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I have an interior door (with doorknobs, not handles) that auto-closes. I would like, most of the time, to be able to just push the door open and not have to turn the knob.

However, I don’t want a permanent solution, because sometimes I do want the door to latch, in order to keep the dog corralled on occasion.

Any ideas on how to ensure that the door doesn’t latch unless I want it to?

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  • Is leaving the door open when you want by way of a door stop an option? – Alaska Man Mar 21 at 19:02
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    You might be able to adjust the auto-close mechanism so that it stops just short of latching all the way. – Mike Schroedel Mar 21 at 22:46
  • You could also replace the hinges(assuming these are the auto close ones) with regular ones. – Mike Schroedel Mar 21 at 23:02
  • use a sheet magnet to cover the latch hole, or if you have a level knob, clip something heavy to it. I bet you could also use a spring hand clamp to pin the knob's shaft against the collar once turned, locking it in place until the clamp is removed. – dandavis Mar 22 at 1:36
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    I'm not aware of part numbers and I don't know where to get them, and I know they're expensive, but in commercial buildings you can see all sorts of special function door latches. You might want to talk to a locksmith and ask them if you can see some catalogs. One residential building I saw recently had an additional latch that could be either locked open so it wouldn't latch when you closed it or locked closed to disable the outside key. I think you will find the problem is more sorting through the available options than whether what you want exists. – K H Mar 23 at 3:49
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Change the lock to either a magnetic one - which will always open with a push or pull or a spring-loaded roller one that will do the same.

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  • That will not keep the dog in, I don't think. – Calion Mar 23 at 23:52
  • @Calion the dog info must be a recent addition somewhere as it is not part of the original question if you read it. – Solar Mike Mar 24 at 5:02
  • Wups! Good point. – Calion Mar 26 at 20:56
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The easiest way is to block the hole in the door jam that the latch goes into (I honestly have no idea what this is called). One way would be to put a strip of tape (probably blue painter’s tape) across it. Another way is to cut a piece of something to fit inside the hole which can easily be removed later (back in high school, I witnessed a classmate use a candle stub to keep a classroom door from locking).

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    You witnessed, Riiiight. – Alaska Man Mar 21 at 19:00
  • @AlaskaMan it’s actually true. I was a very square kid back then. The classroom in question was for my favorite physics teacher and I insisted that the classmate remove it or I’d report him! BTW, I’m now 65 so you can figure out how long ago that was. – DoxyLover Mar 21 at 19:05
  • Teachers pet !! – Alaska Man Mar 21 at 19:19
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A Ball Catch might meet your needs. I have a couple of sets in my home. In my case the doors do not have operable handles, just fixed. These are installed on the top of the door. In combination with the ball catch, you could tape over the opening in the striker plate, but that probably wouldn't last long.

Also, how often would you "want the door to latch?" ...A few times a day, once a week? Once a month? Tape would be an awkward solution if you wanted it to latch frequently.

A ball catch would keep the door closed, but still allow for just pushing the door or pulling the handle/knob to open it. If that works for you, you might consider simply removing the latch from the door knob completely. It would require taking apart the door knob, but that's a pretty simple matter. It would also allow you to revert back to a functional door knob/latch later if you changed your mind, sold the home, etc.

Door ball catch

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  • Question most regular door knobs use a spring to return to latch position. Will it be possible to just remove/disable spring? Would have to make sure to turn knob to latch door when wanted. – crip659 Mar 21 at 20:35
  • I'm not sure that that would keep the dog upstairs. – Calion Mar 23 at 23:54
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Whenever I want to temporarily keep a spring loaded door from latching I simply use the "handyman's best friend" - duct tape! Paper tapes work but they rip easily. Simply run a strip of duct tape over the latch and your done.

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  • Yeah, that works, but my wife isn’t going to be pleased with having to remove and reapply duck tape every time she wants to keep the dog trapped upstairs. – Calion Mar 21 at 22:34
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    Maybe you should ask Gordon Liddy and John Ehrlichman to for advice! ok OK, I'll get snipped for this, but it was just too funny not to mention. – George Anderson Mar 22 at 2:10
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    Exactly! I was a member of the "Plumbers" with RMN. That's how I know it works! – HoneyDo Mar 22 at 2:53

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