Answers to Door and Lock Hardware Questions

Q. My patio door is 27 years old; it is hard to open and makes noise with the rollers when opening and shutting. I do not have any idea how to replace the rollers and would like some instructions or information on how to do it.


Try lifting the sliding door straight up and pulling the bottom out. That should let you get the slider out. Next, see if you can remove one of the roller assemblies. If you can, take it to a good hardware store and try to find matching replacements. If the hardware store can't help you, try a screen and glass shop.

Q. How can I remove a U.S. Lock deadbolt that has no visible screws?

A. It sounds as if you have a "Lori" deadbolt with U.S. Lock mortise cylinders. You would need an Allan key about 4 or 5 inches long to be able to reach the screws. About five turns counter clockwise on the Allan key will allow you to unscrew the corresponding cylinder. Using a key inserted three quarters of the way into the keyway usually works best in turning out the cylinder.

Q. I am replacing an old mortise lock - the skeleton key style one - with a new mortise lock. The new lock is about 3/4 inches too tall, 1/4 inch on top and 1/2 inch on the bottom. Is there an easy way to trim away the wood inside the door?

A. Try to remove some of the material first with a spade bit or drill bit. You could even use a saw of some sort. By getting some channels in the area you want to remove, the chiseling goes a lot easier, especially if it is hardwood.

Q. My husband and I had a locksmith come out to our new/old home to re-key the locks, and the handle set on the front door was so old, the mechanism fell apart in his hands. He apologized but said there was nothing that could be done and we should replace it. I have bought a new handle set, however after removing the old one we noticed it had two holes cut out of the front in addition to the dead bolt. Our new handle set only requires one hole. How do we "patch" or "fill" the second hole?

A. You could fill the hole partially with a piece of wood and then skim the surfaces to blend in with the door. This works especially well if the door is painted. There is hardware made to cover holes but it would not look as good as blending with putty.

Q. I have a bathroom door in which the screws in the hinges will not stay put. The screws do not seem long enough to us and they are differing lengths and types. Some are threaded all the way to the top and some are not. As far as we know, the builder put it in that way but the previous owners could have changed them. What is the best replacement and way to put them in more securely?

A. Your best bet is to remove the door and fill in the old screw holes with wood putty. Make sure you get nice and deep into the holes. Wait for it to dry completely, then drill some small pilot holes where the new screws will go in and get some 1/2 inch or longer screws to replace the old ones.

Q. Can someone get an imprint of your lock from the outside and make a key? Can they somehow pick your deadbolt and knob lock without you knowing it?

A. Yes, the method of imprinting a lock is known as impression. Yes, someone could pick a deadbolt and knob lock without you knowing it. If you're worried about someone trying to break into your house with a duplicated key from impression, don't be. A burglar is not going to take the time to actually impression a key and have a key made unless maybe you're very rich, and the burglar knows you've got very valuable items. It's time consuming and it requires good skill to be able to do an impression.

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