A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Ralph Goodman
None of this information should be used for illegal purposes. The most important part of the declaration, “I’m locked out of my room” is the word ‘my’. You must only use this information to regain access to a living space that you own and inhabit. Ownership and inhabiting are extremely important as ownership without being an inhabitant of something like a bedroom may be problematic in cases relating to tenants. In any case, if you have been given permission for this undertaking by the person who is saying I am locked out of my bedroom, then you are fine. Be sure to stay on the right side of the law, and call a professional before getting in over your head.
The best initial step to solving your lockout is to know the nature of the problem you are facing. Just knowing that I am locked out of my room is simply not enough to get back in. There are a few main issues that you could be having with the room. From the general knowledge about what is wrong, you can move onto opening a locked bedroom, office, or any other interior room.
One of the most common reasons for being locked out is simply because of something that someone has done, often absent-mindedly. This is the best possible scenario because it means that the lock is functioning properly. Locking a privacy lock and then shutting the door can be done as a mistake very simply because most interior doors can be locked and then shut.
If you are saying, I’m locked out of my room because maybe a child has locked the door behind you or an older relative was using the room, there may be more urgency to the bedroom lockout. In any case, if the lockout is the result of simple errors and there has been no breakdown of the devices you are using, getting back in will be easier.
Issues with a room’s lock can come in a variety of forms, but this is the most complicated reason for a bedroom lockout. When there is an issue with the locking mechanism itself, it means that the door lock is not going to work reliably. This demands the most attention to troubleshooting and is likely to be the most difficult lockout to solve without a locksmith. That is not to say you will necessarily need assistance, but it is certainly more likely.
The most common types of issues with a stuck lock is to have the handle turn and the latch not retract. This can either be because the latch is stuck or because the handle or knob is has a broken connection to the latch. If the lock has a keyway, and the proper key is not working, you might not be right in thinking I am locked out of my bedroom because of the lock. However, this type of issue could be due to a complication with the key and not with the lock.
Not every room in a building will use a key. However, if you are sharing a house with several people, using keyed lock can be extremely common. The best part about key trouble is that the lock’s functionality will not be affected. Whether you have broken your key off in the lock, lost the key, or just left it in the room you are now locked out of, the lock is still working fine. You will have to get the broken key out of your lock eventually, but chances are you won’t need to do that in order to get back in. However, to use your lock properly, you will need to have a clear keyway.
There may be an issue discovering more subtle problems with your key. For example, you may think “I’m locked out of my room because something is wrong with my lock” but the key could just be worn. When the key is not working in the lock, the lock may be functioning properly and the key could be responsible for the lockout. If a lock is not working, even when the proper key is inserted, you should still troubleshoot this issue as if it is a key issue. You might be able to get the locked bedroom door open with methods that apply as if you knew you were locked out of your bedroom. This situation gives you more options than simply using the methods for when something is wrong with your lock.
Standard entry handles on some rooms might not even have a lock on them. They may have simple doorknobs or door handles that turn without the possibility of being locked. However, these can still have issues with the spring-loaded latch bolt. The latch can become stuck or the handle can break. Springs can break or weaken. These issues closely mirror the concerns you would have if you were thinking I am locked out of my bedroom because of the lock.
If none of these things seem to be the issue you are experiencing, then there is a chance that there is an issue with the door itself. Door issues are more simple to diagnose when there is no locking mechanism on the door. You can tell if you are locked out of your bedroom because of a door issue if the latch bolt can be seen to retract. If the latch is not holding the door closed, then it is likely the door getting hung up on the frame or the hinges sticking. This can be due to natural wear and tear, but also due to vandalism (likely pranks in a shared living situation).
You may have an idea about the affliction your door may be suffering, or you may think “I know precisely why I am locked out of my bedroom”. The next step in getting back in is being familiar with the type of lock that you are using on the door to your room. The type of lock you have determines the best entry method to use just as much as the issue you are experiencing.
Unkeyed Handle – This is just a handle or knob that cannot have the latch bolt locked. There will be no push button, keyhole, thumbturn, or anything that can stop the latch bolt from being retracted. These types of mechanisms are very often easy to disassemble (5) as they are not intended to provide privacy, let alone security. The credit card bypass (1) is also likely to work if the handle is just not working to actuate the latch bolt.
