Door Latch Issue: hard to open and close


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Old 03-06-10, 07:53 PM
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Door Latch Issue: hard to open and close

I have a metal front door and a metal garage/kitchen door that you have to push in hard to get the doors to latch closed. To open, the handles are hard to turn and then door kind of "pops" open, sometimes you have to push in on the door and then turn.

I've already put a couple 3" screws in the top hinges, doors are not sticking at the top. For the garage door, I tried moving the strike plate out a little to relieve some of the pressure/stickiness, but then the door wouldn't seal all the way. Front door outside lever is really hard to push down too.

Any adjustment advice or something else to try?
 
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Old 03-06-10, 11:57 PM
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Sounds like the issues for both are in the strike plates. Try filing a little bit of those plates on the interior side and see if that doesn't make them work better.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 12:20 AM
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You could have some warping in the studs around the door throwing it off a bit. Check the door frame for plumb. Check the doors for any damage. Is the handle hard to turn when it isn't open as well as closed? Some strike plates have a tongue on the inside you can adjust by bending a bit.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 04:48 AM
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I've already bent in/flattened the little tab in on the strike plate, and even moved the strike plate. That helps too little, and then it starts reaching a point where the door does not seal all the way. The handles turn fine when it's open.

I'll check the frame for plumb, thanks.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 06:55 AM
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Does your latch (the part that goes into the strike plate mortise when the door is closed) have a half moon security pin, like this? (I don't know the proper name for this piece).

If so, this picture illustrates the WRONG way the latch should be positioned in the hole when the door is closed. Notice that both the latch and the half moon security pin are in the strike plate mortise.

When the door is closed, the half moon security pin should still be depressed against the strike plate, like this and this.

If both are in the strike plate mortise, it can sometimes create binding that makes the door latch hard to open. So that would be one thing to check. With the soft weatherstrips that are used nowadays, it makes it difficult to adjust a strike plate correctly, because if the door is shut softly (normally) it will set the latch correctly in the mortise, but if you slam the door or push it closed tightly, that half moon security pin will also drop into the mortise. I haven't quite figured out a good way to prevent this from happening, other than being sure you have the strike plate set in the correct position so that it latches correctly most of the time. If you need to move the strike plate, drilling the holes larger, just enough to glue a golf tee into the holes, works well. when the glue is dry, cut the tees off and sand them flat. then predrill your new holes.
 
 

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