stuck deadbolt

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  #1  
Old 02-20-10, 10:18 AM
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stuck deadbolt

I have a single deadbolt (I think it is a Schlage - that is the type of key that opens it) that my husband tried to force open from the inside with the thumb latch. Now the thumb latch just spins and will not disengage the bolt. I can not turn it with the key from the outside either. Any ideas on trying to remove it? It is on an Atrium french door. I think the deadbolt action was fine prior, but was sticking in the strike plate. I think the door was a bit swollen from the humidity. The only screws I see from the inside appear to go to the decorative plate surrounding the handle. Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-20-10, 11:17 AM
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Remove the 2 screws and the inside thumbturn. (The outside cylinder may fall out, that's OK)...You should see a long flat bar that may be twisted or broken as a result of your efforts to unlock the door. If the bar will slip out easily, remove it and use a flat screwdriver in the slot it came out of to unlock the bolt. If the bar is stuck in the slot, use pliers to turn the bar.

In this manner you can exert a little more force on the bolt.
Slip a big chisel or similar tool under the door and pry up a bit while turning the bolt...binding bolts are usually a result of sagging doors. Pull (or push) the door against the door stop as this also may relieve the binding.

After opening the door, carefull inspection of the strike plate will reveal where the rubbing is occuring. Also, make sure there is sufficient depth to allow the deadbolt to project fully and click (deadlock).
 
  #3  
Old 02-20-10, 11:37 AM
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Schlage deadbolts are very common, so you can get a replacement bar (called a "tailpiece") from your local smithy.

A tip when putting stuff back together---with the assumption that you also have on your door a lever or knob latchset or lockset, that clicks in place when you close the door, it is this springlatch that is designed to hold the door closed, and snug against the stop/weatherstripping. The deadbolt itself should not then be in any bind from the door, and therefore be quite easy to lock/unlock.
 
  #4  
Old 04-04-10, 11:01 PM
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Thanks RStripe!

Well, we finally got the door open. Thank goodness! We had to take off the door hinges and by banging on the door it somehow loosened the deadbolt/thumblatch from the door jamb.

So I can get an Atrium Schlage replacement cylinder from a local smithy? Does Home Depot typically carry these parts?

Thanks again for your response. I forgot to check back after I posted my question - duh!
 
  #5  
Old 04-05-10, 10:53 AM
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The Big Boxes will not typically have the replacement parts you need....And, 9 times out of 10, the malfunction you originally described results in nothing more than a twisted tailpiece, for which a locksmith should not charge you more than $5, if anything.

And, since using a lot of force can sometimes damage the bolt cam, check it, using a flat screwdriver--
It should operate smoothly, (with the door open) then be sure to correct the mis-alignment with the strike plate, so it works smoothly with the door closed as well.

When re-installing the lock, do so with the bolt in the locked (extended) position, as this will help insure correct alignment, (timing).
 
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