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Need to latch "latch lock" to completely close door?

Need to latch "latch lock" to completely close door?

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  #1  
Old 07-13-12, 02:17 PM
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Need to latch "latch lock" to completely close door?

Hi all.

I recently (January/February) had an exterior front door installed.

I have had the manufacturer and the installer out a couple of times:

1. The glass in the door leaked - the manufacturer came and resealed the glass.

2. The door seemed a bit off-kilter to me (slightly tilted), as well as slightly angled in at the top (the top interior edge of the door came in about 1/8" to 1/16" or so with the bottom flush - the weatherstripping on the exterior top just barely touched the door, while the bottom was well sealed). Also, the sweep on the latch end was compressed, while the sweep on the jamb end was just slightly compressed.

While the manufacturer and the installer were responding to problem #2, we noted that there was cardboard stuck in between the jamb and the latch on the top - it looked like someone had attempted to shim the top latch.

We removed this - and also found that the screws attaching the hinge to the door were loose. Once the manufacturer tightened those, the door seemed a little better - but the top edge still slightly tilted in a bit.

After some playing around with the door - the manufacturer noted that the top edge lined up much better when the door latch was completely engaged. This means that the primary door latch was engaged, along with a small tab. You have to press firmly on the door (or pull hard on the knob from the outside) to get this piece to latch. The manufacturer also had to file the strike plate a bit to get the deadbolt to latch after this.

I felt reasonably OK about the door after this - as it does seem to seal all the way around.

Fast forward about a month, and while at the office and working on a door here, my maintenance supervisor noted a problem with a door's "keeper" (his word) - I looked at it with him, and he told me that it was broken because it wasn't moving correctly. After talking to him for a bit, he told me that this piece is supposed to NOT go into the "catch" area that the rest of the latch goes into - because it helps stop people from using a credit card to open a door.

Needless to say, once we were done with our project - I rushed to the internet to check, and it looks like he's right.

So - now I'm a little ticked.

My front door doesn't completely shut unless this "keeper" thing enters the "catch" area - but I've learned that the door is supposed to be shut without this thing ever entering the catch area.

I feel like either the manufacture and the installer both lied to me, or they didn't understand this concept regarding doors - either way, that's not a good situation.

I feel like calling them to talk to them about fixing this, but I'm not sure what they can do.

I'm not home right now, so I can't put pictures up - but I'm wondering if I shouldn't be shutting the door as "completely" as they seemed to lead me to believe I needed to.

Is it bad to have to latch that additional piece of the latch? Has anyone else dealt with anything like this? Is there a way to fix this outside of demanding they install a new door (which I seriously doubt I would be able to get to happen, unless I sued - which I don't have money for)? Am I over-reacting?

What should I do?
 
  #2  
Old 07-13-12, 02:45 PM
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I've calmed down a bit - and talked to our maintenance guy again.

Apparently, I'm not going to "hurt" the door by closing it this way - it's just annoying that I need to do it.

I guess if worse comes to worse, at some point I could make a new strikeplate that's a bit off-set and install it.
 
  #3  
Old 07-13-12, 02:58 PM
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Why not just remove the strike plate and mortise it back a little and reset inward a quarter of an inch? That way the latch would catch, but the safety feature would remain compressed.
 
  #4  
Old 07-13-12, 03:12 PM
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Chandler's suggestion would help... although adjusting the latch is kind of a bandaid on a poor install. They also make adjustable strike plates that would work well once you got it adjusted properly... they go in the same mortise and use the same holes.

The person you talked to was correct, the "keeper" you are referring to is a half-moon shaped security device. When it is depressed, it's purpose is to prevent the latch from being forced open by a credit card or similar device. When both the latch and this security pin are both extended into the strike plate bore hole, it may make the door shut tighter, but it defeats the purpose of the security device. IMO it will eventually ruin your latch, although it may take a year or more to ruin it.

It sounds like you had a real moron install your door. The door threshold was likely set out of level, creating the problem with the top edge not lining up, and it might also create a drag on the bottom. Shimming hinges with cardboard is just plain stupid, add to that the fact that shimming the top hinge would only make the problem worse. Shimming the bottom hinge would raise the door slightly. But anytime you shim hinges you affect the clearance on the latch side so that's not usually a good fix.

Your door doesn't meet the weatherstrip evenly as the door closes because the legs of the door are racked- in other words they are not in the same plane with one another. If the top latch side of the door sticks into the room farther than the bottom, then the bottom corner of the jamb and threshold should be moved OUT on that side, and the top latch corner would be moved IN. An adjustment can also be made on the hinge side to compensate for walls that are not plumb, but it would be the opposite. The top hinge side corner of the jamb would move OUT and the bottom hinge side corner of the jamb and threshold would move IN. These adjustments would have plumbed your door so that it would contact the weatherstrip evenly as you shut the door. It's about the first thing you learn when you install doors for a living... or at least it SHOULD be. It's a very minor adjustment, if you bump each corner 1/16" in the direction needed, that adds up to 1/4" of adjustment, which can make a big difference in how the door operates and seals.

As for the sag, I would think that they would have installed a 3" long screw through the hinge and into the wall studs... but you could check that. Tightening up that 3" long screw will often pull a heavy glass door back into square. But if the door was installed out of square, that would need to be fixed first.

If I had put in that door, and someone called to complain I would return at no charge to make things right. However not all installers work that way. Some just don't care. Good luck with how things turn out. IMO you don't need a new door, just a decent installer who could remove the door and then reinstall it correctly.
 
  #5  
Old 07-14-12, 07:39 PM
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were you going to put some pictures up ?
 
  #6  
Old 07-18-12, 11:38 AM
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Thank you for your responses.

To Xsleeper - wow, there's a lot of information there. Thank you very much.

The door was a pre-hung model - I'm not sure if I pointed that out before, but from reading your response regarding the threshold not being set level, I'm not sure how much impact the installer had to do with that since it all came as one piece.

Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about doors at the time to notice if there was a problem - I only know that the door looked a lot better than the one we replaced.

Before calling the installer and manufacturer out to my house the last time, I tried calling another contracter to come look at the door and get a "second opinion" - but they refused since they hadn't installed the door. That sounded weird to me - but I don't understand how this stuff works. I don't even know if I would screw up the warranty I have on my door by having someone else work on it - maybe that's the problem with why the other group wouldn't work on it?

Anyway - I got the sense from both the installer and the manufacturer the last time they were at my house that they felt they had exhausted all options short of re-installing a new door, which they didn't seem to think was even an option. I'm not even sure how big of a problem this is - aside from the fact that I may have to replace the strikeplate?

Does the fact that this is a pre-hung door change your analysis at all?

I haven't had a chance to post pictures yet - although I can say that I'm not sure how much they would show. Neither one of these guys (myself included) noticed it until we really started looking. Even then - once you close it with the "keeper" engaged, it appears OK.
 
  #7  
Old 07-18-12, 11:54 AM
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I did assume it was a prehung. I only mentioned sill/threshold being out of level because you mentioned the door seemed "tilted". If the gap on top of the door appears tapered, that can be one of the causes... the entire door may not be sitting level. This can happen when the house is not level and the installer does not shim the rough opening where the door will be sitting before it he installs the door. The other thing that causes that is when the hinges are not plumb. When there is no 3" screw in the top hinge, it can cause that top hinge to be out of plumb from the bottom one.

The 2nd contractor probably doesn't want to get in the middle of something that's really between you and the first guy. It's not usually good business (good way to make enemies) to go and pick apart someone else's work when what really needs to happen is give the guy who did the work a chance to correct it on his own.
 
 

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