How to Open a Jammed Door

how to open a jammed door

One of the most aggravating circumstances to deal with is a jammed door. When you’re rushing to an event or meeting, the last thing you want is to be stopped by a door that won’t open, especially when there’s no other way out. If you’re struggling with this issue, continue reading, and we’ll cover the best ways to fix it and prevent it from happening again.


Common Causes Why Doors Get Jammed

A door stuck, wether it’s an interior door or exterior door, in the doorframe might have many causes, such as loose hardware, a sagging frame, or seized hinges. Another distinguishing factor contributing to stuck doors is humidity: a bloated door that cannot open or close correctly can be caused by the high amount of moisture in the air penetrating the wood.

Doors frequently swell and begin to stick in the summer due to the elevated humidity outdoors. Since wood is a natural material, it tends to absorb excess moisture from the air, causing the door to scrape along the floor or at other places in the frame.

Once your home has been assessed by a professional, it is possible to know how many piers you need or what will be required to fix it. If your home’s foundation has been seriously damaged, you might need to have piers erected on each side of the building. The expenses will be low if your house needs a few foundation piers on one side.

There are several other reasons why a door could get stuck, including:

  • The door and frame need to be correctly centered. This may occur if the door is not hanging squarely or was initially hung improperly.
  • The door is split or warped, which over time, causes it to deform.
  • Your home’s floor or threshold has moved, changing the proportions of your entryway such that they no longer match those of your frame.


Opening a Jammed Door Lock

It is wise to inspect the door by looking for holes in the door frame, swelled wood, and frozen door hardware. If you notice gaps in the door frame on the sides or the bottom, the door may be sagging because of loose hinges. Continue reading to discover a workable solution.


Using a Credit Card to Unlock a Door Stuck on a Spring Lock

The easiest way to open a jammed door is using the credit card method. This will only work on doors with spring locks for doors with deadbolts. It is best to utilize a credit card that isn’t currently in use because it may be damaged.

  • Start by positioning the plastic credit card where the latch is between the door and the frame. This will likely cause the latch to release, allowing the door to open.
  • Try to tuck the card between the door and the frame above the lock if there is no space between the safety and the frame.
  • Then quickly swipe downward while angling the card between the latch and the small hole it rests in; at this point, a thicker, more durable card would be helpful.
  • Thanks to this, you’ll be able to open it without rotating the door knob. Just slide it in and wait till the lock is fully retracted.


How to Pick a Lock to Unlock a Jammed Door

Although it’s a somewhat involved procedure, following these guidelines will leave you with a fixed door.

  • Start by placing an Allen wrench’s short end into the keyhole’s lower edge and turning the lock with light pressure.
  • Use an unbent paper clip with a tiny crook at the end to pick the lock after maintaining the pressure as steadily as possible.
  • You can also employ the SCRUBBING METHOD, which involves carefully inserting the paper clip at the keyhole’s bottom end before lifting it back and upward.


When you notice the lock shifting, continue in a circular motion while more pressure is applied to the Allen wrench each time. When this occurs, continue applying pressure while repeating the action until the door unlocks. Jiggle the handle vigorously if you are having no luck (fast, though not with too much force).

Using the PIN-BY-PIN METHOD is an option:

  • If the scrubbing technique doesn’t work, slowly push the paper clip into the lock while maintaining slight but steady pressure on the Allen wrench.
  • Try to grab the paper clip on the curve of the pin when it comes into contact with it, then lift it upward until it clicks into place.
  • Till the lock turns, keep doing it with more pins.


With a lock-picking set, you could open the lock yourself. To pick a lock, lock-picking sets are necessary. Furthermore, they have hooks and rakes of various sizes to open locks of any design. For optimal longevity and effectiveness, pick a high-quality lock-picking set. You must be proficient at lock picking; otherwise, your efforts may be in vain.


How to Unlock a Jammed Door by Removing the Hinges

This is the quickest and easiest solution to dealing with a blocked door. However, because you can easily access the hinges, this procedure works best for someone inside the house.

  • The hinges’ set screws or any pins should be loosened first. The head of the bolt holding the door to the hinge should be inserted between the top rung of the door’s top hinge and a long, solid object with a flat tip, preferably a Philips head screwdriver, if one is available.
  • Repeat the method for the bottom hinge while holding the door in place. Firmly push the bolt loose, then lift it out of the hinge.
  • Remove the latch from the doorframe once the door is unlocked.
  • After that, put the hinges back together to fasten the door to the wall.


How to Tell If a Locking Mechanism Is Sticky and Dirty

I would start by applying WD-40 lock oil. However, if weathering could cause internal resistance, do not use other oils or lubricants. You might get more than you bargained for because some oils like to accumulate dust unless it has been specifically certified for locking systems. Remove the lock and have a professional locksmith clean it if the lock has gotten clogged rather than jammed in its location. You could also take advantage of the option to have the lock plug replaced, which would address any worn-out pin issues.