Privacy Lock – The most likely type of lock to be used to secure bedroom doors, privacy locks will not have an exterior keyway, but they will have a locking button. This button is either pushed or turned to engage/disengage. This type of lock can be relied upon to be vulnerable to a multitude of bypasses (1). It is even common for privacy locks to come packed with their own bypass tools, which are intended to be used in emergencies and lockout instances.
Keyed Door Knob – It is easy to tell a keyed door knob apart from other types of locks because it will turn to open the door (ie. a handle or knob) and have a keyway. By having a keyhole it is susceptible to picking (2) and bumping (3) as long as the issue is with the key and not with the lock itself.
Deadbolt – A deadbolt is a keyed lock, but it does not turn to retract the bolt. The bolt is not spring loaded so it needs the plug of the lock to be turned to lock and unlock the device. Deadbolts are unlikely to be phased by the simpler and more well-known bypass methods, but there are bypasses that could work if the deadbolt uses a thumbturn and not a double-sided cylinder. More than likely you will need to use methods of entry such as picking (2) and bumping (3). Depending on the complexity of the lock, destructive entry (4) might be the best choice.
Padlock – There is a deep and rich history of padlocks being used to secure interior rooms. This is done by installing a hasp on the door frame that connects to the door. There are many different types of padlocks so you might be able to bypass (1) the cheaper ones. But if you happen to have one of the best padlocks of all time that will not be an option. When the padlock has a keyway (ie. does not use a combination dial or set of wheels) picking (2) and bumping (3) can be attempted.
In order to find the best entry method, you should rely on the most likely category of issue that is causing you to say I am locked out of my bedroom. These methods might not solve your problem, but if you have the tools and skills required to use them, they are worth trying in order to troubleshoot the issue. If your knowledge of locks is extensive, you may know what is not going to work already, but this will not be possible for the person with an average skill set.
There are bypasses for most lock types, and these can work to open the locked door to your room depending on the particulars of your issue. For privacy latches, you can insert a tool into the exterior hole of the handle/knob (if such an opening exists). For push button locks you just need to press something sturdy into the gap to release the push button. For turn buttons, a small flathead screwdriver is often best as you will need to catch the internal actuator and twist it.
Any type of spring-loaded latch bolt can be opened with the credit card technique. Some DIYers prefer a butter knife, but regardless of the name of this method, I would not recommend an active credit card, as the plastic can get chewed up (especially if you are inexperienced). Simply insert the thin material along the curved side of the latch in between the gap in the frame (you might have to work your way around the trim of the door) and press the latch toward the door. Then the door will open,
Certain thumbturn bypasses might also work if the deadbolt only provides the illusion of security. It will depend on the brand and style of lock, but you may be able to use a thin piece of metal to enter through the keyway and internally actuate the thumbturn on the other side of the door. In cases where there is a large enough gap at the bottom of the door, you might also be able to insert specialty tools (or strategically bent wires) that manipulate the interior thumbturn. Be sure to look up the bypass methods for your particular style of the lock to get the best specific information.
In order to pick an interior door lock, the lock must have a keyway. It is important to know that not everyone who is saying I am locked out of my bedroom will have taken up the hobby of lock picking. Without the proper lock picking tools, you will need to make improvised picks and tension tools. And depending on the type of the lock, this could get very complicated. For example, disk detainer locks and tubular keyways will need different considerations from a standard pin tumbler assembly. And in terms of making your own or being in possession of any type of such devices, you may be violating your local lock pick laws.
It is also important to know that though every lock can be picked there are some locks that have yet to be successfully picked. However, there are some locks that it is unlikely you will pick without a significant amount of practice and knowledge. You need to know the main lock picking techniques and how to use them effectively. Chances are opening a bedroom door lock will not be all that difficult, and raking with light tension should get you in. However, this can damage the lock if it is done too often or too harshly.
In order for this to work, the lock has to be functioning. But to that same degree, the lock has to be what is keeping the bedroom door locked. The issue must be due to a lack of a working key.
