If you are like most people, you don’t really think about your door hardware. You use it when you use the door or when you want to lock up, but for the most part, it never crosses your mind. However, understanding the hardware on your doors and how it functions with the door will help you keep it in good working order. Fortunately, this isn’t too complex to do on your own.
This guide will help you better understand more about your door hardware and how to look for problems with it. You will also find out some of the most common tell-tale signs of faulty hardware.
Your door stops working the way it should.
This usually isn’t the first sign that your door hardware is about to break, but it is often the first sign that gets the homeowner’s attention. You may notice that your door is sagging or that it sticks when you close it. The key may not fit like it once did, either too loose and too tight, or even getting stuck and the lock may be hard to unlock with the key.
You may notice that the deadbolt may be a little off, making it difficult to engage the lock – or you may have to pull up on the door knob in order to lock the door (by the way, that’s a really bad sign). There may be a draft coming in from under the door or around it. You might also notice that it doesn’t sit straight in the frame when it is closed. If you notice any issues with the way your door works, you need to do a thorough examination and find the problem.
Parts of the hardware are missing or broken.
This may seem like common sense, but many people don’t bother to properly maintain their door hardware – or they don’t notice that it is getting bad. Regularly inspect the doors in your home, and pay close attention to the doors that are used most often. Signs you want to look for include:
- Screws that are loose or missing.
- Grinding sounds.
- Broken parts.
- Sticking door.
Frequent use can cause screws to work their way out. If you notice that screws in the hardware are loose or missing, correct the problem immediately.
If you hear scraping noises when you close or open the door you need to investigate further to find the problem.
If you notice that any part of the hardware is broken, you need to go ahead and replace it. Don’t forget to check the latch strike or deadbolt strike as well.
If the door is sticking, then it isn’t sitting straight in the frame. If your door is sticking or is hard to open or close, then you may have broken parts. The hinges are a good place to look first. If they are missing screws or are broken, then they can’t do their job and hold the door in a proper position.
The wrong grade hardware is on the door.
Door hardware is graded, and each grade is deemed appropriate for certain functions. If your door hardware is the wrong grade, it can wear out faster. Things break more easily and wear out faster. Many people don’t realize that you can’t just walk into any store, pick up a lock and install it. Some locks are appropriate for interior doors while others are better suited for exterior doors.
Before you try to install door hardware yourself, check to make sure that you get the right grade. If you aren’t sure what to buy, ask for help. If you don’t have the proper grade on your door now, you can always change it – or swap it out when it wears out. Some people opt for the cheapest, lowest grade of hardware possible and shy away from the hardware that is right for their door. This is one of the worst things you could do to your door.
The hinges have not been lubricated lately – or ever.
A squeaky door can be very annoying, but it could be a lot more. Many people don’t make the connection between a squeaky door and the need to maintain or care for your door’s hardware, allowing you to stay ahead of the problem. You can go online to find out what the factory recommends for door maintenance. Many people use WD-40 or a special oil, but you can also use graphite powder, which is a dry lubricant. Scheduling periodic maintenance can help you stay ahead of the game.
Regular inspections and maintenance can save you time and money.
When your door hardware is failing, the door does not do its job well. The more it is allowed to go on, the worse it gets until eventually the door fails completely. You can avoid that by doing regular maintenance and inspections.
- Close the door, step back, and look. Does it fit flush in the frame? Is it straight?
- Open the door and note if it was difficult to open or if the moved or jiggled, making it seem unstable.
- With the door open, look at the lock and doorknob. Do you see any breaks, cracks, or missing screws?
- Try to jiggle the doorknob and deadbolt. Do they fit securely on the door or do they move? Is the doorknob loose?
- With the door open, turn the latch to engage the deadbolt. Jiggle the deadbolt to see if it is loose.
- Close the door and note if it did so easily. Did it catch, drag, or grind? Engage the deadbolt. Did it engage easily?
- Check the strikes on the doorframe. Is the hardware intact? Are there any missing screws? Is the strike broken?
- Look at the hinges. Are there any parts that or broken or are any screws missing? Are the hinges loose? When you move the door back and forth, do the hinges squeak? Are the hinges straight?
- Check both sides of the door since the doorknob is on both sides. You want the entire door to work well.
A little maintenance every few months can save you a lot of time and money. Doors that don’t have good hardware fail faster. It can cause you to have higher heating and cooling bills because air can escape through the cracks around and under the door. It can also leave you vulnerable to break ins. If the door is weak, it is much easier to break into your home. In the few minutes that you take to check your door hardware, you can protect your family, lower your heating and cooling bills, and enjoy a much more attractive home (which is a great plus if you are putting it on the market). Don’t leave your family’s safety to chance. Keep that hardware properly maintained and keep your door working.