My front door has been sticking for, well, months. And I’m not talking about the door itself, but rather the interior mechanism of the door latch. It’s essentially been a grip-strength test for anyone wishing to enter or exit my house from the front ever since it got sticky. The really sad part, though, is that it took a whopping half-hour to fix, twenty minutes of which I spent running to the local big-box to grab a couple of bucks in parts.
Bottom line: Don’t make the same mistake I did. Take a sec to fix it. Here’s how.
The mechanism inside doorknobs is actually called a latchbolt, as pictured at the top of this post. Over years of use — and a little moisture leakage from time to time — they tend to get a bit corroded. The springs can weaken as well, leaving you cranking the hell out of the knob (and/or wiggling it around) to get the pin back far enough to let you open the door.
You have two choices to repair the issue: Lubricate it or replace it. You can try lubrication — be sure to use graphite, as any wet lubricant will just attract even more crap into the mechanism over time — but honestly you can buy the whole thing for less than $5. Mine was a Kwikset model (link below) which set me back a whopping $4.27.
Installation is easy. Just remove the screws from the knob, pull off the front and rear knobs, unscrew the plate on the edge of the door, and pull the whole assembly out. You’ll need to assemble the new one before you stick it back in the hole. You’ll find a little switch to select the mounting depth. But if you’re replacing the old one with the same model, you don’t need to figure out anything. Just set the switch in the same place as the old one and assemble the new one to look the same.
Reverse the process and you’re done.