DIY Home Improvement

How to Fix a Door That Won’t Close

May 10, 2017

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Last Updated on June 18, 2020

Do you need to fix a door that won't close? Chances are it's a problem with the position of your strike plate. Learn how to reposition your strike plate!

Thank you to Mohawk Consumer Products for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own based on my experience with the products used.

Have you ever updated your door hardware only to find that your door won't latch after you install the new strike plate? Or have you ever had doors that refuse to close and latch for any reason? Well, today I'm going to teach you how to fix a door that won't close and it's EASY!

When a door latch won’t catch, it is usually because the door latch doesn’t align with the hole in the strike plate. If you aren't sure whether or not that is the problem, use a tube of lipstick to mark the tip of the door latch. Then close the door and take a look at where the lipstick transfers onto the strike plate. It the lipstick doesn't quite reach the hole in the strike plate, you know you have an alignment issue.

If the latch is too high or too low, try tightening your door's hinges. If your door still won't close after that, remove one of the screws on the jamb side of the hinge and drive in a 3-in. screw–it will help pull in the whole doorjamb. To raise the latch, use the long screw at the top hinge; to lower the latch, use the long screw at the bottom hinge.

When we recently installed new door hardware in our twin girls' rooms, our issue wasn't that the latch was too high or too low, so the hinges had nothing to do with it. Our issue was that the new strike plate sat just a smidge too far forward. But we ran into a problem since we only needed to move it a tiny bit. To drive new screws so close to the old screw holes was just going to create one giant hole that the screw would not be able to grab hold of. So, we basically needed for wood to regenerate in our door frame, lol. Sadly, wood regeneration doesn't exist, but we found a solution! Read on to learn how to do it yourself. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience–if you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, I will earn a small commission to help keep this blog running but it won't cost you a penny more! Click here to read my full disclosure policy

How to Reposition a Strike Plate and Drill Fresh Holes That Work

Materials needed:

  • Mohawk Epoxy Putty Stick (I used white, but it comes in a variety of colors–choose a color that is as close to your trim color as possible)
  • A leveler card or old credit card
  • A small dish of soapy water
  • A sharp knife
  • Lip gloss or lipstick

Steps: 

I recommend watching the video tutorial and then reading the steps below. The video will show you the entire process from start to finish. It will play after a brief ad :)

1) Mix a small amount of liquid soap into about 2 ounces of water.

2) Cut a small piece of your Epoxy Putty Stick off and knead it with your fingers until the color is totally uniform.  You will feel it getting warm in your fingers.  If it starts sticking to your fingers, dip your fingers in the soapy water and continue to knead.  Know that the working life of the epoxy is short–it's only about 6 minutes after mixing.

3) Once the color is totally uniform, push the epoxy putty into the old screw holes with your fingers.  If needed, use a leveler card or old credit card to remove any part of the epoxy putty that protrudes higher than the surface of the wood.  If the epoxy begins sticking to the card or your fingers, just rub the epoxy lightly with the soapy water mixture.

4)  Allow the filled area to cure for at least 20 minutes. Here's the cool part–the epoxy putty is made from a RESIN and HARDENER, making it the perfect moldable putty for filling large holes and broken corners. Surfaces may be sanded, drilled, stained or painted after application. And the epoxy putty surface is even harder than wood! So you drive new screws into it after you make the repair and the surface is even stronger than the original wood was!

5) After the epoxy putty cures, go ahead and position the strike plate and screw it in. We like to put lipstick or lipgloss on the edge of the door catch and then close the door so that it makes a mark to let you know exactly where to place the strike plate.

That's it! Super easy fix for when you have a door that won't close!

 

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