Using a rotary tool
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Photo 1: Widen latch opening
Shave off the inside of the strike plate with a rotary tool and a
metal-cutting carbide bit. Remove a small amount and test the
latch by closing the door. Continue removing metal until the door
As a house settles, doorknob latches and strike plates sometimes
become misaligned, so doors won't latch shut. Usually you have to
push the door in, and either pull up or press down on the doorknob
in order to get the latch to catch in the strike plate.
If the movement has been slight,
there's a very simple fix for the problem.
Instead of moving the strike plate, simply
slightly enlarge the latch opening in
the strike plate as shown above. A
rotary tool does this quickly and easily.
Use a carbide-cutting bit specifically
designed for metal cutting.
Judge the part of the strike plate that
needs grinding by testing when the
latch catches. If you have to push down on the doorknob, then the top
of the strike plate hole needs grinding. If the door has to be pushed in,
then grind the outside edge of the strike plate hole.
You don't want the latch slopping around inside a huge opening, so
don't grind away half the strike plate. Remove small amounts of metal
and then test the door. Repeat until the door latch effortlessly
catches the strike plate.
Grinding metal can
throw sparks and fragments
into the air, so
wear safety glasses
with side shields, or full
goggles when grinding.
Otherwise, use a small