Continuing in our series of fixing common issues with your internal doors, this week we’ll be looking at issues with your door’s locks. Even if you don’t count yourself as a particularly private person, there’s always at least one room in your house that will require a sturdy lock on your internal door, possibly even several. Security in private spaces is one thing, but someone walking in while you’re going about your morning business in the bathroom (if you catch our drift) is quite another! Right then, we won’t beat around the bush – let’s get to it!
As we’ve just touched upon, there are certain rooms in our house that we don’t want open to all and sundry. Come to think of it, the bathroom is a great example. Now, bathrooms tend to be fitted more often with white primed doors rather than oak internal doors, but colour aside, a decent lock is always high up on the priority list of key features!
You might often find that lock problems arise shortly after you’ve just performed another repair or adjustment. Don’t worry, there’s a reason for it – it’s not just Murphy’s Law! Occasionally, making minor alterations like adjusting the door hinges can result in the door’s latch becoming out of line with the strike plate, which can sometimes end up in difficulty properly locking the door. Private places like bedrooms and studies might be less of a problem, but where bathrooms are concerned you’ll probably never want to take the risk! So, what should you do first if your internal door won’t lock properly?
You’ve got a couple of options right off the bat. If you think the alignment might be off by just a few millimetres, you should be able to sort things out by simply enlarging the cut-out of the strike plate with a metal file, to allow more room for the latch to move through it. If you’re not quite following, basically a central element of the strike plate is one big hole through the centre, which the door latch moves through to lock the door. What you’re doing is simply making that hole bigger.
If that’s not working for you, you may find it necessary to remove the strike plate, which is a slightly more involved process. We’ll break it down for you.
1. Remove the strike plate
What you can do is fairly limited with the strike plate still in place, so firstly you’ll need to remove it, which you can do by taking out the screws.
2. Work out where the problem area is
Next, rub the latch with some pencil, soft chalk or other soft substance, then open and close it a couple of times. Now, take a look at the door frame. The chalk should have rubbed off slightly on the frame, letting you know where the latch currently sits.
3. Enlarge the area
Use a pencil to definitively mark the location of the latch, and then use a chisel to enlarge the area in line with where it should be. Plug the original screw holes for the strike plate, ideally with wooden pegs so that you’re left with a smooth vertical surface that’s all roughly the same material.
4. Drill new holes for the strike plate
Make sure that your drill bit is the appropriate size, and then drill in the new holes for the strike plate. Then it’s just a matter of putting it back on. Voila – your door should now lock with no problems!
This post should give you a pretty good plan of action for sorting out problems locking your door – but if you’re still not sure about the process, or it’s your first time tackling a bit of DIY, our friendly members of staff are only too happy to help! You can find them in any of our three DIY stores across the North West – in Wigan, Preston and Blackpool. Don’t hesitate to pop by, and take a look at our vast range of our pre finished doors while you’re here! Couldn’t hurt to look, could it?