Fixing a door handle – What are my options?

Without a sturdy and reliable door handle, a door is essentially useless. But so many of us allow our difficult door handles to remain due to sheer indifference.

For the sake of safety and security, however, it’s vital that every door handle in your home is springy and responsive, whether they are keyed or not.

But if you’ve noticed your door handles starting to wobble or rust, what are your immediate options for fixing or replacing a door handle?

Rust removal

If your door handle is metal (which most are) then it is susceptible to rust and rust, as we all know, can lead to several mechanical failures. If your door handle sticks easily and the latch bolt is not stuck then the root cause is most likely going to be rust.

Indeed, rust damage is easy to spot as it generally gathers not only on the internal mechanisms but on the handle itself too. If the internal workings are rusted, it’s time for replacement but if it’s just an external problem then it can be fixed with a simple compound made up of vinegar, water, and baking soda.

Fixing connections

If your door handle is a little loose then it might just need a little tightening up. The more often you use a door handle, the more torque is applied to the mechanism and the looser it becomes over time.

This is a simple fix that requires little more than a screwdriver to tighten the screws until the handle actuates the latch cleanly and completely.

General door maintenance

It might not always be your door handle that’s the actual problem. Sometimes, you’ll need to work on the door itself to fix the door handle’s functionality.

The most common problem is that the door is misaligned, which can happen as the door expands or the foundations of the property shift slightly.

Realigning a door is a task that requires a lot of patience but is actually rather simple and is essentially a case of trial and error until you get it to sit right.

Replacing parts

If you wish to hold on to your old door handle for sentimental reasons (or because it really does look that good) – but it doesn’t work properly, it might be possible to replace the internal parts if you’re willing to put in the effort.

First, you’ll have to diagnose exactly which part (or parts) are causing the problems. If it’s something small like a spring then you may need to take the handle apart completely before you figure out what’s wrong.

If you can easily spot the part that’s broken or missing and know how to replace it then you might be able to salvage your door handle.

Complete replacement

If the assembly is damaged beyond repair or you just don’t think the door handle is worth saving then you might have to bite the bullet and replace the handle entirely.

Door handles are, thankfully, rather inexpensive and easy to install, with most modern handles coming with their own kits that have everything you need included, save for the screwdriver.

As far as which door handles to go for, long lever door handles are comfortably the most practical and ergonomic choice as they have a longer reach and are generally easier to install. The only downside is that they might get caught on your clothing if you’re not careful!