Door question OK? Andersen Frenchwood doors seem unlockable!

jbsjbsAugust 12, 2007

Sorry, I know this is a Windows forum, but since I could not find a doors forum I thought this was my closest option.

I was looking at Andersen Frenchwood hinged doors recently. They have a fairly complicated locking mechanism which involves raising the handle on the "passive" door in order to extend pins from the top and bottom of that panel, then turning the knob on the "active" door to engage hooks into the side of the passive door (hope that all make sense).

What I noticed, though, is that even when everything is locked up, turning the knob on the passive door disengages those top and bottom pins, thus leaving the two doors hooked together, but not tide into the jamb at all. At this point you can push in a good few inches on the doors, and certainly if you threw any weight at all against it you could push right through.

I'd assume this was incorrect assembly, but can anyone out there confirm how these doors are supposed to work? I would think that the deadbolt extended on the active door would prevent the passive door from disengaging, but I'd like to know what went wrong on the one I saw.



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Nothing is wrong with the door. Locking the door does 2 things, it prevents people entering from the outside and it keeps the door tight to the weatherstripping. There is no need to play with the passive door, it is useless unless you are moving furniture in and out.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 8:39PM
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I have not noticed that problem with our Frenchwood door in our new house. Takes some force pulling up the active door handle before you can lock it, but everything is very tight and stable once thats done. The framer who installed it made the comment that if it ever came a tornado to get behnd this door, in aint' going anywhere.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 12:50AM
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jbsjbs, the activation of the inside knobs or levers on most doors is purposely designed by the manufacturer. The reasoning is based on fire egress and escape. The commercial industry has had it for many years to allow anyone, anywhere in a building the means to escape if there was a fire or some kind of danger. The doors would be locked from the outside with egress at anytime from the inside. That's why you see those push bars or pads on the inside of commercial doors to allow you to exit at night. Movie theaters use them to move customers in & out all the time.

The residential industry has been slowly moving the theory forward with the more secure locking systems. Since people want more security on their homes to make them safer from harms way. The commercial locking methods have jumped to the residential side of the fence. That also has a lot to do with the new code that went in to effect this year outlawing the double cylinder deadbolt lock on any new home. Existing homes can have them but nothing newly built.

This is all based off anyone being able to get out of the house during an emergency, especially a fire. If your sleeping and all of a sudden you awake to a fire, you have all you can do to collect your thoughts. You need to get your family and yourself out of the house. You don't have time to think about where you left your keys to unlock the door or try and turn the thumb piece to disengage the hooks. Heaven forbid your children not being able to get out very easily. Since these three point or multi point locking systems secure the door so well, they make them easy to get out of from the inside for anyone. By pulling down on that lever when the door is locked or unlocked, you should be able to get out at anytime.

There are some manufacturers that don't offer this type of "fail safe" system on their products. Please study up on the doors your interested in and verify they have it or not. These multi point locks are very finicky and require installation to be done perfectly. All the locking pins or hooks must have a clear and unimpeded route in order to lock properly. If there's the slightest resistance against these projecting locks they won't set properly and your door won't be secure. Just make sure you check your doors locks and make sure all the hooks and pins get thrown all the way out when activated. Just check them from the outside. You should be able to see they're thrown out by looking in the tiny gap between the doors or the door and frame. Then make sure you can gain access to the outside by just pushing down on the lever when the door is locked. Hope this was understandable enough to help out.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 7:57AM
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jbs----I have this same door and it functions very well. However, it has started to delaminate and thru some investigation today, I found the Anderson Corp Care Line. Their number is 888-888-7020. If you can't resolve the problem on your own, give them a call. They are VERY helpful. They are shipping me a new door and I will have to take the lock mechanisms out and put them in the new door. They said it is easy but if I have any problems to give them a call and they would help me over the phone.

This was one reason I put Anderson windows in my house because I was told by several builders that they are very responsive and stand behind their product. Very important when you have warranty issues. And with my experience today, that certainly seems to be the case.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 7:26PM
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jbsjbs...I think you are spot on and the other posters are out in left field picking daisies...Actually I think they are NOT outside, or they would see as I do with MY set of doors that if they go OUTSIDE and have their partner lock the "active" AND "passive" doors from the inside, they will realize that they still can OPEN / UNLATCH the passive door latch from the outside and that there is NO assembly lock on that door.

