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How To Unlock A Door With A Hole

Doors with holes are not common these days, but they give temporary privacy. What if you find yourself with such a door that's accidentally locked from the inside? To help you figure out how to unlock a door with a hole, we did our research, and here are our findings.

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You can unlock a door with an emergency key. But if you find yourself without that emergency key, don't worry. Unlocking a door with just a hole is simple, but it depends on the lock you're dealing with. Once you determine what lock you have, do the following:

  1. Get a stiff pointed tool or a small flathead screwdriver.
  2. Insert the tool in the hole until it reaches the end. 
  3. Press the tool or feel for the screwdriver to fit into the cavity so you can push or turn the object until it clicks open.

These types of doors are quite easy to open, especially if you know what kind of lock you have. Keep reading as we go through the details of these types of locks and how you can open them.

Assembling lock with door knobs and latch in living room, How To Unlock A Door With A Hole

Unlocking A Privacy Lock - How To Do It?

As you can imagine, doors with holes or privacy locks are not used as external doors. This is because they don't require a specific key for them, making them easy to open if you have the right tool.

It also only allows you to lock the door from the inside. However, they are useful as interior doors to offer quick privacy for a particular room, such as the bedroom or bathroom.

There are different types of privacy locks that are working with specific mechanisms; hence, they also require a slightly different way of opening.

Having an emergency key can help with unlocking locks like these, but if you don't have it on hand, here are the steps to go about it.

Worker or home owner installing or repairing new lock on doors

Getting The Correct Tool

To open your door with a hole, you should have the right tool on hand. If your door is a button type, you can use a stiff object such as a metal paperclip that's small enough to fit the hole of your doorknob and long enough to hit the very end of it.

For a thumb turn type, you'll need to use a small flathead screwdriver for it. You can simply go with the latter option to be safe if you're not sure.

Here's a Craftsman flathead screwdriver set on Amazon.

Inserting The Tool

The next step is to insert the tool into the hole of your doorknob. This applies to both types of privacy locks as the apparatus that will unlock your door is in your knob.

Insert the head of your screwdriver or your object inside the doorknob's hole until you can feel the wall in the knob. Don't force it in if it doesn't fit midway. If it doesn't fit in all the way or it's too short, you may need to look for another screwdriver or object.

Put Pressure or Turn

This step not only differentiates how you unlock either a thumb turn or a button-type privacy lock, but also determines what kind of tool you need for the task.

As mentioned, you can use a simple rigid tool or a screwdriver for a button type, but you must use a screwdriver or an item with a flat head that can fit into the keyhole for a thumb turn type.

If you are trying to open a button-type lock, put a bit of pressure on the tool for it to press onto the wall of the lock. This should push the lock open on the other side, and you should be able to open the door.

If you're unlocking a thumb turn type, you'll need to fit the flathead part into the cavity of the lock by feeling the back end of the knob when the screwdriver is inside the hole.

It might take a while, but once you feel it in position, you'll need to turn your screwdriver counterclockwise until the thumb turn on the other end clicks open.

Make sure to not give too much force in turning it; instead, repeat the previous step by taking out the screwdriver and trying it again until it clicks open.

What Is An Emergency Key?

Woman hand opening or closing the door, real estate, new home, quarantine

An emergency key for doorknobs with only a hole looks like a small metal rod with a bent end for where you need to hold the key. The other end has a small flathead to fit the space where you need to turn the key if your lock is a thumb turn type.

Because privacy locks only have a simple mechanism for locking and don't need to have a key with specific ridges on them, an emergency key generally looks standard and should work for either thumb turn or button type locks.

Try this Kwikset emergency key pack on Amazon.

Types Of Privacy Locks - What Are They?

White wooden interior door, metallic circle doorknob and lock with the defocused living room

Now that you know how to unlock your door with a hole, you may want to know a bit more about them. As mentioned, there are two types of privacy locks: the button and the thumb turn.

Button-type Lock

Just as its name suggests, the button type can lock by pressing the button of the doorknob. Unlocking the door is equally as easy.

All you need to do is turn the doorknob on the side of the door where the lock is and it will pop the button back to its original position.

Get this Schlage privacy lock on Amazon.

Thumb turn-type Lock

Unlike the button-type, the thumb turn-type locks the door by twisting the thumb turn. It will keep the door locked on both sides of the door. To unlock, simply twist back the thumb turn into its original position.

Check this Kwikset privacy lock available on Amazon.

Other Types Of Door Knobs - What To Know?

new modern apartment, empty room with an open door with a modern type door knob

Apart from the privacy lock that does not have a conventional key to open it, there are other variations of door knobs. Each of these doorknobs has a specific function and you can use them best in specific areas of your home.

Dummy Or Fake Door Knobs

These types of door knobs don't have a lock or a keyhole. They don't have any functional parts and pull a door open. You will usually find this type of door knob installed on the surface of a closet door or pantry.

Passage Door Knobs

These types of door knobs only have latch bolts on them, meaning that you will need to twist the doorknob to open a door.

Much like the fake door knobs, they do not have a lock or a keyhole. These types of knobs are good for areas that just need to be closed but not locked, like the hallway.

Keyed Entry Door Knobs

This is your usual door knob, which you'll find in front doors. Think of it like a privacy lock, but slightly different.

Instead of just the locking mechanism on one side of the door and the pinhole on the other side, you have a proper keyhole that can lock the door from the outside, depending on the type of lock.

Door Levers

Although not a knob per se, this type of style is common these days because of its ease of use. All one has to do is push down the lever and push or pull the door open.

Door Handlesets

This type isn't typically used for any other door apart from a front door or perhaps a double door leading to a hall of some sort. Its handle has a thumb latch on it, which you push down as you open the door to retract the latch bolt.

In Conclusion

Assembling lock with door knobs and latch in living room

You can open privacy locks with a specific emergency key. If you don't have one, first figure out what kind of lock it has.

Check out these other informational articles:

Should You Change Locks And Rekey A New House?

How High Should Door Handles And Knobs Be?