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New door. Latch won't go into the hole of the jamb.

New door. Latch won't go into the hole of the jamb.


  #1  
Old 01-28-14, 10:13 AM
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New door. Latch won't go into the hole of the jamb.

Just installed a new refurbished door. Don't exactly know why it was refurbished, but the sales guy told me it was only because someone returned it. They reassured me that it is extensively checked over and in good condition. Here's the problem. I've installed the door and I can't get the latch to go into the hole of the jamb. It's off by almost 3/4".

Maybe the hole in the door jamb was cut too high?
  • When I got the door, I didn't bother to check to see if the holes on the door and jamb lined up so maybe the jamb was cut wrong?

Or maybe I did something wrong?
  • I unscrewed the door from the hinges prior to installation so I could paint the door easier.

The door jambs, top, and bottom are all level. However, the door does slope downward from the hinges. And the reveal shows that the door does indeed slope downward from the hinges. This ends up with the door latch being lower than the hole in the door jamb.
 
  #2  
Old 01-28-14, 10:33 AM
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The door "sloping" indicates you didn't install the jamb level, although the sides may be plumb. Check the top again and I believe you will find it rises from the hinge side to the latch side. It will necessitate you either raising the hinge side or lowering the latch side to bring it into alignment. I would leave the door installed, and try getting the same reveal all around the door. Your latch will fall into line at that point.
 
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Old 01-28-14, 05:57 PM
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I went back and leveled the top and bottom jambs more level than before. It actually helped somewhat, but it's not enough to get the latch to go inside the jamb hole. It is closer though. The jambs - sides, top, and bottom threshold are now fairly level. They were close to level before, but now that are even more level.

The door is still sloping from the high side of the hinges to the low side of the door latch. The gap (i.e., "reveal") between the top of the door and the underside of the top jamb is noticeably larger on the latch side of the door. By the way, the door latch is too low and doesn't go in the jamb hole. If I can raise the door higher, but keep the jambs the same, I think I might be able to get fairly close to getting the latch to go into the jamb hole. How do I do this? I mean, how do I boost higher the non-hinge side of the door?
 
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Old 01-28-14, 08:38 PM
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Like Larry said, it depends if the door is sitting on a level surface first of all. When the latch is low, it usually means the hinge side is sitting lower than the latch side. Maybe your floor was out of level to begin with. You can't sit a door on a crooked surface and expect it to work. If you have a level, sit it on the sill of the door threshold and see if one side should be raise higher. I agree that if you stuck a shim under the hinge side jamb, it would help raise the latch. I'm also guessing that the top of the door needs to move closer to the stud on the hinge side, which would also raise the latch. This is usually accomplished with shims, putting shims on the bottom of the hinge side to force it in once direction, while putting shims toward the top of the latch side, to force the hinge side over.

Of course, you would obviously want to be checking this with a level to make sure you are getting the door level and plumb. Then you usually want to remove one of the short screws from the jamb side hinge and install a 3" long screw to secure the door to the stud and prevent it from ever sagging. (You want shims behind the hinge when you do this so that you don't suck the jamb over TOO far.)
 
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Old 01-28-14, 11:19 PM
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XSleeper, are you sure about that? The hinge side is opposite the latch side.

I have the jambs now exactly level and plumb. Both jamb sides are plumb. The top and bottom jambs are also level.

I need to move the latch side (i.e. "non-hinge" side, aka door knob side) up about 1/2" without moving the jambs. I tried tightening down the screws that hold the door to the hinges, but no improvement. Is there a method to raise the latch-side of the door itself, but keep all the jambs exactly where they are at?
 
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Old 01-29-14, 04:59 AM
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Think about it. The latch hole in the jamb is already too high, right? That means the jamb on the latch side needs to go down, and the hinge side jamb needs to come up. That's if the door is not sitting on a level surface.

If the door is not plumb, the way to raise the latch in relation to the strike plate would be to jack the frame toward the stud on the top of the hinge side, and toward the stud on the bottom of the latch side.

Why do you think the jambs don't need to move? Have you checked them with a 78" level and they are perfectly plumb? And when you say you tightened the screws, did you remove one of the short screws, and install a 3" long screw (in one of the holes closest to the weatherstrip)?

Is the gap across the top of the door where it meets the top jamb perfectly straight? What we are picturing is a 1/8" gap on top on one side and maybe a 5/8" gap on top on the other. With the latch also being 1/2" low.

If the gap on top of the door is 1/8" all the way across, then the door must be pretty level and plumb, and the strike plate was just mortised in the wrong location in relation to the knob. Or someone drilled the knob too high.

When a door is installed, there should be a 1/8" gap around the entire perimeter of the door. One way to cheat is to install some 1/8" spacers around the entire perimeter of the door (before the door is set into the opening) on the top, sides, bottom. Then when you set the door in the opening, nothing can get out of square. You can then shim between the door and the rough opening and put a few of your fasteners in. Then when you open the door, the 1/8" spacers fall out and you can keep on tweaking the door, putting installation screws in, etc.

It sounds like your door is so screwed up that I might suggest you completely remove it and try that method. It's almost foolproof.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 05:17 AM
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Take a 3 or 4' level and set it on the floor to see how far off it is from Jamb to jamb.
Lift the level until it's in the middle of the bubble and measure from the bottom of the level to the floor.
That's how much should have been removed from one of the jambs so when the door is installed it will square.
If the floors off the whole door will be off.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 08:27 AM
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I just uninstalled the entire door and jambset. There is an 1/8" gap around the entire perimeter of the door between the door and the jambs... Except for the area at the top and bottom of the door. The bottom of the door is obscured by weatherstripping.
  • Top of door has an 1/8" gap between the door top and the jamb near the hinge side.
  • Top of door has a 5/8" gap between the door top and the jamb near the latch side.

If I remove the screws (both long and short) holding the door to the hinges, and then use appropriate 1/8" shims all around between the door and jambs... Should I mount the screws while the door is vertical, or should mount the screws while the door and jambset are on a large flat table?
 
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Old 01-29-14, 09:02 AM
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If you can't lift the latch side jamb, cut off the bottom hinge side jamb 5/8" and reinstall it. That is the only way you will get the equal reveal.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 10:03 AM
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I think it's been mentioned....but the door could have just been made wrong. We occasionally had doors (esp patio) that the jambs were cut wrong. With it uninstalled you can measure everything and make sure it's correct. Why do all the work if the door isn't manufactured right?
 
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Old 01-29-14, 04:55 PM
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This is an exterior door, right? I think some of us are picturing an exterior door and some are picturing an interior door (with no sill).

You said this door was used, right? Why don't you measure the slab of the door and see if someone has cut it. It should measure about 79 7/8" in height on each side. If that checks out, put a framing square on the upper right and left corners of the door and see if the corners of the door are square.

You could also do the same thing to the jamb of the door- check the height of the left jamb and right jamb and see if they are the same. Stranger things have happened.

If I remove the screws (both long and short) holding the door to the hinges, and then use appropriate 1/8" shims all around between the door and jambs... Should I mount the screws while the door is vertical, or should mount the screws while the door and jambset are on a large flat table?
The door should always stay on the hinges the entire time you install it. My suggestion with the shims was this: While the door is prehung... on its hinges with door closed/ in the jamb, insert an 1/8" shim into the gap around the door edge at each corner of the door. 2 shims on each of the 4 corners of the door, so that you force the jamb to be just as square as the door is.

If you try this and you still have a 5/8" gap on the top of the door (nearest the jamb) then there is something seriously wrong with that door. Like someone cut one side of the top off. You should be able to tell if someone cut it by measuring it, like I mentioned above.
 
 

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