Troubleshooting and Fixing Common Door Lock and Latch Issues

Doors are essential in our daily lives, offering security, privacy, and climate control. However, when a door won’t close or keeps opening on its own, it’s not only frustrating but also compromises your safety. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the most common reasons why doors misbehave and how to fix them. We’ll cover issues related to door locks and latches, and provide you with valuable tips to keep your doors in top condition. Whether you’re dealing with a problematic door or looking to enhance your home’s security, this guide is your key to a solution.

Best Choice for Door Lock Repair and Replacement: 1st Choice Locksmith

When it comes to door lock repair and replacement, you want a trusted professional to handle the job. That’s where 1st Choice Locksmith comes in. Their team of experienced locksmiths specializes in addressing a wide range of lock and key issues. Whether you need a lock repaired, replaced, or want to explore keyless entry systems for enhanced security, 1st Choice Locksmith has you covered. Now, let’s dive into the common door lock and latch issues and how to tackle them.

Why Does Your Door Keep Opening?

When a door won’t close, it is due to an issue with the door or the lock. But it will always result in the latch or bolt not securing into the strike plate correctly. When the lock’s latch bolt is not holding in that catch, the door can open with a gust of wind or just on its own.

Should You Keep Doors Closed?

It is best for safety and security that doors stay closed reliably. Closed doors can prevent burglary, assist with privacy, and the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has determined that a closed door can save your life during a fire. If your door won’t close, you are at risk.

How Do You Keep a Door Closed Without a Latch?

It is possible to lock a door without a lock with door wedges, improvised barricades, etc. The issue with closing a door without a latch is that these devices harm the ease of egress. When you cannot exit through a door quickly, it becomes a safety risk.

Does Keeping a Door Closed Help with Climate Control?

You can insulate a room more effectively when the door is closed. Closing a door limits airflow so a room can heat up quicker. For air conditioning, the larger the space being cooled, the more energy and time it takes. When a door won’t close, the room stays a part of a larger space.

Is It a Security Risk When a Door Won’t Close?

If you keep doors closed, it is better for your security. Even interior doors may need to be closed for security while living with roommates. However, not every door is intended for security. Bathroom door locks, for example, are intended to offer privacy. Whatever a door’s purpose, it cannot be served when the door won’t close.

1. Debris

All manner of flotsam and jetsam can accumulate in the catch of the strike plate. Wood or material from the door jam can come loose, partially blocking the catch hole. With the door open, take a look at the hole in the door jam that the latch should be falling into.

Door Won’t Close Tip #1

Once you locate the debris, you can remove it. If material from the door or jam has come loose or broken, you may need to cut or chisel the jutting protrusion. For gunky or sticky substances, you should also clean the surface with soap and water.

2. Doorway Tolerances

When a door won’t close properly, check the openings along the top, bottom, and sides of the door. The wood in both solid core doors and hollow core doors can expand to the point where their gaps close and drag on the doorway.

Door Won’t Close Tip #2

Tight doorway tolerances can keep doors closed even when you want them open and make it so a door won’t close. If you are having trouble opening and closing a door, this is a sign that the door tolerance is too tight. But if there is no sign of tolerance issues, you may need a new lock.

3. Strike Plate Alignment

When any door won’t close, there is often an issue with how the strike plate is aligned. Your doorway tolerances changing can create this issue, as can your hinge alignment. But you can diagnose and fix the issue by focusing on the strike plate exclusively.

Door Won’t Close Tip #3

You need to fix the underlying cause of the strike plate misaligning. If you do not, the issue will recur and likely worsen. You can only expand or move your strike plate so much before you have weakened the door jamb to where it will need complete refurbishment.

4. Stuck Door Latch

When a door keeps opening, make sure the latch is extending correctly. A stuck door latch might not fully extend into the catch of the strike plate. You may have to fuss with the handle or push at the latch a few times, but see if you can get the latch to come out.

Door Won’t Close Tip #4

If you replace a door knob with a deadbolt, you are not going to experience a sticking latch because the bolt is fully thrown. Even when the new deadbolt begins to get sticky, you will be able to tell that it is not fully engaged, so you are not surprised if the door keeps popping open.

5. Hinge Alignment

The first thing you can do to check on your hinge alignment is open the door and push and pull it in different directions. If the door wobbles, one of the hinges is probably loose. Use a screwdriver and tighten the hinge screws and see if this solves the issue.

Door Won’t Close Tip #5

Check your door hinges as a part of your standard lock maintenance. If the metal is heavily corroded or misshapen, consider replacing the hinges. However, the repeated replacement or readjusting of hinges can exacerbate issues with hinge alignment.

Final Words

Instead of looking up how to change a door knob when a door keeps opening, go through the troubleshooting process and determine whether there is an issue with the lock, strike plate, doorway, hinges, etc. You may find that the best solution has nothing to do with the lock. For more information on what to do when a door keeps popping open, please leave a comment below. And if you would like professional assistance, contact 1st Choice Locksmith for all your door lock repair and replacement needs.


Send Us A Message

More Posts