It is very rare that a standard bedroom lock will have been designed to prevent lock bumping. However, there must be an issue with your key in order to determine that the lock is not broken and that the lock uses a key. If the lockout cannot be solved with a key, then a bump key is not going to get you very far. To understand how lock bumping works, and the limitations of this method, you can read about expert techniques used to open doors and why bump keys don’t work on cars.
The biggest barrier to having this method working is access to the proper bump key. Bump keys are rather easy to get the hang of using, even for a locksmithing novice. However, you need to know what key to use. The key must have the right amount of grooves for the particular lock it is being used on. These grooves correspond the number of pins within a lock. If the key has too many grooves (or the improper profile) it will not fit in the keyway. If there are not enough grooves, the key will not interact with enough of the pins to open the lock.
Once you choose to undergo destructive entry, you are making a commitment to replace the mechanisms you destroy. And this method of entry will certainly destroy particular devices, depending on the particular type of destructive entry you are looking to use. The most common type of destructive entry is drilling a lock open. This is guaranteed to ruin your existing lock. You can choose your drill points depending on your preference (either drilling out the key pins or the set screws).
If you are not a professional, I would not recommend using any type of destructive entry, but I would also not recommend that this method if you are saying I am locked out of my bedroom, in circumstances where the lock is not the issue, or there has been general operator error. It is more likely that you will be able to get through those other predicaments with a much less drastic course of action. If you think that you need to drill the lock, cut the hinges or cut the latch/bolt, consult with a locksmith just to be sure you are not jumping to the most extreme option.
Taking the lock apart is easier with cheaper and low-security door handles. What you are looking to do is remove the door handle in a nondestructive fashion. This is not possible with every type of lock, especially padlocks (but it might be possible to unscrew the hasp installed on the door and leave the padlock locked). For many privacy locks, there will be exposed screws or the screws will be obscured with a removable rose plate. The particular disassembly steps for each lock will be different, so it may behoove you to research your particular brand and model number or consult the installation guide for the lock through some other means.
Once the screws are removed, accessing the latch and bolt to retract either is very simple. A flat head screwdriver can almost always be used to actuate the part of the assembly that is securing the door. If there is nothing that can be done about the lock itself, you may need to disassemble the door itself. All of these processes can potentially damage the door, lock, or handles, but disassembly also requires reassembly, which is a common way to permanently harm your interior security. As a general rule, if you can take it apart, you can get it to open.
When you are shouting that I am locked out of my bedroom, it is very easy to forget that the door to any room is very rarely the only entry point. In the case of a specific room within a home, there might only be one way in other than the door. More likely than not, that opening is going to be a window. Window locks vary in quality, but often times they are left open entirely. Even if they are not, you might have more success with a bypass method on a window than a well-fortified door.
Be aware of the dangers of trying to enter through second story windows. If a dog door exists as an entry point, your size may make it difficult to enter this way. The last thing you want to do is get yourself stuck or hurt attempting to get back into your room. The point of this method of entry is to reassess if you are truly locked out. Make sure that you have considered all of your available options.
There is one type of person that has their ear to the ground, listening for the distressed cry of a person screaming into the night “I am locked out of my bedroom!”, it is a locksmith. But there are certain things you need to know before you hire a locksmith. You have to look for the characteristics that make a good locksmith. There are also some facts about locksmiths you may find alarming. All of these things are important so that you get a locksmith who has the skills required to open your locked door in the quickest and most efficient manner.
There is no type of lockout that you can be experiencing that the proper locksmith cannot solve. They can work their way around complications as they arise or are discovered. The only thing you have to worry about is putting your faith in someone who is going to help you and look out for your best interests. Find the person that cares about your security, and they will get you access to your property, your room, and keep you safe during the whole process.
You might be thinking I am locked out of my room right now, but you won’t be for long. By knowing how you are locked out, what device is keeping your door shut, and the most commonly available options for getting back into a locked room, it is only a matter of time before your problem is solved. Never attempt one of these tasks without fully understanding them, replace anything that becomes damaged, and never hesitate to call for help.