It’s common to have a door in your home that won’t stay closed when you close it, drifting open with the gentlest of breezes. Here’s one way of sorting that out.

That door that you think you’ve closed but drifts open with a creak in the wind? The one you have to really slam to make sure it’s closed? Wouldn’t it be nice to fix it once and for all? It’s really so easy you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it earlier.

Before you do anything else, first check that the latch is extending fully from the lock itself. If it is not, open the lock, clean it and replace it – it’s easy to do. If the lock is fine, move on to the next step.

The most likely problem is that the latch bolt is not going fully into the strike plate (the metal plate on the door frame). Sometimes when this is the case, it is also impossible to lock the door.

Start by placing masking tape over the strike plate and extending it to the inside. Now close the door until you feel that the door is up against the frame. Carefully mark the approximate top and bottom of the latch, as well as the lock.

Now open the door and extend these lines. If the latch and the lock are on the inside of these lines, the top and bottom are aligned and therefore not the problem.

Now have a look at the latch bolt and lock bolts. If they are worn down, it means that they are hitting against the side of the strike plate. That’s an easy fix.

Remove the strike plate and clamp it in a vice. Using a metal file, file the rectangular openings wider, to give more leeway for the bolts to enter. (It’s actually a lot easier to modify the strike plate than it is to move it on the frame. The old screw holes are always a problem in this case.)

When you return the strike plate to the door frame, make sure that there is no timber behind the widened apertures or your work will be to no avail. If there is wood obstructing the openings, chisel it out to the same size as the apertures in the strike plate.

That done, screw the strike plate back into place and test the door – the chances are that it will be now be spot on and you’ll never have that irritating door blowing open every again. If it still doesn’t work, repeat the steps of filing and chiselling for more space on the strike plate.

Small repairs like this one cost very little but make life in your home more pleasant and relaxed, and you learn new skills along the way.

Files, screwdrivers, chisels and everything else you might need for this job, including replacement locks and even doors, are available from Builders, either in-store or online.

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