Fixing Common Composite Door Lock Problems

Composite doors are stylish, sleek and secure additions for your home, so it's no surprise that they are one of the most popular door types in the UK! Read our guide below for how to fix the most common composite door lock problems!

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In 2021, more than three quarters of burglars entered a home via a door so having composite door lock problems could pose a threat to your home security. Composite door locks should be easy to operate and use, and if you ever experience composite door lock issues, it might be time to get them looked at.

In this guide, we take you through all of the common composite door issues and how you can go about getting them sorted to ensure that your home stays secure!


What’s a Composite Door?

A composite door is a combination of a wooden core paired with a reinforcement material such as uPVC, laminate or even glass reinforced plastic (GRP) that surrounds it. Composite doors are often seen as more durable, resilient, and more secure than uPVC or wooden doors.


Common Composite Door Issues

Whilst thought of as the most reliable and secure door type by many, composite doors can be no stranger to door and lock issues themselves, often leaving homeowners worried about their home security and whether their door is working properly!

Issues like swelling, sticking and not being able to lock the door seem like serious issues, and whilst they can be, most of the time they can be quickly sorted with proper maintenance or a visit from a professional Locksmith.


1.    Composite Door Swelling in the Heat

Like most doors, it’s common that a composite door can swell in heat. As the temperature rises and if you are so lucky to be southward facing you might find that your composite door naturally swells and expands, making it difficult to open, close, lock and unlock.


The Solution: Engage the Handle

To help combat the effects of swelling we suggest that whenever the door is closed you get into the habit of ‘throwing the handle’. Usually to lock a composite door, you’ll need to turn up (throw) the handle to engage the different locking points down the door but what many people don’t realise is that without engaging those locking points, you leave the door resting solely on the latch in the middle of the door.

If you don’t throw the handle and just leave the door just resting on the middle latch you leave the top and bottom of the door vulnerable to warping or swelling.


2.    The Handle Won’t Turn Up on my Composite Door

To lock a composite door, you often have to turn the handle up – this engages the locking points throughout the door and then means you can turn over the lock. If you are unable to turn the handle up to engage your composite door lock it usually means that the door is out of alignment or the door mechanism has failed (see more about this below).


The Solution: Call Out a Locksmith

Unfortunately, if you have gotten to the point where your handle won’t turn up then you’ll need to call out a professional Locksmith to help resolve the issue. They will be able to service, repair and even replace any faulty parts you might have in your composite door or composite door lock to get it working again.

To help prevent this from happening, lifting the handle when you close the door, even if you’re not locking it, will help to take pressure of the middle lock and keep your door in position.


3.    My Composite Door Lock is Sticking

A ‘sticky’ lock is where it becomes difficult to insert a key, turn the lock or pull out a key when operating the lock. This usually occurs when dust, dirt and build up accumulates of the internal mechanisms of a lock.

Whilst mostly annoying and inconvenient, sticky locks can increase your risk of snapping your key in the lock, leaving you locked out, and can lead to home security issues where the lock isn’t fully effective.


The Solution: A Bit of Regular Maintenance

Sticky locks on composite doors can be mostly prevented by proper maintenance of your locking mechanism and cylinder. Whilst most will reach for the WD-40, we strongly recommended against this as it can often do more harm than good. Instead consider using a grease lubricant for the locking mechanism and silicone or graphite-based lubricants for your door cylinder (the part where you insert your key).

We suggest doing this once every 6 months, but if you are unsure always call out a professional Locksmith who will be able to service your locks properly.


Fixing Issues Related to Faulty Mechanisms

A common issue that can affect the operation of a composite door locks is a faulty mechanism. If a part of the mechanism is faulty in a composite door it can leave the door hard to lock or close and even in some cases disable it completely!

If your experiencing composite door locking mechanism problems then in most cases you will need to find your local Locksmith to help resolve the problem as it will need to be repaired or replaced.


Composite Door Gearbox Failure

If your composite door handle won’t go down or won’t move at all then it means that the internal composite door gearbox has likely failed. The gearbox is the central part of a composite door locking mechanism and may need to be repaired or replaced if it has become faulty.


How to Fix a Gearbox Failure on a Composite Door Locking Mechanism

To fix a faulty gearbox on a composite door locking mechanism you’ll need to call out a local Locksmith who will be able to repair or replace the gearbox. Often due to the time it can take to repair a gearbox, it’s cheaper to just replace it.


