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Good day everyone. I recently replaced my existing keyed Schlage lock with a keypad security lock on the door from my mudroom to my garage. The door is metal and the frame/jamb has thick rubber/silicone weather stripping. The new lock has been in place for a few months but the lock cylinder has become damaged do to extra stress created by the weather stripping and the new strike plate used over top of some weird sort of metal bracket that was installed with the previous lock.

I can't explain it well, but the weather stripping pushes the door back inward, toward the very edge of the strike plate. The new strike plate, installed over top of what appears to be a security bracket (?) is a tad too far and the deadlock plunger has become bent as a result. You can see this in the pictures I provided. This causes the latch to bind and not close fully. I can replace the latch but that won't fix the stress on the part caused by the use of these two brackets/strike plates.

Do I need this weird looking bracket? Without it, the door will shut fine without the added stress on the latch or deadlock plunger. I assume it's for added security as the rear of the strike plate has teeth that grab into slots drilled into the frame. I can't even find a name for this part.

I'd like to just be able to not use it and use the strike plate that came with the lock instead, but I feel removing the bracket will affect the security of this door. What can I do to give the door more room inside of the strike plate? I can't get the door to sit any tighter against the existing weather stripping.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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That little plunger is called a dead latch. It requires precise and correct alignment between the door latch and the strike plate with no excuses.

The purpose of a dead latch is that if it is held in, the latch can't move. This defeats "using a credit card" to force against the latch's ramped piece to make it retract.

The strike plate, thus, must be correct for the dead latch. It must allow the latch to drop into the hole, but the dead latch not to. The best option is to use the strike plate supplied with the lock set, whose hole should be the right size so only the latch fits.

The dead latch should not be taking any damage because it should not be falling into the hole. It sounds like the dead latch is falling into the hole, and then, is bearing the full force applied against the door, including by the wind, which can be considerable.

Too big a gap between door and strike plate

Part of your problem may be the strike plate being too far from the door. (I can look right at the weatherproofing and tell you that!) In that case, the beveled latch is only going partway into the hole, and that is leaving room for the deadlatch to fit also.

The latch is beveled. If the strike plate is close like it's supposed to be, the hole is only big enough for the width of the latch, and the deadlatch can't fall in. However, if the strike plate is too far away, it aligns with a part of the latch that is not as wide (since it's beveled). That leaves room for the deadlatch to fall in.

The gap between door and strike should be very close - you should barely be able to fit a credit card in there. I bet you can fit about 6 credit cards in there!

I also notice the latch is "inset" from the edge of the door. That shouldn't be. You need to shim that back out so the latch is flush or even very slightly proud of the door edge. Here, every mil matters.

enter image description here

^^ How it's supposed to work.

enter image description here

^^ Yours. Note too-big gap and too-inset latch allowing deadlatch to fall in.

That type of weatherproofing makes "closed" ambiguous

If a door is not weatherproofed, there is a well-defined point where the door is positively closed all the way. With this type of weatherproofing, after the door first contacts part of the weatherproofing, you can lean on the door harder and harder, and the door will keep closing, moving more than 1/4" additional if you lean on it hard enough. This makes correct positioning of strike plate extremely difficult, but also, all the more important. It's a mistake to set the strike so the door is too loose; first it will bear a lot of dynamic force from being loaded in both directions by the wind, and second, people who pull the door shut hard will drag the latch past the strike plate, making for very sloppy latch action... and (again) allowing the dead latch to fall into the hole if the strike plate is too far away.

You say the oval screw spaces in the reinforcement are in the wrong place. I doubt that. I suspect the weatherstripping is making you want to put the strike in the wrong place. Since you're already having trouble with the dead latch dropping in, clearly you're already putting the strike plate too far out, and it appears you are near the outer limit of that oval. I suspect correct placement will be closer to the inner limit, but this will make the door very stiff to close, and you don't like that.

Well, you're going to need to sort that out. Decide whether you want to keep this weatherstripping and place the strike so you must pull hard to close, go with other types of weatherstripping that don't interfere with a positive "closed" position on the door, or get rid of weatherstripping.

The wood may be too beat up to take screws

It's also possible that the wood "meat" the strike plate screws go into has perished from over-use, and/or the existing holes simply making it impossible to get a screw to go in the correct position (since the screw seeks the existing hole). That thrashed wood fiber needs to be drilled out and replaced with some sort of filler. I would drill it and epoxy in a softwood dowel. It needs to be about the hardness of the underlying wood, not much harder or softer (or drills will "seek" the softer material).

You could use an epoxy with filler instead of a dowel; a blend of colloidal silica and fairing filler (e.g. West System 406 and 410) would be a nice compromise between softwood hardness and strength.

I've also heard of people driving match sticks into the screw holes (NOT with the flammable heads!)

So... it sounds like the door framing has been a real "slop job" and these issues were simply ignored by past installers.

You will need to move through each issue and correct it.

