How to make the door latch engage properly.

You’ll have the best experience installing a Level lock if, before installing, you make sure your door latch engages properly and holds your door in a single closed position. You’ll do this in two parts:

  1. get your latch working correctly, and
  2. get your bolt working correctly (we’ll cover this in a separate article).

Tip: Before you make any adjustments to your door’s deadbolt, make sure your door latch engages properly.

First, let’s take a look at your door.

Do you have to push, pull, or lift your door to get the latch to engage properly?

Does your door:

  • fit well in the frame?
  • drag against the bottom doorjamb?
  • rub on the inside of the frame?
  • stand a consistent distance from the frame, top to bottom, on right and left, and along the top?
  • sag?
  • have more than one resting spot?
  • wiggle when closed?
  • have two different positions for the latch to drop into?

Also check whether:

  • the door corners are flush against the frame.
  • the screws fastening the upper hinge are right.
  • the hinges are in good condition (not worn out or bent).
  • all the hinge pins are fully seated.

Now that you have a sense of the problem areas, you’ll need to use your best judgment on how to fix each problem area. Try these suggestions:

  • use rubber bumpers to create a single resting spot.
  • remove some material from the latch strike plate opening.
  • tighten the hinge screws, or replace them with longer ones so they bite better into the doorjamb.
  • re-chisel the doorjamb cutout, drill new holes, and move the strike plate.
  • insert shims in the hinges to counteract a sag.
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