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Simple Fixes for Common Barn Door Handle Issues

Barn doors provide unique aesthetic appeal and space-saving functionality, but like all hardware, issues will pop up occasionally with yourbarn door handles and hardware.

Thankfully, simple fixes for common barn door handle issues can get your door performing correctly without the added expense of hiring a professional handyperson.

As a homeowner, the following troubleshooting tips will ensure that maintaining and repairing yourbarn door hardware is more manageable.

Rusty or Corroded Handle

One of the most common barn door handle issues is rust or corrosion. This can occur if the handle is exposed to moisture or is in a humid environment. 

Rust not only affects the visual appeal of the handle but can also hinder its smooth operation.

Inspect for Rust or Corrosion

Regular inspection and immediate maintenance are the keys to avoiding extensive rust or corrosion damage.

Begin the inspection process by removing the handle from your barn door. This allows you to get a clear view of even small amounts of rust or corrosion.

How to Remove Rust or Corrosion From a Barn Door Handle

  1. Using a wire brush or sandpaper, gently scrub the affected areas until the metal surface is clean and smooth.
  2. After cleaning, applying a rust-resistant primer to the handle is crucial. This will help prevent future corrosion.
  3. Once the primer has dried, spray paint the handle with rust-resistant paint. Choose a color that complements your door's aesthetics.
  4. Allow the paint to be fully set before putting the handle back on the door. Make sure to tighten the screws securely.

Loose Handle

A loose barn door handle can be inconvenient and compromise the security of your door.

To improve the operation of a loose handle, you need to know the root cause.

Screw Hole: Stripped or Intact? 

First, take out the screws connecting the handle to the door. Keep them in a safe place to avoid misplacing them.

Check the screw holes in both the handle and the door. Sometimes, the holes can become stripped or worn out, preventing the screws from providing a secure grip.

Fixing a Stripped Screw Hole

If you find that the screw holes are stripped, a simple fix involves using a wooden dowel. 

Apply wood glue to the dowel and insert it into the stripped hole. Let the glue dry completely before reinserting the screws into the dowel.

The dowel creates a new grip for the screws, ensuring a tight fit.

Fixing an Intact Screw Hole

If the screw holes remain intact, athread-locking adhesive can be applied to the door handle screws before reinstallation.

This adhesive prevents the screws from loosening over time.

Misaligned Handle

Ensure proper handle alignment to minimize more common barn door handle issues in the future.

A misaligned barn door handle can make it difficult to operate the door smoothly. Simple adjustments can fix this issue.

How to Readjust a Barn Door Handle

Complete screw removal is not necessary for handle readjustment.

Instead, you will loosen the screws just enough to gently adjust the handle to the desired position. 

Ensure it aligns with the door's edge and operates comfortably before tightening the screws.

Be careful not to overtighten them, as it can cause strain on the handle or door.

Then, test the handle by operating the door multiple times. Ensure that it moves freely and without any resistance.

Stuck or Jammed Handle

A handle that gets stuck or jammed can be frustrating. This issue is often caused by dirt, dust, or debris buildup in the handle or the track. 

To resolve this problem, follow these steps:

Clean the Handle

  1. Inspect the handle and the track for any visible debris or obstructions. Use a flashlight if necessary.
  2. Remove any buildup from the handle. A soft cloth or microfiber is ideal. 

Pay attention to the pivot points, sliding mechanism, and other moving parts.

  1. Lather the moving parts of the door handle in a silicone-based lubricant. The lubricant will help reduce friction and ensure smooth operation.
  2. Operate the handle multiple times to distribute the lubricant and allow it to work its way into the mechanism. This will restore the handle's functionality.

Broken Handle

In unfortunate situations where a barn door handle is broken beyond repair, it's necessary to replace it.

Order a Replacement From Wild West Hardware

Contact Wild West Hardware to place your order for an exact or similar replacement barn door handle. 

Ensure the new handle matches the hole spacing and overall design.

Install the Barn Door Handle

Once you have the new handle, align it with the existing screw holes on the door.

Then, securely tighten the screws to attach the new handle to the door.

Test the new handle to ensure it operates smoothly and provides a secure grip.

Final Words

If the fix for your common barn door handle issues requires new hardware, check outWild West Hardware to find high-quality hardware to perfectly fit your needs.


1. What maintenance should I perform on barn door handles in coastal areas?

Regular maintenance on barn door handles is important in coastal areas with a higher risk of saltwater corrosion. 

This includes more frequent cleaning and the application of a protective coating, such as a marine-grade clear sealant, to prevent saltwater damage.

2. Can I use WD-40 as a lubricant for barn door handles?

WD-40 can temporarily lubricate barn door handles, but it's not the best long-term solution. 

WD-40 is primarily a solvent and degreaser rather than a long-lasting lubricant. 

It's recommended to use a silicone-based lubricant specifically designed for door hardware for optimal results.