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DIY – DOOR Maintenance

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

How long have we been stuck in lockdown. How many door handles have we bothered to check for maintenance? For most of us, probably not even thought about it. But now is a good time to check and maintain our door hardware. We can check latch's, locks, privacy bolts and hinges... all the door closing functions! And we don't need expensive locksmiths or fixing carpenters.

Door maintenance is something we leave for later years until the door handle falls off or we can't open the door. Generally that is what happens. As long as we can open and close our door we ignore it. With a little bit of maintenance we can postpone the dramas too much later. Here are a few ideas...

What we need to start...

What we need is...

  1. some lube, ideally WD40 or Inox spray available from most service hardware stores, some supermarkets.

  2. tube grease (Vaseline or silicone lube) again from most service hardware stores or supermarkets.

  3. 5 clean rags.

  4. Screw drivers: flat head and Philips. Size will depend on screw heads.

  5. May need hex key 4mm, 5mm, or 6mm will do. Comes with door handles!

  6. Medium bucket half of warm water, dish washing liquid and a few clean cloths.

Starting point...

  • You can do this quickly. Starting with the front door and working your way round the house to the left. Test every door and note those doors which need attention which you will come back to after retuning to the front door. Keep a note so then you have a list to work from over the lockdown days. It is always good to carry a spray lube so that you can give a quick light spray through the latch tongue of all your doors. Wipe off excess spray. Saves time later.

  • Alternatively you can work your way round door by door undertaking required maintenance as needed.

What are we looking for?

First thing first, check doors while the door is open - not closed!

  • Yes people have got stuck behind closed doors when the mechanism has failed. We don't want that to happen.

What we are looking for is faulty components of the door. Parts that squeak, drag, droop, make noises, scrape, and cause faulty operation. Much can be done with a little maintenance while other faults will need the professionals.


  1. Latch:

  2. Privacy:

  3. Lock:

  4. Deadbolt:


When you open a door, the door hangs on hinges which allows it to float free.

So when opening a door, feel the door movement.

  • Does the door swing freely?

  • Not feeling tight, or dragging, or vibrating?

  • No squeak or grinding noises?

  • Does it have a door closer? This may become another issues to look at.

  • Some doors may be on a pivot system. This is another issue to look at and may require professional help.

Hinges rarely cause a problem. But they can. A squeaky hinge can be annoying. The easiest fix is a little lube spray on the hinge-butt and swing open and close the door so that the lube can penetrate the hinge pin. You may need to spray a few times to allow enough lube to penetrate the butt. Wipe excess spray from the hinge with your rag.

Take a look at the hinges on the door. Are all the screws fitted flush? Are the hinge pins in place - sometimes loose pin hinges have their pins move due to open and closing. They may need a gentle tap back into place. And a little lube.

Are there any signs of the door cracking around where the hinge is located? When you move the door does the hinge move in its location or is it fixed firmly to the door. If there is cracking or unusual movement you may need to replace the door. Time for a fixing carpenter.

If a door closer is fitted to your door this will slow the the door closing but allow easy opening. Do not force the door to close or open faster than the settings. You will damage the door closer. Door closer can be adjusted accordingly. However, there is a weight ratio that can affect the smooth opening and closing of said door. If the door closer is correct for your door weight then simple adjustments can be made to improve closing and opening speeds. Instructions would have come with the product. If you do not have that information what you will need is the make and model of the door closer to Google Search for relevant information. Signs of leaking oil means time for a replacement door closer. These are generally non reparable. Seek out a knowledgeable fixing carpenter.

A pivot door has no hinges but uses a pivot system. A pin located at the top and one at the bottom so that the door opens on the two pivot pins. It is rare to have a problem with these if installed correctly. However if the door is heavier than the weight rating of the pivot system in use then there will be serious issues. The door will drop. Time for a fixing carpenter with knowledge.

Link to our hinges page here

Door handles:

Let's look at door handles. I usually start with a toilet door as they are used most frequently. I will work my way round to the left of the house door to door, as I progress, ending back at the toilet door eventually.

The first thing I need to do with my toilet door is to feel if the handle set is operating smoothly.

With the door open... does the handle pull down nicely and retract on its own effectively. No squeak, no drag, no sloppiness, no droop. Hate the droop!

  • I will operate both sides to ensure they are both working effectively. At the same time observe the latch tongue, does it retract smoothly? Are there noises that don't sound as though they should exist?

  • You may have a solid spindle which operates both handles accordingly, or you may have half spindles (used on privacy lever set) which allow each leaver to operate independently. Either one, it is always best to check both lever sides.

  • You may have a separate privacy set or the privacy is apart of the lever itself. Usually a push pull pin on the rose. Engage the privacy pin - the outside handle should be fixed. The inside should release the pin and retract the latch.

  • For a separate privacy with turn and release, test both sides to ensure the privacy bolt engages and retracts accordingly. The turn will throw and retract the privacy bolt. The release side will do the same. Should be smooth operation. Apply a little lube spray to the bolt.

The idea is to check all the functions to identify possible maintenance issues.

  • If the handles squeaks or sounds dry it's time to spray some lube. It could be that the latch mechanism is dry, or the springs on the lever are dry.

You have two options:

  1. The simplest option 1 way to attend to this is to undertake a simple spray lube.

  2. By pulling the lever handle down you will retract the latch.

  3. What you want to do is spray into the latch area preferably getting the spray to go behind the latch tongue. That is is why they provide a plastic straw to attach to he spray nozzle.

  4. apply the spray and move you door levers gently up and down to help lubricate the mechanism.

  5. you don't want to damage your door, so wipe away any excess spray.

  6. remove the door handles from the door itself.

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