The lever handle door knob on my front door can be turned either way, but only engages when turned turned one way. Can I make it work in both directions?

At rest, the bolt is engaged, as desired. When the knob is pulled up, the bolt is retracted as desired. But when the knob is pushed down, nothing happens: the bolt remains engaged.

door knob in three states: at rest, bolt is out; pushed down, bolt is out; pulled up, bolt is retracted

I'm not sure if it matters, but the mechanism on the outside is a handleset:

enter image description here

Related to Doorknob only turns one way, but mine turns it just doesn't engage.

3 Answers 3


This type of latch can be installed with the shaft that passes between the inner and outer latches rotated out of position, if I recall correctly. Try removing the interior hardware, spinning the shaft 180°, and reinstalling.


The mechanism for the bolt to retract in the opposite direction is separate, and it may have failed.

If you want both directions to work, it is a lot more complicated and is typically specific to that design, so a DIY method of fixing it may not be available.

However, some can be configured and it is a matter of setting a component inside, like a switch or some type of toggle, so you'll have to disassemble and try to figure it out or look up the manual for it.

If you want it to work only downwards, check what @isherwood recommended.


MOST door knobs I know of engage the latch in either direction. You may have something broken or installed incorrectly on yours, or someone purposely had it made to do this. In fact, it is considered a "safety issue" to not have the latch retract when pushing the lever DOWN, because if you were trying to get out of the house during a fire, you might be crawling on the floor below the smoke and having to push the lever UP to open the door may be difficult. You should fix/replace it immediately.

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the asked question (noted in bold in the OP) of "Can I make it work in both directions?" Instead, it simply recommends doing what the OP is attempting to do.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 17:48
  • So letting him know that something might be broken and is working incorreectly instead of thinking that it needs to be changed was worthy of a downvote? Huh...
    – JRaef
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 20:11

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