum British Standards in aspects of glass for security, thermal ability, energy-efficiency and safety qualities. Modern security systems can be installed to your period front door and property, ensuring that its original charm and elegance is sustained to achieve a period aesthetic without compromising security. In order to protect your period property, the main doors should have a door viewer, such as clear glass or a window next to the doorset, a door chain or limiter. A door chain or limiter is not always necessary and there can be alternative ways to identify visitors, such as electronic audio-visual door entry systems.

Furthermore, a good locking system will ensure that your home is secure, by having locks built in with bars, bolts and support structures to strengthen the body of your door. Locks available for timber doors are considered far superior and stronger than those for uPVC, composite or aluminium doors, as these can be worked into the door and provide you with the flexibility to choose from a range of high-quality door locks. If you do not have a timber door, there are options for improving uPVC door security, these can be secured by design accreditation and police approved. Examples of these include: anti-snap locks, uPVC door handles, door chains and sash jammers to improve the security of the door, these prevent the door from opening if the lock is broken or opened. High bolts or dog bolts can also be fitted to an opening door, as when it is closed hinge bolts will prevent the door from being forced open off the hinges.

 

Mortice Locks

There are many options to increase security solutions through the use of locks for period doors, such as mortice locks. Mortice locks are fitted inside the edge of the door, these make it difficult to break into as most of the locking mechanism is contained inside the door frame. They are visually pleasing as less of the locking mechanism is visible, and therefore do not compromise the style and aesthetics of your original period home.

 

Door handle with knob

 

Deadlocks

You could also consider using deadlocks or deadbolts as a secure locking system, manually operated using a key. When a deadlock is unlocked, it is held in the withdrawn position. These are much easier to unlock in emergency situations, such as fires overall providing higher safety measures.

 

Modern Security Solutions

You could consider installing modern technology and security solutions into your period property, whilst retaining its grandeur and style. A requirement of home technology is to install alarm systems, alarm bell boxes and CCTV systems, all of these can be hidden if you do not want them to affect your house’s period style. Modern lighting is also ideal for preventing burglaries and you can find specialist security lights in a period style or adapt outdoor lighting with a standard movement sensor.

You could also consider fitting spy holes, door chains and bars to your period front door, carefully designed to retain your door’s style but also to prevent intruders. You could consider replacing the spy-hole with a security camera or smartphone app for peace of mind. Wireless technology can be an asset to period properties and can be easily fitted without damaging its original features. You can also use remote monitoring and viewing from your smartphone to identify visitors without affecting your personal security. It is also possible to automate security functions and control them remotely from your smartphone or computer. Discretely styled monitoring equipment and wireless technology can allow higher levels of security for your home, whilst retaining the period aesthetic and in some instances, you won’t fall under planning legislation.

 

Top Tips for Ensuring Home Security for your Period Property

  • Hide all keys, especially away from the letterbox as a device could be used to hook keys through.
  • Install a visual burglar alarm and outside lighting.
  • Ensure you have good rear and outside fencing to protect your property.
  • Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property, e.g. trim high hedges.
  • Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with Immobilise. The system where you can register your valuable to reduce crime.
  • Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
  • Avoid becoming a victim of a distraction burglary, if you’re unsure of who is at your door, don’t open it, check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from.
  • Use automatic timer-switches to turn on your lights and radios when it gets dark.
  • Use the Royal Mail’s ‘KeepSafe’ service, they keep your mail for up to two months while you’re away to prevent mail sitting on your doorstep as a sign that you’re away.

 

Home Surveillance

 

References
https://www.thevictorianemporium.com/publications/advice/article/home_security_tips_for_period_properties
https://www.londondoor.co.uk/modern-security-for-period-front-doors/
https://www.londondoor.co.uk/period-front-door-ideas-to-complement-traditional-features/
https://nhic.org.uk/2019/03/8-points-to-consider-when-choosing-a-new-front-door/
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/443221/BR_PDF_AD_Q_2015.pdf
https://www.ikslocksmiths.co.uk/blog/choosing-door-which-type-door-most-secure/
https://www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/burglary/
https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/faq/upvc-door-security/
https://www.vibrantdoors.co.uk/news/?p=2020
https://www.ikslocksmiths.co.uk/blog/front-door-security-tips/
https://www.safety.com/door-security/#gref
https://www.ikslocksmiths.co.uk/blog/upvc-door-locks-problems-prevention/
https://broadswordsecurity.com/news/how-to-secure-your-listed-building-heritage-property/