LESLIE: Jim in Washington is on the line and is having a door issue. What’s going on at your money pit?
JIM: Well, I have actually two doors with similar problems. Gradually, it’s grown worse over the last several years. The door does not fit tightly up against the weatherstripping. And I’ve finally resulted to putting in small wedges. And this is a front door and a door to the garage. To keep it pressed up against there, I have replaced the weatherstripping trice but it still doesn’t get up there tight. What can I do to correct that, outside of replacing the door?
TOM: So, if you close the door and you push it tighter closed, does that make the seal?
JIM: Yes. And that’s why I’ve resorted to …
TOM: So then why didn’t you just replace the – why didn’t you just adjust the lock?
JIM: I don’t know how to do that. I didn’t know you can do that.
TOM: OK. So, basically, what you need to do is – where the lock strike is – OK, a lock strike is the metal plate in the jam, sometimes called a strike plate – you need to move the lock strike closer to the weatherstripping so that the door has to actually shut more before it latches.
TOM: Because you need that weatherstripping to compress a little bit before it latches. Now, does this have a deadbolt on it?
JIM: Yes, it does.
TOM: Well, you could probably just do it with a deadbolt. Sometimes the deadbolt – you just push in the door a little bit, put some pressure on it, then turn the bolt so you kind of create that seal. That would make a lot more sense than trying to wedge it against that. Because that’s exactly what the lock does: it holds it – holds the door tightly closed. So I would adjust the lock and forget about the weatherstripping for the moment. Are these wood jambs with the weatherstripping sort of inserted into a groove?
JIM: Yes. Yes, they are.
TOM: So those pieces of trim with the weatherstripping inserted into it, those usually will come off the door. So another thing to do here is you could take that weatherstripping – those pieces off – and actually move that. It’s, essentially, a piece of trim. Move that closer to the door and reattach it, as well.
So, either way, you need to basically get the door closer to the weatherstripping. The easiest way to do it is just to adjust the lock, though. So you’re adjusting the striker, not the lockset. You’re adjusting the strike: that metal plate that’s in the door jamb.
JIM: OK. And because, naturally, that’s screwed into there, do I just fill the old screw hole with …?
TOM: No. What you do here is you unscrew it. You pull it out, right? And then you move the strike plate closer by a ¼-inch or whatever gap you have to close, OK? You’ll probably have to notch out the door jamb to fit the new one. Then look at how the holes line up. You may be moved over far enough where you actually will have a shot at making a brand-new hole and you can ignore the old one.
If you can’t, what you want to do is take a small piece of wood. I usually use pieces of cedar shingles. I put a little glue on them, I shove them in the old screw hole, break them off flushed to kind of create a wood plug and then you can drive a new screw next to it.
JIM: Fantastic. Alright. I think I will try that first. And if that doesn’t work, then I’ll try moving the trim.
TOM: OK. Good luck, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.