How to Fix a Door That Won’t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Have you at any time this ever closed your front door but seen that it’s not latching properly. The doorway closes but when you get the door handle and pull, it does not feel like it’s closed all the way. You could not get a great night’s slumber right up until you get this set.

Doors that won’t latch are annoying. Maybe it is not a huge deal if it is a bed room door. But envision striving to shut the entrance doorway of your property and the concern of latching arrives up. No matter whether your doorway is sticking out of alignment or the latch has broken off, it can ruin the basic safety of your property.

So, what do you do when you have acquired a doorway that won’t latch? Read through on to discover out how to correct this common dilemma.

How to Fix a Door That Won&#8217t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Safety Measures Before You Start

Generating confident your doorways are in very good functioning purchase is an outstanding way to hold your home secure. Doorways that will not latch can be irritating. But, you can fix them oneself with the correct equipment.

Before you begin any project:
  • Make sure you have all of the necessary tools to complete the job safely and efficiently.
  • Before removing screws from a latch plate, take a photo of the plate and its alignment with the door jamb. It’ll make it easier to reassemble the hardware.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep areas clear of obstructions.
  • If you are using a hammer, wear safety glasses. This way, splinters of wood won’t get in your eyes if they fly off as you hit them with the hammer.
  • If you’re using a drill, wear earplugs. This way, your ears don’t get damaged by the loud noise from drilling into the wood.
  • Also, make sure that no sharp objects lying around. Wear gloves and protective clothing if you’re looking for spare parts to replace damaged ones.

Tools and Materials Needed

How to Fix a Door That Won&#8217t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Step-By-Step Guide for Fixing a Door That Won’t Latch

If your doorway will not latch, the DIYs underneath will assist. From checking for obstructions to changing the strike plate, these methods will come in handy.

1. Diagnose the Issue

Commence by determining what is causing your doorway not to latch. Try shutting it firmly. If the door closes but doesn’t latch, it could be thanks to:

  • Misaligned strike plate: this is the metal plate on the frame where the bolt extends when you close the door. If it’s misaligned with the bolt, it will prevent your door from latching.
  • Sticking lock: there could be dust and debris in the lock preventing it from moving well.
  • Out of square: Your door might have shifted slightly out of place so that it can’t close all the way and latch well.

2. Assess the Hinges

Modify the leading hinge very first by loosening the screws and pushing the hinge down. If this doesn’t function, pull the door out and take away some of the wooden from the jamb. Be mindful not to modify this also considerably. You do not want your door to be also vast or way too narrow.

Modifying the base hinge is a small far more complex than the prime one particular. You could require to get rid of a portion of wood from the two sides of your doorway or make changes with a screwdriver.

If these changes don’t function, take away the metal plates attached to the hinges on your door. Then, reinstall these steel plates in a different situation on your door.

Whichever method you pick, examination it out by closing your doorway to see if the latch fits in the strike plate hole snugly.

3. Push the Strike Plate Downward

A doorway that will not latch does not have to be a major fix scenario. At times the difficulty is with the strike plate. The strike plate is the steel piece on the doorjamb against which the door latch or lock bolt extends when you shut your doorway.

If shortening either part of your door’s components isn’t an selection for you, attempt pushing down on the strike plate right up until it is completely seated on the jamb. Loosen its screws somewhat before adjusting it into spot.

If loosening its screws does not perform, use a chisel and a hammer to fit against one corner of the strike plate right up until it aligns properly with the jamb and latch bolt.

4. Enlarge the Hole in the Strike Plate

If the doorway will not latch, it could be simply because the strike plate hole is also modest for the latch. Initial, examine to see if the latch is hitting any component of the strike plate other than its middle. If so, you will require to enlarge that part of the gap.

Attract a line all around this area with a pencil. This way, you can make certain to keep in it as your steel file wanders a minor bit. Enlarge the hole with a metal file. Insert it in the strike plate gap.

Then, transfer it back and forth as quickly as you can on the strike plate’s decrease lip. Get rid of as much metal as you can, dependent on the latch.

The major aim of enlarging the strike plate hole is to create a hole ample for the latch to get by way of.

5. Position the Strike Plate Again

If you have attempted the over step, but your door won’t latch all the way, chances are the strike plate is out of alignment. If your door is a little more mature, it’s probably that the door body has settled somewhat and moved out of alignment with the strike plate.

To reposition the strike plate, use a screwdriver to get rid of it from the body. Drill new holes in the doorway frame and reposition the strike plate at a distinct angle.

6. Mark the New Position of the Strike Plate

Use a pencil to mark the place you will drill the new gap. Make sure you mark it very carefully so that you really don't end up drilling as well shut or too far away from the authentic placement.

Now that you have marked the place your new holes will go for your strike plate, you can then drill them. Make certain that you’re employing a drill that matches up with your screws. This way, they will fit tightly when mounted into your door jamb.

Take a look at if the strike plate matches in its new location ahead of re-putting in it utilizing screws. Then test-fit your door latch yet again to make confident it performs easily.

7. Fill in the Old Screw Holes Using a Wood Filler

Wood Filler is a material utilized to fill holes and cracks in the wooden. It arrives in distinct shades. You can use it on any wooden. Also, you can sand or paint it.

When acquiring this merchandise, make certain you purchase one that you can use equally indoors and outdoors.

