Successive Approximations

Fixing the Door

Tonight's project was a lesson in the problem not being what you thought it was. A few months ago, the front door started "catching" when we went to close the deadbolt. You had to pull the door tight to get the deadbolt to close smoothly.

I thought it might just be the house settling or the door frame shifting, but Steph pointed out the house is almost 20 years old. It shouldn't be settling that much anymore.

Regardless, I set out the other night to pull the deadbolt apart and see what I could see about why the bolt was no longer cleanly going into the strike plate.

After 30 minutes of futzing and trying to rearrange the bolt to come out at what I thought was a more straight angle, I just happened to look down and see that the deadlatch had broken off at some point.

New latch installed at left, old broken latch at right. Sorry for the blurry photo.

My first thought was that maybe someone had tried to force the door while we were out one day and had bent the lock in the process, causing the deadbolt problem to start.

Steph's solution was much simpler: that deadlatch pushed the door that much more closed and without it the deadbolt wasn't quite lining up with the strike plate the right way anymore.

So a new one was ordered off Amazon and installed tonight. Immediately fixed the problem. I almost overlooked the issue because 1) I was looking at the wrong part of the lock and 2) it required noticing that something was plain missing, not that it was obviously broken.

(Sorry for the blurry photo. It looked good on my phone when I took it, but I was ready to put the tools away and get on with the evening and didn't look too close.)

Ben Berry

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