7 useful tips for maintaining knobs and latches

August 21, 2015

Few items in the house receive as much wear and tear as doorknobs and latch assemblies. Here are a few useful tips for keeping them in good shape.

7 useful tips for maintaining knobs and latches

1. Keep brass hardware shiny and bright

Apply a furniture wax as soon as the hardware is installed and reapply the wax regularly.

2. Consider lever handles over doorknobs

Older people and those with arthritic conditions can find doorknobs tricky to operate. If you're installing new doors, consider lever handles that you'll still find easy to use decades into the future.

3. Adjust the spindle of older doorknobs to tighten them

First, loosen the set screws holding the knobs, and centre the spindle so it extends equally on both sides of the door. Then reposition the knobs so they fit snugly against the door but don't bind.

4. Tighten the screws correctly

When tightening the set screws to firm up a loose, older doorknob, remember to match the size of the tip of the screwdriver to the size of the set screw.

  • Set screws tend to be set into the shaft of the doorknob so if the tip of your screwdriver extends beyond the edges of the set screw, you may not be able to tighten it as firmly as you need to.

5. Consider your environment

Bright brass hardware doesn't survive well on external doors in coastal areas where the salty sea air can damage the protective lacquer finish.

6. Maintain a bright brass finish

Most bright brass door hardware is covered with a protective lacquer finish.

  • Chemical cleaning agents, extreme temperatures, exposure to ultraviolet light and everyday handling can weaken this lacquer over time.
  • The first sign that the coating is compromised and the brass is starting to tarnish is the appearance of small, dark spots.
  • If you want to fix this , remove all the remaining lacquer using a very fine grade of steel wool, then re-coat.

7. Clean the lock case

To clean a lock case, wash it in a shallow basin of mineral spirits while working in a well-ventilated area and wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands.

  • Set the lock case on newspaper to dry for an hour or so.
  • Finally, apply light machine oil through the holes scattered over the surface of the case cover plates.

Keep these useful tips in mind to keep your doorknob and latch assemblies in good shape.

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