door strike plateA door strike plate is the curved piece of metal that the door button contacts and latches into. If you have a door strike plate that is loose or too tight, you can repair it so that it does its job.

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If the door latch is loose, use a screwdriver and tighten it. If the screws don’t tighten it, use longer screws so that they contact new wood or even contact the framing behind the jamb.

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If the door strike is too tight, it is likely that it was placed on the outside of the jamb without mortising it to be flush with the jamb. You can trace around the strike plate with a pencil and then remove the plate. Use a hammer and chisel and remove some wood inside the trace line. You want to remove only enough wood so that the strike plate sits flush with the surface of the jamb. This will be a pattern of removing wood, test the fit and repeat. Once you have the surfaces flush, you can screw the strike plate to the jamb.

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If the door doesn’t latch in the strike plate, it may be that the gap between the door and the jamb is too great. It’s not likely that you can make up the distance with shims behind the strike plate, rather you will have to move the jamb. This is more involved as you need to remove the door molding and goose out the jamb. You can add shims in between the jamb and framing and nail through the entire surface, then reinstall the moldings.

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