I put in a brand new Schlage door knob on one of my doors about 3 months
ago. All of a sudden over the last couple of days, it isn't catching any
more to the point where the door opens on its own. Any suggestions as to
what has happened and how to fix it?
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Shifting, settling, humidity. Take a GOOD conical rotary rasp and enlarge
the hole the pin goes into, being careful only to take what's needed where
needed. I have to do this periodically with some of my doors. It may be
possible to move the whole plate slightly depending on how it is mounted.
Make sure all the hinge screws are tight, first. Amazing how many flaky
doors that fixes. Then use a level and mark-1 eyeball to look at the
gaps all around the door, and a small framing square in the corners of
the door opening, to make sure house isn't moving around with the start
of fall weather, or the door slab itself isn't becoming a potato chip.
Sometimes, replacing a screw in each hinge with one that goes all the
way over to the stud, is helpful. Do that before hogging out the holes
in striker, or moving it. Otherwise, next spring, door may be real sloppy.
First things first - before modifying ANYTHING - check to be sure the
bolt is returning fully with the door open. I have had situations
where the mechanism inside the door got sticky/stiff. Sometimes lack
of lubrication, sometimes sawdust getting into the works, and
sometimes an alignment problem.
With any of the above you could enlarge the hole in the jam and
reposition the striker plate 'till the cows come home, and the door
would still not latch.
And if the door HAS sagged, shimming the lower hinge is a much better
way of "fixing" it than chopping away at the striker. A plastic shim
cut from a food container or soap bottle, and placed between the hinge
and the jam,will generally raise the bolt enough to solve the problem
and be virtually indetectable
Close the door. If it does not latch, pull up on the knob, keeping the door
pushed shut. See if the latch will pop into the slot. If pulling up a
little doesn't get it to pop, push it in, push it down, etc. That will tell
you what part of the little plate you need to grind down. A carbide burr is
best, and the ones that come almost to a point will get up in the corners.
Usually an alignment problem with the jamb. Sagging, even swelling can make
the difference if really close. Check to see if you have to move it up or
down. Loosen the screws on the catch. push in the proper direction and
tighten. If that does not work, get a file.
A lot of the plates cannot be moved, being routered into the jamb. If it is
an older door, you can fill the holes with match sticks or toothpicks and
move it just enough. You have to shave the receiver hole with a conical
carbide burr on a lot of prehung doors. And sometimes, the screws holding
the whole thing on the studs have to be redone.
Lots of good advice above, some fine for a temporary fix. My bet is on
the house moving (based on experience) and in that case after careful
checks of square, plumb, and level, if remedial action is possible
that will likely be most permanent. Good luck.
Thanks, everyone for the knockdown of my latch hogging idea.
That was bad advice.
First, trying one longer screw per hinge, and checking all hinge screws.
And checking the locks.
And other things mentioned.
It's just that I've done all that on my doors, and with the extreme temp
shifts where I live, sometimes it just takes a little trimming after you've
tried all the other stuff. And the original idiot who built this house
didn't help a lot, either.
Umm... Obvious question that hasn't been asked yet:
Are the new locks exactly identical to the old locks you replaced ?
New Schlage locks replacing old Schlage locks or what ?
Also, there is quite a bit of "play" when you are installing the
latch into the hole on the door -- perhaps you have installed it
in the wrong place within the wiggle room available...
Remove the knob portion of the lock set from the door and
try reinstalling the latch... Especially if you were not swapping
identical locks out for new ones -- the latch being off by
1/8" or 1/4" is enough to mess up the works...
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