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How to Maintain Your Door Locks

At Great Valley Lockshop, we want to save your locks and save you money, so we put together this blog to explain how you can care for your locks all year round to reduce problems with them. That means you call us less frequently, which saves you money. 

When you devote a little time each month to door and lock maintenance, you reduce the number of problems you experience with your doors and locks. This maintenance consists of checking how the doors hang, how the locks fit into the lock jambs, and observing any loose hinges. 

Whether your home uses wood or steel doors, certain facts apply. Precise measurements for the lock cuts and screw holes matter. Using a pre-hung door can solve part of this problem, but the cuts into your wall still require precision. Mistakes in the hanging process and typical wear and tear can wear out your locks long before their seven-year average age of replacement. Follow these steps each month to maintain healthy locks. 

How’s it hanging?  

Your doors should not sag or drop. Open each door and observe how smoothly and fluidly it opens. Did you feel a slight dip when it opened? That indicates improper hanging. If it has always done that, it got hung wrong from the start. If it developed over time, the door either shrank or swelled from the weather, or its hinge screws loosened. 

Close the door. 

Close the door and observe the gap between the frame and the door on all sides. This gap should appear even. The gap should measure between 1/8 of an inch and a fraction less than 1/4 inch. If it measures more than that on any side, you need the door rehung. 

Test each door’s deadbolt and deadlatch. 

When you shut the door, the deadlatch and the deadbolt should align perfectly but they shouldn’t fall into each other. When the door closes, it should freely align without needing to jiggle the lock or lift the door. 

Flip the deadbolt. It should instantly tumble into place fully. The door jamb deadbolt hole needs to bore deep enough for the lock to fit in fully, otherwise, it doesn’t protect your home. 

Check each door’s strike plates, hinges, and screws. 

The screws attaching your door’s strike plates and hinges to the door frame should measure three inches in length. Anything less allows the door to sag over time. These longer attaching screws also increase the break-in resistance of the door. If you discover that your door hangs by screws of one or two inches, you can replace those screws with three-inch ones. Locate the longer screws at the center of the wall. The strike plates, the two plates that surround the deadbolt, should use the same long screws as the hinges. 

Clean each door’s locks. 

This doesn’t even appear on most spring cleaning lists but ranks in importance with changing air filters, so you breathe clean air. You can clean door locks with a damp rag. Some manufacturers recommend a mild detergent or soap. Look up your manufacturer online because they explain which method to use because they typically include this in their frequently asked questions. 

Avoid using any abrasive cleaner or chemicals on the lock. This can erode the protective coating on the lock. 

Annually lubricate your door locks. 

The type of lubrication matters. Avoid using petroleum-based products. Instead, choose a dry lubricant, graphite, or Teflon. Spray a bit into the keyway. Place your key in the lock and flip the lock. Unlock it and remove the key. Clean off the key. Repeat the process until you remove a clean key. The gunk you remove erodes proper locking when left there, which can damage your door. Removing it helps your lock last longer. 

Contact Great Valley Lockshop for Lock Replacements 

After you’ve done this maintenance routine if your door or lock still sticks, call us. Great Valley Lockshop will respond quickly and repair or replace your locks. We can help you properly hang your doors, too. Contact us today. 

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