Smart Locks are more popular than ever and the new Nest Yale Lock combines security, convenience, and beautiful design. But to make sure your lock performs properly it’s super important to get the smart lock installation and the door alignment just right. Today we’re going to show you how to do both.
Why Door Alignment is Important
First, let’s talk about door alignment. If you’ve ever had to jiggle a key to get a door to close, you know how a door’s alignment can affect that lock’s performance. With a Smart Lock, locking and unlocking a door is hands free. So doors that aren’t properly adjusted will affect how that lock performs. With a Smart Lock if the door isn’t properly aligned the lock can bind and shorten its battery life.
Effects of Weather on Smart Lock Door Alignment
Now weather can also have an effect. Warm and humid weather can cause a door to swell, and colder weather can cause the door to contract. That’s why even a lock that works when you first put it in can begin to have problems. Now it’s not that the lock isn’t working, it’s that the door isn’t aligned. The good news is that adjusting your door for smart lock installation and alignment isn’t hard. We’ll show you a few tricks of the trade that can help you get it just right.
Installing a New Smart Lock
First, let’s get this old key lock out and the new Smart Lock installed. Smart Lock installation is pretty easy and the steps are all laid out in the instruction book that comes with the lock. Now you can also use the BILT app that features 3D animated step-by-step instructions to walk you right through the process.
Now that we’ve got our new Smart Lock installed it’s time to check the door’s alignment. Doors take a lot of wear and tear. Now if you door isn’t lined up properly there’s really only two ways to fix it. You either move the door or you move the strike plate. Both are a lot easier than they sound.
How to Check Door Alignment
First, let me show you a trick of the trade to show you why your door may not be locking properly. Now if the deadbolt is hitting the strike plate, it’s kind of hard to figure out exactly where it’s hitting and how you may need to adjust the door or adjust the strike plate. But here’s the trick of the trade. You can use lipstick. You can use a grease pencil. You can use a Sharpie. What you’re going to do is you’re going to use your lipstick to mark the deadbolt. And then when you close it a few times into the jam you’ll see exactly where things aren’t lining up correctly for your smart lock installation.
You can hear it hitting the strike plate and hitting the jam. Then just open the door and the lipstick is going to show you exactly where the deadbolt is hitting. Since the mark is below the strike that means the door is sagging. So let’s talk about how to fix that.
How to Repair a Sagging Door
Now remember when I said you either move the door or you move the strike. Well in this case, it’s pretty easy to move the door. What we’re going to do is we’re going to put a shim behind the bottom hinge and hopefully that will do everything to lift the door back into alignment.
We’re going to make our own shim for this hinge out of a piece of aluminum flashing, but you can head to your local home center and you can find a pre-made plastic shim for a hinge right there so you don’t have to do this. But if you want to, this is how we’ll do it. We’re going to trace the hinge right on the aluminum. Make sure you get the place where you need to drill the holes for the screws.
All right. That should fix the sagging. Let’s give it a check. Perfect. That fixed it.
How to Adjust the Door Forward or Backward
So now that we’ve talked about how to fix a sag in your door, lets talk about what happens when you do your lipstick test and you end up with a mark on either the inside or the outside of the strike plate. If that happens and you don’t have a mark on the top or bottom like we had before but you have one on the inside or the outside, that means that your door needs to be adjusted either forward or backwards to complete the smart lock installation.
So now in this case our lipstick mark is here. It looks like the deadbolt is hitting the inside edge of the strike plate. Now we could simply move the strike plate back a little bit and adjust the hole inside, but it’s actually a better idea to move the door itself forward. Now a trick of the trade here for your smart lock installation is in the lower strike plate, here, there’s actually a little tab on the inside edge here. Take a screwdriver and you put it right into this little tab. Apply a little bit of pressure and that’s going to move the tab forward. What that does is it actually moves the door forward and hopefully our deadbolt will align them and everything will close perfectly.
Now if adjusting the tab on the lower strike plate wasn’t enough to get your door into alignment or you find that your issue is the deadbolt was striking on the outside edge of this lower strike plate, what you can do is simply remove the strike plate itself and then adjust it either forward or backward to get your door into alignment.
Tip: How to Avoid Strike Plate Screws from Going into Old Holes
Now here’s a great smart lock installation trick. If you’ve ever had to move a strike plate but you see that your new hole is going to be way too close to the old one and if you go ahead and drill that new hole and put the screw in and it just pulls the plate back to the old position. Take some toothpicks, dip them in some wood glue and then you want to go ahead and put them into the old screw hole. Let it dry and then break them off and you’ll be able to start a brand new hole exactly where you need it.
So as we’ve shown you when installing your new Smart Lock, it’s just as important to make sure that your door is properly aligned. If you do that you’ll have years of trouble free enjoyment with your new Smart Lock.