One of the bedroom doors in my house is slightly bowed and the door
will not latch without giving it a good tug. When I close the door,
the top and the bottom of the door make contact with the door frame,
meanwhile the middle part of the door near the door knob is about 1/8"
out and not latched. I can give the door knob a pull and it will
latch and stay closed. The door itself is a run-of-the-mill 25 year
old hollow interior door. Short of replacing the door, does anyone
have any advice on making the door close and latch easier?
Thanks a lot....
Move the strike plate over an eighth of an inch.
1. Take off the strike plate.
2. Fill the old screw holes. I like to use toothpicks and wood glue. If
you use matches, don't put the head end in the hole. Pack the hole as
tightly as you can. Let the glue dry.
3. Drill new holes farther to the side. Drill small holes. The screw
threads need something to bite into.
4. Replace the strike plate.
You might have to make the big hole for the striker a little larger. Use a
The no-hassle way of doing this is neater:
Stop by a local sheet metal shop. Buy a piece of 0.060" stainless
steel cutoff (might even be a freebie). At home, take off your old
strike plate and scribe the outline and screw holes on the SS piece.
Cut out the new strike plate blank, with your trusty hack saw. Drill
and countersink the screw holes exactly like the original. On the new
blank, scribe the latch opening 1/8" (or whatever) further back. Cut
out the opening, smooth, bend tab and trim as needed. Install new
strike plate in original screw holes. Close door, Retire to TV room
with a cold one and bask in the appreciative admiration of SWMBO.
Always works for me.
Oh, I have no doubt it would work better, but my customers wouldn't be
willing to pay the price. I can move the strike plate over in about 10
minutes. (I don't wait for the glue to dry.) Fabricating a new part means
I would have to, at least, make another trip to the customer's house.
My *real* solution would be adjustable strike plates....
They make adjustable strike plates that have sort of a corrugated
surface on the plate, then a slotted part that moves in and out. When
you screw the plate to the door jamb, you can loosen the screws and
adjust the plate in and out.
I get them at a place called Builders Display. Don't know where else
they have them.
Here is one, but not like the ones that I have used:
This one is more like the one that I have used, but still not exact:
I have a 20 year old bedroom door that just took a bow, except it is the
reverse of yours, it rubs on the door stop when it is closed. I plan to add
a third hinge in the middle of the door to try to straighten it out a bit,
possibly it would work for you too. But you may still have to move the
striker to help it latch.
I assume the door is hitting the 'stop', the small piece of trim around the
inside of the jam, at the top and bottom but not in the middle where the
latch is located? Depending on how the door and frame are finished (paint
vs stain) you could remove the stop, close the door so it latches, and then
re-apply the stop against the closed door. If it's painted, you can repaint
as necessary. If it's stained it may be a bit more work, in which case
re-locating the strike plate as was suggested might be less work
Mark - yes I meant that the door is hitting the trim around the inside
of the door jam. I will investigate the relocation of the strike
plate this weekend. Not sure how well it will work since the new
holes will be partially in the old holes. We'll see.
Thanks everyone for their input....
Do this and you won't have to worry. Buy a hardwood dowel of the appropriate
size (slightly smaller than your finished hole) and drill out the old holes
to a uniform diameter and a depth longer than the screws you will be using.
Groove the dowels and roughen the holes, add a quality epoxy to the holes
and butter the
dowels with it. Tap the dowels into the holes. If you measured hole depth
well and cut the
dowels exactly you will have little protruding dowel length to trim after
the epoxy sets up.
This can be done carefully with a modeller's backsaw or hacksaw blade and
flush. You will need acetone to clean up any surplus wet epoxy. Once you
have followed these prodedures, you can use a small nail to punch your new
centers as guide points for drilling.
Using a small pilot drill for your initial hole before using a drill bit of
the correct size for
the screws' root diameter will make for a clean job. If you have trouble
look into a drill guide for your portable drill. General and others make
I have an 85 year old house with its original doors, so I have had my
share of door issues like this.
What you need to figure out is why this is happening. If you're in a
high humidity area, then I guess it's possible the door has just bowed
itself. But if it's striking the top and bottom of the frame when you
close it, then it sounds like there might be some pressure being put
on it from the top when it's closed. It could be settlement.
Also, are you sure it's the door that's bowed and not the jamb?
Again, could be settlement.
Moving the strike plate would be a short-term solution (and one that
I've used myself) but if it's settlement, then you might end up making
things worse eventually, because the door will now have more room to
Personally, I'd probably just move the strike plate for now and then
deal with it later. But I'd also check for settlement just to have an
idea of what I might need to do in the future.
On Jan 25, 1:02 pm, email@example.com wrote:
Thanks Jeff. Tell me....how does one check for settlement? Of the 5
other doors on the second level of our home, 4 work fine and one other
door closes loosely, so I'm probably looking at moving that strike
plate closer to the door stop. On the main floor, I have 2 doors that
seem to close fine, but they don't latch.
Thanks again for your advice.
The main thing is just measuring the square, level and plumb of the
door jamb. You can do that with just a basic square and level. If
it's out, then it's probably settlement, unless the jamb was installed
incorrectly in the first place. Nothing to freak out about if it's
out, but at least you'll know what's happening. I'd still probably
just move the plate, but at least if it continues to get worse you
will know it's really the house's movement that's the problem. (This
is normal, but it might force you to re-install the jamb eventually.)
Measure level and plumb on all sides, too. In my house, a couple of
the jambs have actually started "walking" a little bit over the last
85 years, so they're out of plumb a little bit not on the side the
door is on but on the plane of the wall. That means the top of the
door hits the jamb and I have to tug the door to close it.
As for the doors that don't latch, probably just worn out springs.
You can just get new springs for the lockset if that's the case. Or
if these are those cheap hollow core doors, they probably came with
cheap locksets too and maybe you just want to replace the whole
thing. Not very difficult or expensive, unless you decide to upgrade
at the same time.
Make your life a little easer and instead of moving the strike plate, make
the hole in the strike plate that the latch goes into a little bit bigger.
This way you will mot have to deal with moving screw holes over a half a
hole or having to fill the gap left by moving the strike.
Hear is what I would do. First, stand on the stop side of the door and
allow the door to come to rest with out any pressure on it to straighten the
bow. Observe the distance between the door stop and the door in line with
Now tug the door closed so that it latches fully. The distance at the same
point will be less than your original observed distance, and the difference
is the amount you need to move the hole in the strike plate.
I allow about a + 1/32" more but do not exceed this or you will be too
If you have a lipped strike, (A small tab folded into the strike hole) you
can either file the lip off, or make a visit to your local locksmith and he
might be able to supply you with a flat strike plate in the same finish and
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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