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Repairing a Loose Door Handle

Updated: Jan. 18, 2019

Tighten that loose door handle in minutes.

Repairing a Loose Door HandleFamily Handyman
Tighten a loose doorknob that has hidden chassis screws. It only takes a minute to pop off the cover plate.

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Tighten a loose door handle

Photo 1: Release the tab or button

Remove the inside doorknob by locating the button (like our model), metal tab or wire clip on the side of the knob that acts as a release. Using an awl or small screwdriver, push the button in all the way—and at the same time—pull off the handle. Remove the door rose by inserting a small screwdriver into the small notch in the rose and twisting the tool to pop it off. Be careful so you don’t chip any door paint.

Photo 2: Tighten the screws

Tighten the door hardware by opening the door, squeezing both sides of the assembly together and tightening the two screws on the chassis. To reassemble, snap the rose back on the chassis, depress the release button and slide the knob back on until the button pops through the hole.

Over time, door handles loosen and become difficult to turn and unlatch. Most door hardware made today uses exposed screws, accessible from the “room side” of the door, to connect the two halves of the handle to each side of the door. But some current brands (and most older door hardware) use hidden chassis screws (Photo 2), a setup that requires you to take the doorknob and rose (cover plate) apart to tighten the screws. Photos 1 and 2 show you how.

Our door hardware is fairly typical, but you may have something other than a button to release the knob. Also, some door roses unscrew from the chassis by hand (turn them counterclockwise) rather than snap onto it.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
You might also need an awl or other pointed tool.