I have a screen door on my house that has a handle like this:

But the handle broke so now it's loose and falls off easily when pulled on. It left about a half inch of square steel shaft:

I can order a new one, but it takes time to get here. Meanwhile, it's cold outside, and I don't want to remove/prop open the door. How can I provide access to the house from that door, before I put a new handle on?

I did try:

  • Setting a pair of pliers by the door so that whoever's going in can use it to turn the steel shaft. This slips easily if you don't have a great grip, and pinches you. Also not convenient if you're carrying much.
  • Tying down the opposite handle, so that the door can be opened from the outside without turning the shaft. This (even in combination with the method above) didn't help at all with those carrying a load of groceries or whatever.
  • 2
    What do you mean, I broke? I'm PERFECTLY FINE, thank you very much!!
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Dec 18, 2014 at 3:29

2 Answers 2


I found a hack that works well for me:

Use a vice-grip as the door handle. If you make it tight enough, it won't slip.

This works well because it allows for proper use of the door, and there is no need to put something on the shaft each time you open the door, like there is in the method mentioned in the question.

There is one problem, and that is: It really looks awful. Not a very attractive solution, but I guess that's some incentive to get the new handle quickly.

Here's a photo:


Look very closely at the part of the handle that goes over your stub. Especially the downside. There should be a screw there, usually with an Allen head. It may be covered with paint so all you might see is a dimple. If you find it tighten it down, you might want to use some thread lock on the thread to keep it tight. A closer look at your picture shows little stub at the end of the shaft, if that is the case the handle was likely pressed on and I recommend replacing the whole unit.

If that is not found you may want to try some kind of metal glue like liquid weld to secure it. Be careful if you over apply you will have a mess and you just may also end up gluing the handle to the door instead of just to the latching mechanism.

Last option is to replace the whole door lock. This is not a bad option because often when your kind of problem happens fixes do not tend to be all that reliable, and you just may end up doing this after going through a fix or two that has a short life.

Vice grips mentioned in another answer are an excellent temp fix to make the door usable until you can come up with something more lasting.

  • Yeah, the handle is cracked; I can buy individual door parts, though, so I won't have to replace the whole latch.
    – J. Musser
    Dec 18, 2014 at 10:46

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