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When my windows are open, the wind can slam the bathroom door shut. I don't want this to happen when my cat is in the doorway (dead cat), or inside the bathroom with no one home (locked in with nowhere to pee). I want the door fully closeable when someone is using the bathroom though.

Right now I have a book as a door stop, but it is easy to forget to put it back in place. Anything else that needs to be enabled manually (like those door stop things that swing down) is also no good.

I want a way to keep the door ajar by at least a few inches unless someone is inside and manually overrides it, but then after they open the door it resets and failsafe holds it open again. I'm imagining some kind of spring-loaded arm with a rubber foot attached to the door, but there might be a no-brainer solution I'm not thinking of.

In other words, a person can disengage the stop in order to close the door, but as soon as they open the door enough to leave the room, the stop is engaged again automatically.

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Great question, I am curious what the community will suggest. I have a similar "problem" with my bedroom door that I do not want to get closed by the open window when my dog is alone. –  auujay Jul 21 '11 at 20:30
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Train your cat to use the toilet? –  Doresoom Jul 21 '11 at 22:21
    
@Doresoom: Supposedly that kills sea otters or something. –  endolith Feb 13 '13 at 0:41
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13 Answers

up vote 25 down vote accepted

What about a magnetic door stop combined with a stay open spring hinge?

Such as this one from Home Hardware

Found on google image

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+1 for beating me to the exact same answer. –  BMitch Jul 21 '11 at 20:34
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This requires you to open the door all the way so that it meets the magnet, though –  endolith Jul 21 '11 at 20:50
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@endolith: If there is space in the frame, you can throw your door slightly out of plumb with a washer behind the hinge. Then when it's a little open, it will fall all the way open to the magnetic stop. –  BMitch Jul 22 '11 at 13:17
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Add this and spring loaded hinges and I think it's a solution. –  Stephen Jul 22 '11 at 13:29
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I installed one of these on our bedroom door that had a habit of self-closing, and found it was really loud when it engaged. It also took quite a lot of force on the knob to break free, to the point that the door would visibly twist. We fixed both problems by sticking a little felt disc meant for furniture legs into the magnetic cup. Still plenty of pull to keep the door open but much quieter and easier to disengage. –  Mike Powell Nov 29 '11 at 6:25
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How about putting a spring on the hinges of the door?

As long as it's not a massively strong spring, the width of the door will provide plenty of leverage for even a small child to properly close the door. And the hinge plates themselves will provide a good surface for the spring ends to push against without damaging the rest of the door, the door frame, or walls.

Make sure the spring is not too weak though, or a gust of wind could still shut the door. Hopefully even a weak spring would cushion the blow so it wouldn't kill a cat in the doorway.

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Wow ... a remarkably simple solution, I'll put away my bin of power tools and go sit on the couch now :-) –  Stephen Jul 21 '11 at 22:45
    
@Stephen: That's why I asked the question. My ideas seemed too elaborate. –  endolith Oct 26 '11 at 15:21
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Try thinking outside the box: instead of coming up with some kind of contraption to keep the door ajar, why not just install a cat flap?

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alternative solutions are welcome, but I'm not installing a cat flap :) –  endolith Jul 22 '11 at 1:04
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this is thinking a bit too far outside the box. :) –  Jeff Atwood Jul 22 '11 at 1:39
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If the door is heavy enough and (e.g. solid wood) and its possible to fit them, then Falling hinges might be an elegant solution.

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There are loads of Automatic door stops available, you're bound to find one that suits your needs.

Or you could convert the door to a Pocket Door, but that might be a bit too much work.

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I had this exact problem (cat would shut herself in the bathroom because she's too stupid to know how to pull the door open), and I solved it for $7 with weather stripping I bought from Home Depot:

enter image description here

It is 5/16" thick and 5/8" wide. I ran it vertically along the inside of the door jam right in the hinges, so when the door closes, the hinge plates compress the rubber. The rubber acts as a spring and if my 12 pound cat pushes the door closed a little, it just bounces open about a foot -- enough room for her to get out. If a human pushes it closed, it only takes a little extra force to close it all the way. This is way easier and cheaper than replacing hinges, etc, and you can install it in 10 seconds.

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This is a great idea. I never found the right spring hinges. This seems much easier to implement. I would guess that the springiness of the foam gets ruined after a while, though? She's smart enough to open a door if it has a pull-down handle with something attached for her to grab onto and put her weight onto. :D –  endolith Feb 5 '13 at 15:54
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How much height clearance do you have? You might be able to rig a simple hold-open latch by fashioning a hook and ramp out of wood, hinging it to the wall above the door and suspending it with a string. I'll see if I can come up with a simple picture.

Simple hold-open latch

A short length of framing 2x4, some screws and hardware, a little DIY woodworking skill and a dash of paint, and you're styling.

