Door Latch Problems
Dealing With A door That Does Not Close or Latch
You’re trying to close a door in your house and it won’t latch.
Or you have to lift or put a shoulder into the door in order to get it to latch or lock. Most likely you have an alignment issue at the strike or latch plate.
Hinges – Often A Culprit
A lot of times the alignment problem is caused by sagging or loose hinges, house settling or just a heavy door not installed well.
Problem Solving Steps:
- First close the door and inspect the door reveals. the door reveal is the space between the closed door and the door frame or jamb.
- Look for an even spacing. Uneven spacing may reveal settling of loose hinges.
- Inspect the hinges knob and strike plate for loose screws. Tighten them if loose.
- If the door still will not latch then look at where door latch hits the strike plate you can use a mill file to remove a little of the strike plate metal on that edge until the latch catches or reset the strike plate.
- If you need to remove a large amount of metal or you are having trouble using the file in such a small space, remove the latch plate and place it in a vise. [See photo]
- another method or re-aligning the strike plate is to physically remove it and re-align it to the door strike or deadbolt latch. This repair usually involves filling the old screw holes with small pieces or wood and glue [wooden matches and tooth picks work well] prior to drilling new holes and re-installing the screws.
- If you determine that the hinge screws are loose and will not tighten you can use fill the screw holes with new wood and glue [wooden match or tooth picks] and re-install the screws.
- Installing a longer screw, long enough to reach the framing, will often stop a heavy door from sagging and loosening the hinge. Install this screw in the top jamb side, hinge.