I have a situation in my 90 year old house with the bathroom door. Last night my bathroom door was closed and somehow bolted locked from inside and I can't get into it or unlock it. I believe this is a mortise lock (like this), but I have no keyhole on the outside, it's just door under the knob.

The bolt goes in an estimated 1.5-2 cm into the door frame. There is a small window to the bathroom, but it's 10 feet up from the ground outside and I would be going in head first about 5 feet to the tub. The hinges are on the inside of the door and the door swings into the bathroom.

Any ideas on how to unlock the door or get inside? Or even an idea of how this could have even happened would be nice to know?

  • I asked the burglar/ghost but they didn't want to (just joking obviously, although at first I thought someone broke in). I did mean mortise I think, this is all new and my guess from googling for a few hours. – anton2g May 2 '16 at 16:58

There are contraptions that can unlock something like that by going under the door, but they are complicated and difficult to operate. You would be spending days trying to figure out how to get it to work.

By far your easiest option will be to go in the window.

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  • Do you have a link to these under the door contraptions? – anton2g May 2 '16 at 17:26
  • @anton2g No, you are dealing in the world of burglars and locksmiths. People who know how to do that stuff don't post schematics on the web. Trust me, you don't want to go there, it takes a professional to build and work those contraptions. You might try a locksmith, but unless he is really really good, he will just want to go through the window. – Tyler Durden May 2 '16 at 17:27
  • Not sure how I can climb in through the window without crashing down into the tub on my head – anton2g May 2 '16 at 17:35
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    @anton2g Set the ladder above the window and go in feet first. – Tyler Durden May 2 '16 at 17:59
  • Is this (blakhal0.blogspot.com/2012/09/diy-under-door-mule-tool.html) the tool you were thinking? If so, I can give it a try and make one. – anton2g May 2 '16 at 18:54

Modern mortise locksets for bathrooms usually have a deadbolt release on the outside, opposite the deadbolt knob (or thumbturn) in the inside. The release is intended to be operated using a coin or screwdriver.

Your lockset presumably lacks this external release feature. However it is likely that the lock body itself has openings on both sides for the deadbolt. So, in the worst case, you could remove the external lever and cover-plate and then cut a hole through the wood of the door at the position of the deadbolt knob to gain access to the deadbolt shaft.

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  • Ok, I like this train of thought, if I cut a hole on the outside through the wood door to the deadbolt shaft, how will I then proceed? – anton2g May 2 '16 at 17:21
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    @anton2g: You can then use pliers to pull the square shaft partly out and to turn it (retracting the deadbolt) or something similar. Often the shafts are loose and not secured in the knob. You may need to get creative by drilling a small hole in the end of the shaft and using a screw extractor to exert torque. – RedGrittyBrick May 2 '16 at 21:47

If the lockset in your bathroom is like the ones in the example picture, you should be able to remove the metal coverplate on the outside. There should be 4 slotted screws holding it on.

From there, you should have access to the lock itself. There should be a hole in the door that allows you to open the door from the outside. It would be difficult to know what the lock is actually like without an exact match. If the door has a regular keyhole, you can buy a skeleton key from the hardware store, which will work most of the time. If it is a thumbturn latch on the other side, then there may be a specialty key that needs to be used. They typically have a square arbor. You may be able to turn that with a small pair of pliers.

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  • Behind the faceplate is just the wood of the door, the only hole on the outside is for the doorknob. Is there a high likelihood that if I drill a hole through the wood door where key would go that there would be latch mechanism that I could manipulate? Its a thumbturn latch by the way. – anton2g May 2 '16 at 19:26
  • Does the plate itself have a hole in it? If it does, then that would give you a clue where to drill. If it doesn't, then that is somewhat troubling. There is no guarantee that there is a release from the other side. I would suggest entering through the window, and then taking the lock apart to see if it can be setup to be accessed from both sides. If entry through the window is not possible, then in a pinch, you can cut a small hole in the wall next to the door, and reach through to unlock it. – Jason Hutchinson May 2 '16 at 19:51

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