by Peter S.
(Falls Church VA)
Hi...I have vinyl glass sliding door. We bought the house used, and the latch has always been a bit wonky, but with a little jimmying of the door (pushing it closed or open a bit or inbetween) we've always been able to get the latch to open or closed. Naturally, I should've handled the problem when it first appeared, but...
Last night, the latch refused to open at all. Basically, the move the latch lever down to lock the door and up to open it. At this point, it will be move a little bit in either direction, but not enough to unlock the door.
To the Internet, I went!
I took out the two screws that hold the inside and outdoor handles. That left four holes: two for the screws; one for the latch; and one that shows a metal plate of some sort inside, no doubt part of the lock.
I slipped a small screwdriver into the slot that the latch normally uses and turned it both ways. It moves, and it moved a bit more after I'd sprayed some graphite in there, but it comes to a hard stop in both directions. It won't turn enough to open the latch. I'm assuming that turning it to the right should be the equivalent of flipping the latch lever up to open the door.
While I turned the latch in both directions, I tried pushing the door into the frame a bit; pulling it away from the frame; pushing it down toward the floor; and pulling it up toward the top of the frame. Nothing has worked.
If you are able to move the door left and right a small amount, then try lifting the door up and down as well. That what I usually do to get a door unlatched.
I would need pictures to tell for sure but most patio doors have mortise locks inside the frame and the locks have a spring which breaks. Once it does the thumnbturn you use to open the door just moves back and forth but the latch come out. Or go back in as in your situation.
Send me some pictures if possible and I will identify the lock and see if I have a replacement that I can send you
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