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I am imagining something that would work, not sure if it's the same as what you're saying. it would require you to lift a piece of wood as you close the door, and after you open it, the wood falls back into place to stop it from closing all the way. –  endolith Jul 21 '11 at 20:51
    
That's exactly what I was thinking of; see picture. I'm sure you could find something like this pre-made, or you can make one with a few hand tools and some wood. –  KeithS Jul 21 '11 at 20:53
    
That's not what I was imagining when I read the description. :) That's similar to the magnetic door stop, in that you have to open it all the way to engage the stop. I was imagining something that drops down from the door frame (not the wall behind the open door) to stop it from closing all the way, and you lift it up in order to get the door fully closed. –  endolith Jul 21 '11 at 20:58
    
You could do that as well, but it'd have to be pretty thick to prevent a bisected cat. –  KeithS Jul 21 '11 at 21:06
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I am not a contractor, and this is a real do it yourself type approach. This is provided at your own risk, and I assume no liability for damage.

The only thing I can think of that is going to auto reset in the way you've described is a device powered by gravity. Everything else ( anti-kick devices installed backwards, anti slam devices) either won't allow the door to close or need to be manually reset.

I picture a small piece of plate steel rather than wood, for durability, that has a hole bored in it, along the top edge, perhaps in the center, perhaps 1/4" - 1/2".

Through this hole pass a bolt whose body is less than the hole size, but whose head is too large to pass through (you'll likely end up with 1/16" or 1/8" clearance on the inside of the hole, which should be fine. You'd want to use a bolt that is threaded right to the head as opposed to those that are only partly threaded. You might need to scratch your head a little to get the bolt length right, but I'm thinking that a 5" bolt with 1" into the wall might be enough (remember that at the corner of the door the gap will be much more than 4").

You will also require a self locking nut for this bolt, some washers and some sort of threaded hole you can install into your door frame (there are hammer in threads available, just make sure you plan ahead size wise, some people would just hammer in a nut).

To support this contraption, I picture a wire back to the wall, but a firm brace like a piece of rod or wood could also be used. The brace should look like an upside down triangle when it's installed.

Drill a hole in the top of your door frame, within an easy reach of the door handle (you'll need to reach it to get out of the room), and install the threading. Make sure that you leave enough room for the plate to swing upside down and still clear the door.

Place the loop of wire/support rod on the bolt next to the head.

Place a washer on the bolt and pass it through the plate. Place a washer on the bolt (so that the washers are sandwiching the plate) and put the nut onto the bolt, so that the washers and plate are close, but not firm (if it's too firm, it's too hard to swing it out of your way).

If the door blows closed, the nut will prevent the plate from sliding back to the door frame and thus striking your pet.

When you want to open the door, you swing it open (the plate is between the door and the jam).

When you DON'T want the door to close, do nothing, (the plate's in the way) and gravity will reset the material.

When you DO want to close the door, swing the piece of material out of the way and close the door. When you want to get back out, you'll have to push the plate out of the way again, and leave, gravity resets.


Ok so that's really a lot of text, but it's a diy description ...

I personally think it's easier to use an anti-slam device and put it somewhere remarkably annoying so you can't forget it. Something like this, put over your sink faucet while you use the washroom. They come in really big foam finger style designs, that would probably help give your pet time to get out of the way or prevent some injury.

The first anti slam I found on google images

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This is what I had half-baked when asking the question:

enter image description here

It would stop the door from closing all the way, but could be pivoted out of the way to close it, but would pop back into place with a spring when the door is opened again. It would be at arm height on the side of the door.

And my misunderstanding of KeithS' answer made me think of this:

enter image description here

which is similar, but at the top of the door and reset by gravity

Wow, drawing is hard.

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use a bolt with a spring like this (you can modify a standard bolt):

picture of bolt

Install it inside the bathroom, so if the door is open the bolt will not let it close.

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This still allows the door to swing shut, squishing kitty. –  Niall C. Jul 22 '11 at 12:57
    
@NiallC attach magnet to outer part of door handler, so it will magnet bolt while novody in. –  eicto Jul 22 '11 at 20:14
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I think you could just attach a piece of plastic to the baseboard behind the open door. It should reach out to the point where the unhinged side of the door is at when fully open, and have some sort of jut at the end that would clip the open door in place, not allowing it to be moved. When you want to close the door, you bend the clip back a bit with your foot.

This is basically a modified version of the magnetic door stop strategy. The advantage is that it will be able to withstand a stronger gust but not require any additional strength to close the door. The magnetic door stop may work quite well though. This way will probably be a bit cheaper, since you can make it out of random pieces of plastic and some glue.

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Are you willing/able to change the door to a sliding door?

A bead door/curtain is probably not private enough and training your cat to stay out of the bathroom isn't reliable.

There are many spring loaded hinges, door closers and dampers. You might be able to install them in reverse if you can't find a suitable product (YMMV). e.g.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware/page.aspx?c=&p=40597&cat=3,41427,41390

http://www.dictator.nl/engels/e2600a.htm

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Haven't read this solution yet. But why not use one of those automatic door closers seen on patios? Only in this case it would be used backwards. The device would have to be attached to the wall so that the door will always open. You only put some force when you try to close it.

here are some google images

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