I have a door in my cellar that is stuck. Of course, my tools are all on the other side of said door (but I guess my credit card isn't, so that is a plus).

It has no lock and I cannot run anything between the door frame and the door as it has a kind of right-angle shape to it (so the front bit of the door overhangs the frame).

It is also made of metal. (honestly, I think the people that built this house were preparing for the apocalypse or something).

It is fairly cold outside (about -9 C) and hence the cellar is also not warm, my theory as to why it is stuck now runs into the realm of metal shrinking when it gets cold.

Irrespective of why, I need to get into that room, so does anyone have any idea what I should do?

I am thinking that my only option is to remove the hinges somehow but as you can see they are monsters, or trying to heat up the door (maybe pray for warmer weather but as I live in Austria, that will likely be some months off).


I put a wrong comment on this question to Mikes. Sorry Mikes. I performed some more investigation, using a Christmas card I tore two strips and ran them along the edge of the door (one from the bottom up and one from the top down) and they both stopped at the handle thingie. I then turned the handle and tried to move the card - it did not move. Hence I think the handle is not moving the triangular metal thingie in when it turns.

It is not flapping, however, which makes me think that removing the handle (something I think I can do with a kitchen knife and a pair of my wife's tweezers) will not help me - what do you think?

Instead I took an out of date roadside rescue service membership card and fashioned the following tool:


Here it is being tested on a door that is the same and thankfully open:


I noticed a small gap thus on the top of the door where I can slide it down:


The problem with this approach is that the tool is too thick to fit between the frame and the bit I have to push in! Arrrggh. It needs to be double-thickness because otherwise it will not be strong enough to push it in (I tested this).

I think, therefore, that I will go to the hardware store and see if I can get thin bit of metal bent into the shape I need. I don't know if this will be possible.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Here are the original photos of the situation:

Door overview



  • 2
    Does it seem like the door latch is the problem? Or is the latch functioning but the door is physically stuck in the frame?
    – mikes
    Dec 30 '14 at 13:00
  • I think the latch is operating OK so I think the door is physically stuck
    – kmp
    Dec 30 '14 at 19:38
  • @mikes - I gave you wrong information - I think the latch is the problem.
    – kmp
    Dec 31 '14 at 8:44

Try a set of floor tile lifters that have a handle and strong suction cups on each end. Here's a link. http://www.amazon.com/Red-Double-Suction-Tile-Lifter/dp/B00HDP84SU

You may be able to do the same thing with a couple of plungers if you can get a good seal. Good luck!

  • If there is a spring latch engaged, of course, that won't be enough by itself., but it's not a bad thought.
    – keshlam
    Dec 30 '14 at 23:27
  • Thx this tip worked for me! I managed to open a stuck ceiling attic door...
    – giorgio79
    Jan 24 '17 at 9:03

Pull hinge pins and try opening from that side? (Note that this is why hinges with non-removable pins are more secure.)

FWIW, I'm not willing to go much beyond this suggestion, as we don't have good evidence that you are actually the owner or otherwise authorized to pass that door. A local locksmith might be able to help, though.

  • In the middle photo it appears the hinge pins may be pinned or set screwed in place
    – mikes
    Dec 30 '14 at 20:21
  • Can't tell from the pic; maybe the Original Poster could comment...?
    – keshlam
    Dec 30 '14 at 23:24
  • I am not sure that I will be able to remove those hinges - they seem pinned. I didn't consider that this would seem like breaking and entering! It is an internal door in my cellar - as you can probably tell from the wallpaper but sure, I get it if you don't want to help a potential felony of course. I will try out a few ideas of my own and then I guess try and find a locksmith who's willing to come out in the snow in the holidays (I reckon I have about a 20% chance of this!) - thanks for your help!
    – kmp
    Dec 31 '14 at 8:49

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