How to Fix a Bathroom Door That Won't Latch All the Way

Written by jenny landis-steward
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When your bathroom door doesn't latch all the way, it can be easy to fix. You need to determine the cause of the failure to latch. Maybe the door has warped due to moisture, or the house has settled and the door and strike plate are out of line. It might be that the door has been used so frequently that the hinge screws have loosened. All of these can be fixed with an accurate assessment of the problem and the right tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wooden match sticks
  • Chisel
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Block of wood
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Check the screws in the hinges. When a door is used frequently, the screws can become loose, especially the top hinges. If your hinges are loose, retighten the screws. This is a short-term fix. To have longer-lasting results, remove a screw and place the uncoated end of a wooden matchstick in the screw hole. Break it off at the hole. Reinsert the screw and tighten. Repeat this step for each screw in the hinge. Now see if the door latches. If this has fixed your problem, you can stop here.

  2. 2

    When you close the door, closely watch the strike plate and the lock tongue. The strike plate is the piece of metal on the door jam. When the lock tongue cannot enter the hole in the strike plate the door won't stay closed. You can move the strike plate up, down, in or out to make the necessary adjustment. To move the strike plate up or down, you will need to use a chisel to remove 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch of wood from the door jam so the strike plate can be flush with the door jam after it is screwed in. When you can put the strike plate flush with the door, mark the screw locations with the pencil and drill the new screw holes. Reattach the strike plate to see if the door closes. If it does, you're done.

  3. 3

    The door jam door stop may have moved due to the house settling. When the door stop--the strip of wood in the middle of the door jam--is out of position or warped, it can prevent the latch tongue from reaching the strike plate. Using a block of wood and hammer, adjust the doorstop so the door closes properly.

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