The majority of UPVC / composite door locking problems are due to misalignment between the door and frame. This can either be due to poor initial installation, or the building settling/subsiding.
Signs of poor installation may be difficult for a layman to identify. In Lydney and Coleford in particular there are entire housing estates where composite doors have been badly installed by the builder. Gradually doors will become stiff, then after a few years the door mechanism can break completely. Eventually you’ll find yourself with a door that doesn’t lock, or you can’t open.
With older buildings the signs of settling / subsidence which cause misalignment can be more easily seen. If your door is difficult to lock, take a look around the frame or nearby to see if there are cracks. These cracks can indicate settling of the building and may be the reason your door is difficult to lock. If the settling is minor adjustments can probably be made to the door to get it back into correct alignment.
In most cases Ross-Dean Locksmiths can realign your door and repair the door. Sadly sometimes in the Forest of Dean you’ll come across a building subsiding so badly (or about to slide down Plump Hill) there’s nothing we can do. In a situation where we can’t fix your door – there is no charge.
If you just replace the broken parts without adjusting the door correctly, expect the new parts to break fairly soon.
It’s pretty common when called to a broken UPVC door to be told by the customer that they’ve been squirting WD40 into. It’s understandable, but for starters it’s the wrong lubricant for the job. Secondly the difficulty locking is normally because the door is out of alignment. WD40 won’t magically re-align the door.
If you ignore difficulty locking a UPVC door eventually the mechanism is going to break. You could end up with a door jammed shut, or unable to lock. In the photo below a customer had been using WD40 to try to make the door work. No amount of lubricant was going to put all these broken pieces of metal back together. Adjusting the door in time would have prevented this breakage.
It is far cheaper to adjust your door correctly than it is to open a broken UPVC mechanism and replace the parts.
REPLACEMENT LOCK DETAINERS
With most mortise locks that are difficult to lock there are 2 main reasons. Either the door has dropped and the bolt is hitting the keep, or the keys are badly worn / cut. If the bow of the key does not have a manufacturer’s name, (or has an aftermarket brand such as JMA) the key is likely to be a copy. Take a look at the bitting of the key for worn or bent elements. If the key only works one side of the door this is a good indication of a worn key.
Worn keys can be exacerbated having too many keys/junk hanging on the bunch. This additional weight can wear levers or the curtain on one side.
If the keys are too badly worn they may have damaged the levers. It is possible to replace these levers but it’s normally cheaper to replace a complete lock. An exception to this rule is for Chubb (now Union) 3G110 lock. A detainer pack for these locks is cheaper than replacing the entire lock. Some companies do make cheaper locks that will slot straight into the hole but they’re not the same quality as a 3G110.
UPVC door reported as ‘difficult to lock’. This was what we found. The top hinge had been ripped completely off, leaving the door hanging on by the lower 2 hinges. This is often seen when an unrestrained door is allowed to blow open against the door reveal.
As can be seen above the screws had not only stripped out of the plastic, the end of the metal flag hinge had sheared off. Typically this will result in difficulty locking/unlocking. Worst case scenario is the rest of the hinges fail and the door falls off, breaking the glass. In this example the door was repaired and correctly aligned.
It is always worth preventing your door from swinging freely in the wind. There are a variety of ways that you can achieve this.
If you need UPVC door or window repairing in Ross on Wye or Forest of Dean areas give us a call for a quote.
Double glazed doors tend to be fitted with either butt hinges, or flag hinges. Butt hinges are commonly seen on cheaper, lower spec UPVC French doors and frames. These offer little or not adjustment. Flag hinges are normally found on better quality doors and offer greater adjustment. (Metal skinned composite doors will usually have butt hinges as they do not sag, warp or as badly as UPVC doors).
If doors fitted with butt hinges have sagged, dropped, or were installed wonky to begin with it may be impossible to align the doors correctly. The additional strain trying to lock wonky doors will often cause the multipoint locking system to fail, jamming the door shut, or unable to lock.
Rather than replace wonky doors for a complete new set of doors/frames it is often possible (and certainly cheaper) to replace the butt hinges for flag hinges. These offer much more adjustment in all the planes and take the strain off of the locking mechanism.
We repaired these doors but replacing the original butt hinges for these flag hinges (3 per door leaf). Previously the doors had been held closed for months by nothing more than a padlock around the handles. The doors were so badly installed that the locking mechanism was broken and could not be replaced. The new hinges allowed the doors to be lined up correctly and a new working multipoint strip to be fitted.
If you are near to Forest of Dean / Ross on Wye and your UPVC double glazed doors or windows need repair or adjustment give Ross-Dean Locksmiths a call.
We were called to repair a set of UPVC French doors. The door could not be locked because the multipoint mechanism had broken. This was caused by the door swinging open with such force against the wall that it was ripping the door off its hinges. This in turn caused the door to drop out of alignment.
Because of the failed gearbox the customer had temporarily secured the doors by tying the handles together with a shoelace.
If you are experiencing any difficulty locking a UPVC door, 90% of the time it is due to mis-alignment. Unless you get the door correctly adjusted the gearbox will fail. This will result in a door jammed shut, or cannot be locked.
Not posted anything for a while. Let’s see how long winded fitting a cat flap can be. Customer’s cats wanted a flap fitting but the design of the door prevented a simple installation. The door needed adaptation from a 3 panel/2 bar lower section to a single section panel.
Imagine the scene… your UPVC door has been awkward to lock/unlock for a few weeks. You’ve been out all day with the family, but you can’t open the door. You’re all locked out, standing in the street until you can get hold of a locksmith to let you in.
The strain caused by the door being badly adjusted has caused the gearbox to break inside the door. The door is now jammed shut. It’s a really common problem.
If you doors aren’t smooth to lock/unlock; either get it sorted, or be prepared for the mechanism inside to fail completely.