Asked on Mar 25, 2013

Opening a stuck door in an old house

Pat JamannTerryJeanette S


The house I'm moving into has a "stuck" front door that hasn't been opened in over 60 yrs. The door "wiggles" so the problem seems to be in the old-fashioned door knob/locking mechanism. The door has a large glass window in it as well. Should I find someone to take the door off it's hinges without breaking the glass in the door? This part of the house was"updated" in 1901; I expect the door was either updated or replaced at that time. The original part of the house was built in 1826...Thank you for your comments as I am "stuck" on this! : )
7 answers
  • Assuming you cannot get to the inside of the door to remove the hardware, you need to remove the door from the hinges and remove the door in that fashion. However assuming you can get to the hinges your inside so look for screws that hold the lockset in place and take it apart from that side.

  • I have seen where people nail or screw doors closed, so people can't can't get in.

  • Dufner & Son's Contracting
    on Mar 26, 2013

    in addition to the above: remember to use a sharp knive to score the old paint, it's probably holding everything shut like glue. And replacing it is safer then stripping off the old paint, as somewhere down the line it has a coat or two of lead paint.

  • Pat Jamann
    on Mar 26, 2013

    Thanks for the great suggestions everyone!

  • Jeanette S
    on Mar 27, 2013

    Your best bet would probably be to replace the entire door unit...frame and all! Good luck!

  • Terry
    on Mar 18, 2015

    You don't replace an old historic door if you have an old house. That is part of the charm. This has original glass probably. Take it off the hinges if need be. First see if you can remove hardware.

  • Pat Jamann
    on Mar 18, 2015

    Hi All, I was able to open the door in 2014. The wood on the base of the door swelled and some dry weather and a sharp "Painters Tool" freed the door. I then sanded the wooden door jam. Unfortunately, the locking mechanism wasn't working properly and the door locked itself a few months later. So, now it's back to being closed. But, at least I have an idea on how to open it.

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