A door without the locking mechanism is just a piece of wood. The privacy a person needs is provided by the well bolted and locked door. So, a lock is not an accessory but a necessity. So, here are some methods to fix a door that won’t lock. With the right tools and some small DIYs, this is an easy job.
Methods To Repair A Door Lock That Won’t Lock
There are many reasons why the lock won’t work. Here are some DIYs that can help you if your door won’t lock. But we advise you to see a locksmith if the lock is completely damaged.
Total Time: 35 minutes
Step 1: Determine The Problem
The first step in solving the door lock problem is determining where exactly the problem is. Make sure to check the latches, the bolts, and the hinges. If the latch doesn’t fit in the plate or a sagged plate can also cause a problem. Make sure to cross-check the alignment issues.
Step 2: Assess The Hinges
One of the main reasons the door won’t lock is the hinges. Using a screwdriver check all the hinges. Make sure to tighten the loose hinges. Those hinges should be in level with the plumb measurements. So make sure to tighten them accordingly.
You can also try replacing the hinges if they are damaged. Make sure to place and fix the replaced hinge in the correct position. You can try to use a longer hinge so that it gets correctly aligned with the screws. You can adjust the height of the latch by lowering and heightening the hinge according to your convenience.
Step 3: Push The Strike Plate Down
The latch won’t align properly if the strike plate is at a higher level. This is a very common problem in the case of latched doors. You can use a chisel and a hammer to gently hit it in the downward direction. After doing it a couple of times, it will significantly lower the strike plate. This will ensure that the latch fits right.
Step 4: Enlarge The Strike Plate Hole
The latch won’t fit for smaller holes. So, you need to slightly enlarge them. First, you can use a screwdriver to loosen the screws. Then using a file through the hole start filing it against the lower lip. A constant forward and a backward file will increase the hole. Finally, you can re-bolt the strike plate after aligning the holes.
Step 5: Reposition The Strike Plate
If pushing the strike plate down doesn’t help, you can try repositioning the plate. Try changing the place so that it gets aligned correctly. But cross-check that the latch is in working condition and the strike plate is faulty.
Remove the screws using a screwdriver and mark the new position correctly. Then you can fix it again and see if the lock works.
Step 6: Mark The New Position
While marking the new position for the strike plate make sure to check for overlap. Overlapping will make the hole larger and the screw won’t fir. So, mark the new hole above and below the previous one with a certain clearance. Use a pencil for marking the new position.
Mark the holes exactly right, use the screw holes on the strike plate. This will act as a template for the new one and assist in drilling. For better accuracy, you can also use the base of the strike plate for alignment. This will give you maximum accuracy.
Step 7: Fill In The Old Screw Holes
This step is a precautionary step to prevent screws from going in those holes. You would just require a small amount of wood filler and a putty knife. Use the knife and add some wood filler to those old screw holes. Make sure that this is completely dry before starting the next steps.
The wood filler can be substituted with glued toothpicks. Use can use superglue to glue the toothpicks together. All you are left to do is insert the toothpicks in the holes. You can repeat the same procedure for the lower screw hole. Lastly, trim off the excess from the toothpicks using a utility knife.
Step 8: Prepare The New Screw Holes For Drilling
Using a hammer make a small hole on the markings you made with pencils. This will act as a guide to the drilling bit. Increase the depth of the hole where you want new screws. Then you can use the drilling machine with a smaller drill diameter to make the holes.
Make sure to start gently and follow the holes that you made. Attach the larger size now and follow the holes. To get the correct hole size make sure to gradually increase the size of the drill bit. This will increase efficiency.
Step 9: Cut Out A New Lower Edge For The Strike Plate
Earlier you marked the bottom line of the strike plate. This marking is useful in this step. You have to chisel out the extra strike plate. This will make space for the new repositioning of the strike plate. Using a knife gently start cutting on the marked line.
We have to remove the excess piece of wood along the line for the strike plate. You have to use the knife multiple times to create a small dent in the wood. This will act as a guideway for the tip of the chisel. So, make sure that the knife-cut wood is deep enough.
Then with a chisel and a hammer remove the excess wood using the guideway. Here carefully chisel so that you don’t damage the door jamb. After removing the wood, chisel to create a clean wedge.
Step 10: Install The Strike Plate
After all this, all you are left to do is the installation. This can be done using the screwdriver. Tighten the screws correctly and make sure that each of them is placed in their new slots. Close the door and see if the latch works properly.
- Utility Knife
- Drilling Machine
- Putty Knife
- Wood Filler
How Much Does It Cost To Fix Door Lock?
Since most of the lock fixing is DIY you wouldn’t have to pay much. The only cost is for the tools. Even after all the process, your door lock won’t fix properly, you would need a locksmith. This will probably cost you anywhere between $25 to $50. This depends on how much work the latch or lock needs. If the damage is excess, it would probably cost more. This depends on the assessment, repair, or replacement of the lock and the amount of labor invested for the job. For customized latches and locks the cost would be even higher than $100.
A properly latched door is essential due to security and privacy reasons. In case of a door lock that doesn’t function properly, you can try the above steps. With just some basic tools found in the garage, you can get a latched door. Do let us know if these DIYs worked for you or not.