  • Shim out the latch in the door so it's flush, or a tick proud.
  • Shim the door, or jamb, or strike base, so the door and strike are close enough to work as intended.
  • Find the strike position so with the latch extended, but the dead latch retracted (tape it down), the door compresses your weatherstripping (if any) firmly for a good seal, and without allowing slack of movement.
  • Remedy any issues with chewed up wood not letting you place screws correctly.
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    Yikes! Great description and analysis, but "Shim the door or jamb . . ." !? Way too much work and way beyond the skill level of the OP judging by his bringing forth this question. He could put the supplied strike plate on and see if it works. If, in its most inward position in the slots in the security plate, it is too far out to work properly, then enlarge the slots and the hole inward by filing. It is not easy to get a door like this to work fully correctly. The dead latch is a complication. On our heavily weather stripped door I have a simple passage latch and a dead bolt for locking. – Jim Stewart May 4 at 12:14
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    This type of lock allows one to get accidentally locked out of the house. Our front door and door into garage were originally of this type (>40 ya) and we managed to lock ourselves out more than once. We changed to locks which cannot be set to lock as the door is shut. I think this is standard nowadays. – Jim Stewart May 4 at 12:30
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    You can buy strike plates that extend further into the room. These are designed for cases where the door trim is especially thick. I have used some of these and they work. I will try to post a link. You could straighten the bend on your current plate which would allow it to be positioned further out. Google extended strike plate. – Jim Stewart May 4 at 15:54
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    I just realized that the fact that this lock has a keypad on the outside means there is no risk, or at most a miniscule risk, of getting locked out. – Jim Stewart May 4 at 18:08
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    @Todd I also noticed your latch is too inset into the door, worsening the problem. I edited to illustrate. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 4 at 18:22
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That backing plate could provide some added security. With a metal door the jamb is the weakest link so the plate, if properly installed could help. It should be possible to install both strike plates in a way that is compatible with your lock.

Note: The backing plate is not installed correctly to begin with. You see on the far left side, behind the weather stripping, there is a third screw hole. You are meant to put a long (3 inch) high quality screw through that. The idea is that instead of the two other screws ripping open the front half of the door jamb in a kick-in, that third screw would require the kicker to break through almost the entire thickness of the door frame.

If you install that third screw, then try to figure out what exactly is causing the whole arrangement to interfere with your new lock. You may need to chisel out the inset a tiny bit or to make some other adjustment.

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  • I'm going to try to shift the strike assembly slightly to the left. Maybe it'll give me enough room that when the strike plate is placed over, it doesn't come as far is it currently does. There's not a whole lot of room left to move the assembly, some sixteenths of an inch. You mentioned a high quality screw. Would you just use a 3" wood screw, or do you have a particular recommendation for the screw to use? I figure this is the easiest adjustment before I move onto some of the other suggestions given. – Todd May 4 at 13:53
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    Yes, a 3" wood screw, #10 if it will fit through the hole in the plate, otherwise #8, and something with coarse thread and a sharp point. Predrill the hole. – jay613 May 4 at 14:00
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    That 3" screw will be the last part of the job, surely, when everything else is aligned? – Tim May 5 at 11:34
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    @Tim Probably. If it were me, no matter when I installed that screw it would be slightly misaligned and the whole effort would be a lot of trial and error. :(. I think Harper's answer describes the steps nicely although TBH I think there's a level of skill and artistry required that needs more learning than a typical homeowner ever gets. – jay613 May 5 at 12:37
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From the patent filing on uspto.gov:

Reinforced striker assembly for door locks

Abstract

A metal reinforcing plate is arranged beneath the usual striker plate in a routed recess of the wooden door jamb. The reinforcing plate has integral anchoring >prongs which are driven into the wooden jamb immediately ahead of the stop rail and has additional anchoring and locator tabs which are received at the side walls of the bolt receiving recess or socket in the door jamb. The reinforcing plate is substantially concealed from view while imparting to the door structure substantial extra strength against forceable entry.

Without it, it may be possible to kick the door in. From the crack in that bracket, I suspect it was tried at some point.

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    While this explains what the additional plate is for, it doesn't explain if it's necessary and/or can be removed by the OP, though I suppose it could factor into his decision - does he want a bit of extra security at this particular door. – FreeMan May 4 at 12:11
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    It's not explicitly stated in this answer, but the drawings on the patent show that this device adds security because the bracket is anchored to the stud, not just the jamb. If the strike plate is properly installed with screws long enough to penetrate into the stud (not the tiny screws they normally come with), then it should be just as secure on its own as it is when using the reinforcing plate. – bta May 4 at 20:29
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You answered your own question. Just remove that part. There are other ways to secure that door if you feel the need to.

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    No. This shouldn't be necessary and reduces security to a significant degree (unless measures are taken that would be at least as troublesome as doing things the right way). – isherwood May 3 at 21:22

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