enter image description hereboth handles removed[latch bolt still in door jambThe latch bolt for my exterior door is stuck inside the door jamb. I have removed both door handles, but can't get the door open to get at the latch plate or strike plate. Short of taking the entire door off the hinges (it's 10 degrees in MN...), other suggestions?

I believe it's a Kwikset Titan lock.

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    Can you post a picture of what you see? – bib Jan 29 '18 at 21:44
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    Have you tried taking a screwdriver or similar and retracting the bolt via the hole the handle usually occupies? Your first picture looks like you might be able to get something skinny in there to work the bolt open, too... – poorplanning Jan 29 '18 at 22:51
  • Yes, I tried that with a small screwdriver but couldn't budge the bolt. I also tried to work a fine screwdriver in between the door jamb and the door, but can't get it to snag on anything. – Nancy Jan 29 '18 at 23:12
  • maybe there is an anti burglar locking mechanism of some sort on the bolt ... buy another one at walmart or someplace that sells them and examine it closely – jsotola Jan 30 '18 at 5:30

Typically you are supposed to remove the knobs with door already open. On some sets you can install the knob with the stub ( I:E: the part that is shaped like a half circle that goes through the hole in the latch of the same shape ) without depressing the latch from the side of the door but some require you to press in the latch. Try to put in the knob with the stub that fits into the latch and turn it. If not you may be able to use a screwdriver to push back or turn or a combination or pushing and turning the mechanism to retract the latch.

  • I certainly would have removed the knobs when the door was open if I could have opened the door. The whole problem is the door won't open no matter what I do. The knobs (levers handles, in this case) do completely depress, but without drawing in the latch, like they're supposed to. I disassembled another handle to see if I could see anything useful, but it just confirmed that the lever action on the stuck door is not acting the way it's supposed to. I'm thinking I just may have to take the door completely off to get at the latch. Sigh... – Nancy Jan 30 '18 at 1:57
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    @Nancy I am sorry, that was not clear to me when i read your question. Just remove the hinge pins and have someone on the other side of the door gently push the door on the hinge side while you support the bottom of a hinge. ( or visa versa ) You should be able to swing the door out enough to clear the jamb and then away from the jamb on the latch side. You can then remove the faulty part and replace with a shiny new door knob. – Alaska Man Jan 30 '18 at 3:43
  • Thanks. That's what I've reluctantly decided I have to do. Its very cold here right now but it should be a quick job. – Nancy Jan 30 '18 at 14:46
  • So now I can't get the hinge pins out. If you look at the hinge picture I added, you can see 2 little bendy parts on the flat of the hinge. They don't look like they could be attached to the pin, but is there something else going on inside that I can't see that would explain why the pins aren't moving? – Nancy Jan 30 '18 at 17:43
  • @Nancy Did you use a pin punch to try to get the hinge pins out? – Andrew Morton Jan 30 '18 at 18:41

This isn't a recent post but I thought my experience might help someone. I had a similar situation where the knobs were off but the latch wouldn't release. It seems the transmission plate came unattached from the latch somewhere inside the mechanism, so sliding it back with a screwdriver did nothing.

I tried to take the door off the hinges but it wouldn't budge even with significant force. I have an older door with a 5 inch backset so the latch was very long and perhaps helped to hold the door tight even with the hinge pins out.

Ultimately I got out my Dremel multi max with a wood/metal blade attachment, slotted it between the door and jamb at the face plate and sawed through the bolt. I really didn't think that would work, but the cheap Kwikset bolt was partially hollow and didn't provide a lot of resistance. If you go this route you'll want to dig the cut piece out of the bolt hole with a screwdriver and not your finger, as it will be quite hot from cutting through.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Good answer: keep 'em coming! – Daniel Griscom Dec 11 '18 at 23:52

The tongue is stuck due to friction. The friction may be inside the latch or may be between the latch and the plate on the door jam. So, spray lubricant on all parts (both those easily accessible and those hardly accessible) and wait for the lubricant to seep into little cracks. Then reinsert the door knob (or use a screwdriver) and try to giggle and then turn the door knob while pushing on the door, top and bottom (alternately), and do this from the inside and the outside.


Depending how well your house is built:

At the risk of wondering what good your lock really does, many doorjambs are (too) bendable and a simple prybar (between door and jamb) will move the jamb enough to pop the latch free (or at least enough to allow prying on the bolt itself.)

  • Hmmm... I'll try that - gently - tomorrow. – Nancy Jan 30 '18 at 1:53
  • Careful, most door jambs are shimmed at the latchset... – Jack Jan 30 '18 at 3:08

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