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14 March 2014 @ 07:55 pm
Broken door lock  
Last summer I got a new shed with attached greenhouse.  There is one overhead door that is secured from the inside and unopenable from the outside.  There is another door to get into it, which is secured by a deadbolt and a regular lock.  They both use the same key.

When I tried to open the shed after some very very cold temps this winter, both locks were frozen.  I did not force it because I figured it would open when everything thawed.  Now things are thawing, but there's an entirely different problem.  The deadbolt unlocks normally, but it's stiff.  The other lock (no idea what type this is) is clearly still locked since the handle doesn't move, but the place where I put the key just spins around.  There's no resistance at all and it's not locking or unlocking everything.

The door opens inward so the hinges are on the inside.  I would assume that attempts to jimmy it would fail because it opens inward, but I'm certainly open to suggestions.  Also, I can't get in through the greenhouse without ruining the window screen on my new windows.

If no one has any suggestions, I'll probably just call a locksmith, but is there anything I can try in the meantime?  I don't want to make things worse.  My yard is a lake right now so it wouldn't be great to make anyone trudge through it to get to the shed.   
Chrisrevchris on March 15th, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
Do you have access to a jack, and some scrap lumber?

Most sheds aren't reinforced around the doors like a lot of houses are now, so this trick sometimes still works.

Put the jack horizontally across the door, about at lock height. Add enough scrap lumber to make it long enough to reach both sides of the door frame. Extend the jack so that it pushes on the door frame near the lock. The goal is to spread the sides of the door frame just enough that the latch on the knob lock clears the frame, allowing you to swing the door open.

This is much harder to do with deadbolts, as they extend farther into the frame, but if you're careful, you may be able to get the door open this way.

The way to prevent this from working is to add extra framing around the door, stiffening the door frame so that it can't be bent.

Alternate method: If you have a similar knob lock elsewhere in your house, look at where the screws go through the inside plate to hold it onto the door. Using a larger drill bit (3/8" - 1/2"), drill through those spots on the knob to your shed. If you can hit the posts for the two mounting screws, you should be able to remove the outer side of the knob, giving you access to the latch bar, which can then be operated with a screw driver.

Edited at 2014-03-15 12:31 am (UTC)
rainarana: lucyrainarana on March 15th, 2014 01:00 pm (UTC)
For the deadbolt I would try squirting some WD40 into it and locking/unlocking a few times to see if it loosens up a bit. Water obviously got into the locks and they probably stayed wet for a while after thawing so I would guess rust on the deadbolt. The other may have been a flimsyish lock which was damaged during the freeze/thaw and may need to be replaced. In the future spray the locks with WD40 before it freezes, especially if it's been wet/raining. I know this because I drive a car with no insulation in the doors (or anywhere else for that matter) and in wet/freezing conditions the locks freeze.