Multipoint Composite Door Locking System Failure

If you are having issues engaging your composite door locking system and the issue isn’t the gearbox, the issue might be with the multipoint locking system itself and may need to be replaced. The multipoint composite door locking system runs along the entire length of a composite door and is what operates the different locking points throughout the door. Unfortunately, if there is an issue with this mechanism you will often have to get it replaced.


How to Fix a Multipoint Composite Door Locking System Failure

As the entire multipoint locking system needs to be replaced, you’ll need to call out a professional who can supply and fit a new one. You’ll need to contact a uPVC specialist who has experience with these mechanisms, composite doors, and composite door locks.


How to Keep a Multipoint Composite Door Locking System in Working Order

To help prevent issues with your composite door locking system, ensure that you are not putting excessive pressure on the system through overuse of the handle and locking system. Ensure that when you lock the door, it is one swift movement and not jagged. A composite door locking system in good working order should be easy to use.


Fixing Issues Relating to the Door Being Warped

Composite doors rarely warp but this doesn’t mean that they are impervious to it. Composite door warping is where the shape of the composite door can physically change, often due to a rise in humidity or damp conditions. This means that if your composite door warps it could be unaligned with the rest of the door and even the door frame. If you are having issues with your composite door lock and your door has warped, you are not only potentially putting your home security at risk but are also potentially increasing your energy bills as they won’t be as energy efficient.


Slight Warping on a Composite Door

At any one time a composite door can warp between 3-5 mm with temperature changes. This warping can make the door less reliable and more difficult to use but usually the warping isn’t something you would notice on a composite door.


The Solution: Keep the Lock Engaged

By keeping the lock engaged (lifting the handle up when you close the door) it helps to keep your composite door is the right position and remove unnecessary pressure off of the composite door lock. If you have noticed slight warping of your composite door, ensuring that the lock is engaged when the door is shut may also help to remove the warping, although this isn’t guaranteed.


Significant Warping on a Composite Door

If your composite door has seen significant warping it can seriously impact the security and efficiency of your home. Significant warping can usually be seen at the top and bottom of the door and can seriously impact the effectiveness of your door and composite door lock.


The Solution: Replace the Door

Unfortunately, if your composite door has seen significant warping the only solution is to replace the composite door.


What to do if the Door has Dropped

If your composite door has become difficult to open and close you might find that it has dropped. A door dropping generally means that the locking points are no longer in alignment and continued use of the composite door locking mechanism could cause harm to the locking mechanism, lock, and the composite door itself!


The Solution: Tighten the Hinges

In most cases if the door has dropped, you should be able to sort the problem by adjusting or tightening the hinges. When the composite door is in the right position you should be able to easily open, close, lock and unlock the door.

If you don’t have experience with composite doors, we do recommend calling out a professional Locksmith who can ensure that your composite door is in the correct position and service your composite door lock to make sure it is fully effective.


What to do if the Euro Cylinder is Faulty

If your euro cylinder is faulty you may need to get it replaced by a professional Locksmith.

It’s not always the actual composite door that can be the issue; sometimes it’s the composite door lock which is usually a euro cylinder. If you find that your composite door is opening and closing with ease, and you can mauver the handle, but you are unable to physically turn the key to lock the door, you’ve most likely got a faulty cylinder.


 The Solution: Call out a Local Locksmith

If your cylinder is faulty, you’ll most likely need it removed and replaced, so you’ll need to call out a local Locksmith. A Locksmith will be able to change your faulty cylinder to one that is working and ensure that the entire composite door locking mechanism is in working order also.

This is quick and relatively cost effective but if you are wondering how much changing a faulty cylinder will cost, head over to our Locksmith pricing page.


How to Prevent Future Composite Door Lock Problems

1.      Don’t Put Unnecessary Pressure on the Composite Door Lock

When the door is closed, throw the handle up to engage the locking points throughout the composite door. This not only ensures that there isn’t unnecessary pressure on the central composite door lock but also helps to reduce your risk of your composite door warping.


2.      Keep Up with Regular Maintenance

Your composite door will need a once over every 6 months to ensure that it stays in complete working order. This helps to not only ensure the composite door locking mechanism works smoothly but also that your home security remains intact.

Remember to never use WD-40 on your composite door or composite door lock and to use the right lubricant!


3.      If Your Composite Door Becomes Hard to Use, Call a Locksmith

A composite door in good working order should be easy to use, whether opening and closing or locking and unlocking the composite door locks. If it’s not or is becoming more difficult to use, a quick visit from a Locksmith can help to stop any potential issues in their tracks.


For more advise on door and lock security check out our guide to Door and Lock Security.