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How to Adjust a Strike Plate

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door strike plates,strike plates

Contrary to the doom and gloom in every nightly news report, the latest FBI statistics show that crime rates are actually falling, which means now is as good a time as any to adjust that wonky door strike plate.

Wondering whether you even need to do this? The answer is “yes” if you have to pull really hard (grrrr!) to get your door to close and/or lock, or if you’re losing heat from between the door and the weather stripping. If you have to pull hard it means your door strike plate is too close to the jamb, and if you’re losing heat it means it’s too far away.

Now, there are two ways we can do this when working with wooden doorframes: the easy way, or the hard way. It all depends on how out of whack your strike plate is.

The Easy Way

The easy way, for those occasions when the strike plate is only a wee bit off the mark, is to loosen the screws, knock the plate in the direction you need it to go with a hammer and, while held in the new position, retighten the screws.

Tip: Don’t hit the strike plate directly with the hammer. Use a piece of wood that will allow you to a) get a better angle on the inside lip of the plate and b) not damage it with the hammer.

The Hard Way

The hard way involves a chisel, which you will need to use to widen the mortise (the hole) in which the bolt and/or lock seats when you close the door. In this case, you need to remove the strike plate completely, chisel out the hole in the desired direction to the width and depth required, and remount the strike plate.

Tip: If you have to move the plate a significant amount, you may find that one or more of your screw holes now floats over the open mortise, or open air. If so, you have a few options: You can 1) drill out a new screw hole in the plate, 2) buy a new door strike plate, or 3) …

… call in a locksmith to clean up the mess. Good luck!

This top-selling strike plate from First Watch Security comes in two finishes and works with all door thicknesses. 

In the event you have multiple jobs, First Watch Security sells twin packs of this popular strike plate, which comes in five finish options. 

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