Find out how to fix a door that won't close properly. Get tips on tightening the hinges and resetting the striker plate.
LESLIE: Al in Texas has got a house that tends to move a lot. Now you can’t close your darn doors. Tell us what’s going on, Al.
AL: Well, you know, here in this part – side of town – our soils are not very good and they tend to shift all the time.
AL: So it’s a constant battle with the doors not locking properly. And so my question has to do with – there’s a male and a female side and so, should I change – adjust the door or do I need to go to the female side to adjust that so that the door locks properly?
TOM: The place you make the adjustment, Al, really depends on what’s the easiest way to do this, so let me give you a couple of examples.
Let’s say that the door itself was hitting the door jamb  a little bit low and you had to pick it up a bit? Well, if you went to the upper hinge and was able to tighten it, that will actually sort of twist the door upwards in its frame and move that striker up higher, perhaps enough to actually make the connection on the strike plate. And if you had to move it down, you could tighten the lower hinge. So you can do a little bit of movement by shimming the hinges or moving the hinges or tightening the hinges in the door .
Beyond that, the easiest thing to do is to actually reset the striker plate on the door jamb itself, to move that up or down to align properly with the door itself. And you could actually have a striker that’s a little bit wider than perhaps what you really need, in terms of the actual striker hole, so that if the door was to shift a little bit throughout the year because of swelling and expansion and contraction, it would still continue to operate properly. Does that make sense?
AL: It does. Now, let me ask you one last thing. On the – not on the door but on the other side, would I need to change that piece of wood? And why I say that is because, typically, that little metal piece is actually almost encrusted onto the wood. I mean there’s always like a little square and if it’s like perfectly in there, would I need to replace all of that or could I just maybe …?
TOM: Not necessarily replace it but what you would do is you might open it up a little bit. So for example, you would take off the striker and then with the chisel, you would widen out the hole a little bit and then you would put it back together.
AL: That makes sense.
AL: Thanks very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Al. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.