dead bolt and lock tight unless screws are way loose

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  #1  
Old 11-28-15, 01:50 PM
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dead bolt and lock tight unless screws are way loose

i have this issue on ONE of my doors. no others. started with regular door lock: if i tighten the screws enough that the knob is tight to the door, the locking mechanism is so tight i can barely turn it. i thought it was a bad door knob, so i changed it, and no difference. so today i installed a new dead bolt from scratch. drilled new holes in door and in jamb, all new installation. and the same damn thing! in order to get the dead bolt to be turnable (which is prolly not a word but should be), i have to loosen up the screws so much that the mechanism is literally hanging loose on the door.

specs: standard foam core steel exterior door. 2 3/4" width.

thanks!
 
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Old 11-28-15, 02:02 PM
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Make sure the bolt is in the upright position. It will have an arrow on it pointing "up". Installing it upside down will cause a binding when the screws are tightened. Make sure, also that your bolt plate is recessed into the divot, and not just on the surface.
 
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Old 11-28-15, 04:11 PM
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If this is a hollow core door or foam filled door, the skin of the door may have been pinched or crushed by the screws. Many doors come with a "C" shaped piece of sheet metal (or plastic) that prevents this from happening. I have seen a lpt of guys remove this sheet metal (or plastic), thinking it serves no purpose. But it's what prevents the door from becoming distorted when the screws are tightened.
 
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Old 11-28-15, 09:44 PM
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I'm assuming by "width" you mean thickness, and meant to say 1-3/4", which is standard for exterior doors. Most residential locks will tolerate thicknesses down to 1-1/4" (interior doors are generally 1-3/8") so even with a little reduction in thickness on a 1-3/4" door as you tighten the screws, there should be no binding , as long as the bolt mechanism is properly centered (in all 3 dimensions) in the crossbore hole.

Hopefully you didn't buy the cheapest of the cheap, as they can be of unpredictable quality and sometimes bind even when installed correctly.

Ditto Chandler's advice. There's not always an arrow to go by, so generally on deadbolts, the bolt is inserted into the door's edge such that the slot that accepts the cylinder's actuating bar is on the bottom, not the top, and the key cylinder is installed so that the key is inserted "teeth up". To insure the actuating bar is "timed" correctly, most instructions have you place the bolt in the extended position before you insert the bar.

The knob lock issue may depend on the style/brand you have. Some have peculiarities to be aware of to prevent binding. Make sure the lock is set to the correct backset for the door.

Also, any deadbolt will work smoother if you put a dab of grease on the bolt's throw-cam before installing the cylinder/thumbturn. Many times they come from the factory dry as a bone.
 
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Old 11-29-15, 05:23 AM
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He probably meant backset.
 
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Old 12-08-15, 07:35 AM
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thanks guys. i'm not entirely sure what i meant on the 2 3/4". i think i meant thickness of door and it was a typo. whatever.

anyhow, it's definitely not upside down, and even if it were that wouldn't explain why it's a problem with both the lock and the deadbolt. i'm leaning toward the door being pinched. i was thinking of maybe rigging up some kind of metal or wooden ring - like a big washer - to go on both sides of the hole to firm it up. i'm thinking if i paint the same color as the door it won't really be noticeable. does that sound like it'll work?

just trying to wrap my mind around what the actual cause is. i'm thinking that if the door skin is not firm enough, when i tighten the screws the bolt mechanism is getting torqued offline and friction with the hole in the edge of the doorframe binds it.

but then again, i don't see how that would affect turning the lock button on the know. aw crap, i don't get it. sigh.
 
  #7  
Old 12-08-15, 02:16 PM
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Like I mentioned earlier... if you remove your handle and deadbolt (and both latches), look to see if there is a spacer (shaped like a C) between the skin of the door. If it's not there, you can make one. Get sheet metal, cut a strip about 1 1/2" wide and 3 1/2" long. Bend it into the shape of a "C". (Approximate the size of a 2" diameter hole) It will have a gap where the latch sticks through the bore. (Thus a "C", not an "O") Insert that between the skin panels of the door so that when you tighten your lockset screws, it doesn't want to crush the door.
 
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Old 12-08-15, 08:00 PM
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What is the thickness of your door as measured at the edge? At least 95% of all exterior residential doors installed in the last 75 years are 1-3/4". All residential locks are designed to accommodate interior doors as well, which have typically been 1-3/8". If your door is 1-3/8" and it tends to "pinch" together then that will be your problem. A 1-3/4" door would have to collapse at least 3/8" which can happen, if the foam interior has already been crushed.

You might try a little experiment: assemble both locks in your hand, to determine how far you can tighten the screws (make sure they're even) before the locks begin to bind as you operate them. Measure the space between the rose plates. You should begin to see binding at about 1-1/8" altho some brands won't go less than 1-1/4".

Now count the turns it requires to unscrew them. (Average any differences between the two). Assemble the locks onto the door again and see how many turns you get before binding occurs. That way you'll know if indeed the door is crushing to the point the locks were binding in your hand as well. If you start binding well before reaching the number of turns it took in your hand, then you've got something else going on.

If you discover the door is indeed crushing enough to cause binding, and don't want to try a home-made solution, your local locksmith can provide you with a plastic spacer designed to slip into the hole and prevent crushing. They are available for both standard door thicknesses. In addition, You can get so-called "goof-rings" from your smithy which, like your washer idea, will space the roses out a bit. Also the use a "wrap-around" plate or sleeve will increase the thickness slightly and strengthen it. Both the goof rings and sleeves are available in brushed chrome, bright brass, and antique brass finishes.

Of the 3 ideas, the plastic insert would probably be the cheapest and simplest.
 
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