Seriously, any of you 400 Series double hung door owners, test that lock and see what they do. I bet you will be UNPLEASANLY SURPRISED at the fact that the passive door will unlatch leaving only the active latch holding both doors and an interesting "breach" event just waiting to happen.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 8:31PM
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If your doors are working like that your missing the "blocker". This stops the passive door lock from operating in that manner. Who ever put the door together may have missed putting them in. Go to Andersens website to get the PDF on lock replacement

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 9:00PM
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Guy...You are absolutely perfect and I apolgize to ALL I insulted with the "daisies" comment. I assume my issue is the type of slide based plate in the striker mech. that the deadbolt slides into not allowing the secondary handle to move. My slide was adjusted to the lowest point that allowed the deadbolt to overshoot the top wedge on the slide...thus doing Nadda on the security side. THANKS and I am very sorry for the previous post. Yo, jbs...door was screwed at the show...good lock bad install. I just fixed mine. I love Forums!!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 9:19PM
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I checked my doors last night and they won't open from the outside when latched. And thats before latching the deadbolt.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 5:28PM
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Guy knows his stuff, I have learned a ton from him!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 7:09AM
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Yes many window and door problems are from poor installation where the contractor will assemble things upside down or not put all the parts together correctly. There are also a few set screws on the hinges and handles that are rarely tightened by the installer. Its funny to see a home owner scratching his head wondering why his Andersen sliding screen door won't line up with the side jam latch. The screen is upside down! Whats wrong with these installers?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 2:20PM
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guy exterior is correct! I had the same issue and have 99% solved it. Unfortunately, I believe my installer installed the passive mechanism upside down as the Anderson instructions say to place the Lower tab of the blocker just above the deadbolt pencil mark. I cannot raise it that high as my set screw is then to low to hold the blocker. Therefore, for the time being, I have the lower tab just below the blocker and the upper tab just above it. It does provide much more security and I will be having the installer back out to fix his mistake.
THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH Guy_Exterior_Man!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 1:38AM
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The passive panel lock mechanism will not work upside down as the handle holes in the panel will not line up with the hole in the lock mechanism.

Make sure the passive panel lock mechanism is fully extending in the head jamb and sill. You can test this by opening the passive panel and activating the lock. Try it again while the door panel is closed. Is it the same?

If that's OK, then the blocker just needs to be adjusted.....

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:36AM
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I am missing the blocker and will be installing when I get the part. I always knew something was wrong with the way it operated.

I also have a potentially related problem. In cold weather, the
deadbolt that pulls the doors together tightly and seals the weatherstrips does not stay engaged in the passive door, and pops back into the active door unless the thumb knob locks it in place. Could this be a related problem?
The colder it gets, the worse the problem.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 9:47PM
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The blocker missing would be a problem.

Adjust the keepers in the edge of the passive door. Put a flat bladed screwdriver into the slot of the keeper and bend the tab a bit until it is a tighter opening. Do this until the hooks stay engaged.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 3:50PM
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I installed the key lock according to the directions on my andersen hinged door and can not engage the lock. (can't turn the knob/key so the latch will pop out, top/bottom latches don't engage. Is there a trick to this. I've read the instructions over several times. I must be missing something.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:02AM
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I know this is an old post but I want to put some information up here that may help others. I'm a builder and a big supporter of Andersen windows and doors. I had a customer with an 8' patio door that would not unlock. Similar to what you see here, we pulled the handle with some force and it opened. We lubricated everything and went on our happy way.

Soon after, however, the deadbolt would not engage or lock. If the door was open I could lock and unlock the door to my mind's delight. Not happening with the door closed. To be clear, the throw bolts above and below appeared to be engaging fully. It was just the deadbolt we could not lock. We fiddled with moving the strikeplate and adjusting the hinges in and out to realign it but no go.

The answer was the height adjustment on the Andersen hinges. Andersen states that it is very rare having to touch these but in this case it was the answer. (The hinges are adjusted up and down via an allen screw at the bottom of the hinge. You need an allen wrench to reach up there and adjust it). We first adjusted it up thinking that the door was too low and was stopping the locks from engaging. However, we ended up adjusting the door downwards and voila. Lockable once again.

I note here and in my aging brain that if I have another door that won't open (the first problem I had with this door) I would first try to adjust the height on the hinges to see if I could get the door to release. I'm convinced that the locking door and the door lock were very related to the hinges being slightly out of whack.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2015 at 11:56AM
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