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As the title suggests, an interior door has suddenly stopped latching as it should. Previously, the door would close just fine, though perhaps you had to apply more pressure than most doors, it would latch and lock just fine. Currently, you can push it closed, but the knob is basically just a prop because you can push or pull the door open without turning the knob -- the latch just doesn't catch anymore. The major issue with this is that the door currently separates the half bath from the full bath. Strange design, I know, but basically if this door is open, you're staring at the other toilet.

Can anyone suggest a solution or explain why this change in latch function has occurred?

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    What do the hinges look like? From your pic of the strike-plate it looks to me as though this door has been drifting lower & lower, and now the latch no longer goes into the hole in the plate. If you close the door and then lift it upwards by the handle, does it latch? – brhans Jul 18 at 19:38
  • @brhans As far as I can tell, no, pulling up, pushing down has no major effect. Hinges are old, but as far as I can tell, are still firmly holding in place. I can grab a picture when I get home from work tonight, if necessary. – Steve-o169 Jul 18 at 19:42
  • Barring anything that needs repaired, such as the hinge issue suggested, then this is probably a simple case of moving that strike plate down a bit. Might mean making the jamb hole a little bigger, but that's easy. – DonBoitnott Jul 18 at 20:04
  • I wouldn't move the plate. That'll leave an ugly scar above it in the jamb. I'd take a Dremel and a grinding stone and open the slot further. That's if you don't reset the jamb to resolve the misalignment. – isherwood Jul 18 at 21:15
  • @isherwood I'd agree that moving the plate would leave an ugly scar, but it's pretty ugly already. :P We're just renting but the property management company did a really bad job with these bathrooms. You can see the paint on everything it shouldn't be on and the worst is the "grout" work. It honestly looks like they used some kind of patching plaster around the base of the toilets and tub. I've re-done around the toilets with a nice clean caulk job but it was not an easy clean-up. – Steve-o169 Jul 19 at 12:22
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My guess is the door has warped, touching the top or the bottom or both top and bottom of the door jam. If you remove that jam and reinstall it to follow the curvature of the door, when it is properly closed, that should fix the problem.

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Try this:

  • Lift the door as you close it. Does it latch?
  • From the outside of the door, watch the latch hit the strike plate. Is it missing the hole in the strike plate?
  • If the latch is in line with the hole, does the door close far enough for the edge of the latch to get into the hole.
  • Sometimes the house will settle or shift. The door jamb may no longer be a rectangle, but now be a parallelagram. Latch no longer lines up with hole in striker plate. If the difference is small, sometimes loosening one hinge and sliding some card stock (index cards) between the hinge and the door jamb can bring things into alignment.

Our house changes shape between winter and summer. Our winters are very dry, so wood shrinks. The house is old and settles a bit from time to time. About once every 2-3 years I have to take a door off, sand a 32nd or so off of one edge and remount. In another case, I used a dremel tool to expand the front edge of the hole in the strike plate by a few thousands of an inch.

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One other thing you can try, and my dad tells me constantly, is if you have a door that stops latching, try replacing some of the hinge screws to larger/longer screws. From the scrape on the plate being at the bottom, replacing one or two screws in the top hinge may help cant the door up so it latches again.

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