When a Mechanical Misalignment is a Problem, How Do I Open a Jammed Door?

A mechanical misalignment issue can be verified with bright light and a few pictures. As an illustration, a bedroom lock does this and sinks into its latch mechanism, where it becomes jammed. Despite being of the same sort, the other latches in the house don’t operate this way.

To temporarily solve the issue, apply pressure to the latch, comply, and pop out. The latch shield is not exactly flush with the latch mechanism recess, which has caused this issue. If the latch could be temporarily taken off, the surface could be filled with a hardening substance, smoothed off, then put back together and put back into the door.


Taking A Key Out of a Deadbolt Lock Mechanism

It frequently occurs because the key is fresh and still contains burrs that catch on the lock pins.

It only takes a small amount of oil to unlock the pins once the springs force them against the key and bind them.

When the lock mechanism is outdated and loose, the entire rim cylinder can jam, and the key can become trapped.

  • If the rim lock cylinder is loose, you should be able to push it out and remove the key by using the key to stop it from turning.
  • Spray some lubrication into the keyhole if that doesn’t work.


Spray the area next to the key using the plastic tube included with the lubrication can. Spray the key on both sides, give it time to dry, and remove it.

If it’s still stuck or you don’t want to use spray lubricant, you can also try graphite powder.

To get the powder into the lock and have it settled against the pins, wiggle the key while you squeeze the liquid from the plastic bottle. As soon as the key becomes loose, please remove it.


How to Prevent Doors from Getting Jammed

The initial examination of the door, doorframe, and hardware should give you a decent indication of where to begin this repair, but if you haven’t been able to pinpoint the precise issue, follow these instructions to take care of a variety of potential problems that could be making your door stick.

What You’ll Require

  • Cloth
  • Bucket
  • Soapy warm water
  • Lubricant
  • Cloth dropped
  • Screwdriver
  • Three-inch screws
  • Drill
  • Pencil
  • Belt sander or planer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint


Step 1: Lubricate the Hinges and Clean the Door

Cleaning the outside edge of the door and the interior of the doorframe is the easiest fix for a stuck door. The 1/8-inch space between the door and the frame can build up with the accumulation of dirt and grime on these surfaces. The door and doorframe should be cleaned with a fresh cloth and soapy water.

Next, you will want to apply a lubricating solution, like WD-40, to the door hinges. A sticking door may result from seized hinges, prohibiting the door from swinging freely. To avoid a mess or ruin of the floors, place a drop cloth under the door before you spray the lubricant.


Step 2: Tie Down the Hinges and Strike the Plate

The door may sag and rub against the frame’s upper portion due to loose hinges. If you notice worn indentations or scraped paint on this frame area, the problem is a sagging frame or loose hinges. The hinge screws on the door and frame should be tightened using a screwdriver.

Similarly, a loose strike plate that protrudes excessively may restrict the door’s movement. Take this time to examine the strike plate screws and tighten them up if necessary. For this task, a drill must not be used. It’s better to have the precision and control of a manual screwdriver because little screws are prone to stripping.


Step 3: Swap Out the Screws

In some cases, the screw holes or the screws in the hinges or strike plate may have become stripped. You must change the screws to resolve this problem. If the issue is stripped screws, you should be able to remedy the sticking door by simply replacing the stripped screws and tightening the hinges and strike plate.

Get 3-inch screws if the door is sticking due to stripped screw holes or a sagging doorframe.

Remove the hinge’s middle screw, then use a drill to insert the 3-inch screw so that its head is snugly affixed to the hinge. Repeat this procedure with the next hinge after giving the screw a further quarter turn with your screwdriver.

You can insert a 3-inch screw through the front of the doorframe to aid in pulling it back into alignment. With the aid of a level, determine the direction in which the doorframe is slanted. Next, place the screw on the other side of the frame to bring the structure back into place. Remember that you will need to cover the screw with wood filler or paint to finish the repair.


Step 4: Repaint the Door

The unfinished edge of the door must be painted or stained once the exterior has been correctly cut so that it may close and open without rubbing against the frame. This will stop moisture from penetrating the wood and causing the door to expand once more. Finish the door with a paintbrush and the paint, stain, or even clear sealant of your choosing.



Though closing the door behind you is a straightforward process, occasionally, things might go wrong. There are various ways to get out of this position if you ever find yourself in one. The simplest solution is typically to use both hands to press down on the top of the door and pull up on the bottom. If it doesn’t work, try using a screwdriver or hammer, some vice grips, or even a credit card if necessary!



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