Repositioning a Strike Plate

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Metal strike plates installed in door frames must be situated directly across from the latch for the door to close and lock properly. If the strike plate is crooked or the mounting screws become loose, the door may stick, the lock may not engage and the door may not close all the way. Unless the door frame is damaged, fixing the problem typically only requires removing and adjusting the placement of the strike plate.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Electric screwdriver or drill with Phillips screwdriver bit
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Wood filler
  • Replacement trim screws
  • Examine the strike plate and note whether the screws are loose, if the plate moves around or if it has shifted from its original position.

  • Open and close the door and check whether the latch is aligned properly with the center of the strike plate. Determine which direction the strike plate needs to move in order for the latch to hit the center of the hole in the plate.

  • Close the door almost completely and examine where the latch hits the strike plate. Mark a spot on the frame directly across from the center of the latch. This is the level at which the center of the opening in the strike plate should be positioned.

  • Remove the strike plate trim screws with a Phillips screwdriver and remove the plate. Purchase replacement screws one size larger than the originals. They will still fit through the screw holes in the plate but will catch in the smaller hole in the wood in the event the original screws no longer tighten.

  • Mark the center of the screw holes if the plate has moved too far to use the existing holes. Fit an electric drill with a bit one size smaller than the strike plate mounting screws and drill a pilot hole through each mark.

  • Chisel the edge of the strike plate opening to make it slightly larger in whatever direction the plate needs to move. Replace the plate with the original screws and test the door. Adjust as necessary until the door latches properly.

  • Remove the original screws and replace them with the larger size if the original screws feel loose. Fill in any gaps around the plate with wood filler.

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References

  • Windows and Doors; Ron Hazelton, et al.
  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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