How to fix a bedroom door that won't latch shut

Updated February 21, 2017

Check the bedroom door hinges and strike plate before you go out and purchase a new door or doorknob because the current one fails to latch. Sometimes with use, a door shifts. Readjusting the door's parts ensures that the door remains operable over a long period of time. Anyone can perform this quick fix that requires no special tools or knowledge. Within just 20 minutes, your bedroom door will close and stay closed.

Use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten all the screws that secure the hinges to both the bedroom door and jamb. These screws can loosen, which causes the door to fall slightly forward and throws off the latch's alignment with the strike plate.

Remove the screws that hold the strike plate to the door jamb and look at it closely to see where the latch hits. You should notice a rub line on the strike plate's surface. If the rub line appears above the latch plate's hole, the hole's top portion needs to be extended to accommodate the latch. Extend the bottom of the latch plate's hole if the rub line is below the hole.

Hold the strike plate so the end that needs to be extended points up. Wrap a rag around the strike plate's bottom end -- the end you are not extending -- and place it into a vice.

Rub a metal file back and forth across the hole's top edge, to extend it. This makes the hole longer than it was. Once you have extended the hole, set the strike plate back on the jamb and trace the hole with a pencil. Set the strike plate aside.

Place a 1/2-inch chisel in the strike plate's outline, against the portion of door jamb which extended past the strike plate's hole. Gently tap the chisel's handle with a hammer to drive it through the door jamb and remove that small section to the same depth as the rest of the hole.

Place the strike plate back on the door jamb. Secure it in place with the screws you removed in Step 2. Close the door and check that the latch catches in the strike plate's hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Rag
  • Vice
  • Metal file
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author