If you require to fill a massive deep gap, use a tiny piece of wooden as help. Just take your time, and do not apply too considerably filler at one time because it shrinks as it dries. You can also insert the wood filler to a putty knife and distribute it in excess of the previous screw holes.

Permit it to dry totally. As soon as it dries, use sandpaper to sand down any surplus wood filler. This way, it’ll be even with the door.

If your door is painted and you do not strategy on repainting it, use wooden filler that is shut in shade to the previous paint.

8. Prepare the Screw Holes

How to Fix a Door That Won’t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: SERSOLL, Shutterstock

Use a countersink drill to avoid jagged edges if you have to drill your holes. Also, use a drill little bit that is at least 1/eight-inch smaller sized than the diameter of your screw to steer clear of splitting the wood. It will make sure that get a very good bite on the screws when you put in them.

You can possibly use a drop of glue or just push in the screws. If you are making use of glue, put some glue in every hole, then travel in the screws.

Make certain you travel them in so they are flush with the floor of the door.  If you don’t want to use glue, travel in the screws using a screwdriver until finally they are even with the door floor.

9. Cut a New Lower Edge for the Strike Plate

Minimize together the line you previously marked employing a utility knife. You’re carrying out this to develop place for the strike plate. Let your utility knife operate along the line severally. It’ll form a gorge that can fit a chisel tip.

Faucet the chisel using a hammer. Make sure you stage it into the gorge. It’ll loosen the piece of wood. Be eager not to destroy the doorway jamb.

As quickly as the piece of wooden is out, sort a cleanse wedge employing a chisel. This is the place the strike plate’s decrease portion will suit snugly. Then, examine how the strike plate matches into the area.

10. Install the Strike Plate into Place

You have lastly manufactured it to the final step! All that is remaining to do is put the strike plate back again into place and place your screws in. Right after that, you are now free to open and shut your doorway with simplicity!

Using screws that in shape snugly into every single pilot gap, protected your new strike plate to the doorway jamb. Screw them in with your screwdriver or drill till limited and flush from the jam area.

How to Fix a Door That Won&#8217t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Common Causes Why Your Door Won’t Latch

Right here are some of the most typical factors why your doorway doesn’t latch.

§  The Strike Plate is Out of Alignment

The strike plate is a metallic rectangle situated on the inside of portion of your doorframe in which the latch meets when the door is shut. If this plate is not lined up with the hole in your doorframe well, the lock will not catch in spot.

§  A Broken Lock

If your lock is broken or missing elements, there is no way for it to capture onto anything when you shut your doorway. You’ll need to remove and replace it with a new a single if you have a broken lock.

§  Loose Screws

If the door latch is not retracting, there might be unfastened screws. Examine that the screws holding the strike plate in area are limited. If you are having problems repairing this by yourself, contact a professional for assist.

How to Fix a Door That Won’t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: Skyliz, Shutterstock

§  Bent Door Jamb

If your door jamb is bent, it’ll most likely need to be replaced by a specialist locksmith or carpenter.

§  Latch Not Deep Enough

The latch on your deadbolt might not be caught into the strike plate on your door body. It is typically brought on by wear and tear above time.

If you’ve previously adjusted the strike plate and tightened the screws, but it nonetheless doesn’t function, you need to have to substitute your deadbolt with a longer 1.  This way, it can achieve deeper into the strike plate.

§  Warped or Sagging Jambs or Header

If your jambs are warped or out of square with each other, you will have problems getting your doorway to shut nicely and latch securely.

Also, if you have a warped or sagging sill, your whole doorway could be out of the sq.. The sagging door sill may be triggered by water damage.

How Does a Door Latch Work?

A typical door latch is a two-piece assembly. It’s a spring-loaded metal tongue that matches into a steel socket, referred to as a strike plate.

There is a little bolt at 1 conclude of the assembly to maintain the tongue in location and prevent the doorway from opening. It slides into a gap in the strike plate when the door is closed.

When you switch the doorknob or twist a lever handle, you rotate an L-formed metal bar referred to as a cam. It pulls back again (or retracts) the bolt so that it no more time holds the tongue in place. This permits you to open up the door.

How to Fix a Door That Won’t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

Purposes of a Strike Plate

There are two principal reasons of a strike plate. The first is to enhance the doorway jamb the place the latch or deadbolt lock bolts into it.

The 2nd is to provide a massive floor region for the latch or deadbolt to bolt into. It raises resistance against pressured entry (kicking in the door).

A typical doorway jamb is not powerful, particularly if it’s produced from wood and hollow on the within. Normally, the strike plate is manufactured from metal. It attaches directly to the jamb with three-inch-long screws, significantly reinforcing it.

A common proportions strike plate will be about 2½ inches wide and 1⅛ inches tall. This supplies much far more area than just the lock cylinder by itself.

How to Fix a Door That Won&#8217t Latch in 10 Steps (with Pictures)


It can be a pain when your door will not latch. But you don’t have to reside with it. With a couple of easy resources and a tiny know-how, you can tackle the difficulty oneself. It’ll save you money more than calling a skilled.

Remember that doors are different. So, if your door is not latching like it’s meant to, check out out the first stage for much more information on what you might be experiencing. Ideally, these recommendations have appear in helpful and you have set your door latch

Showcased Image Credit: Kawin Ounprasertsuk, Shutterstock