How to fix a door that won't latch

How to Fix a Door That Won’t Latch

Doors that do not latch can be not only annoying, but also unsafe! Whether this is a building door or a bathroom door! Give yourself the privacy and safety you need by following these orderly steps to determine what is not working correctly. Once you have found the problem, follow along by reading the tentative solutions on how to fix a door that does not latch.

Terms to understand while following along:

Latch bolt, strike plate, hinge

Parts On a Door


When looking at a door not securing (latching), you want to examine the latching mechanism and check that it is working correctly. You should then check to see if the strike is in the right spot. Check to see if the hole in the strike plate is big enough to accommodate the latch. If this works, close the door and check your gap; if the door is sagging, this could cause the door to not latch properly. To fix this, you would need to shim the door to get it aligned properly, adjust the closer, replace the hardware, rework the strike, or give us a call! The following steps determine where to check and what to do if that part is not working correctly.


  • Check the latch bolt
    • You will not hear the latch clicking when the door is closing.
    • The latch bolt could be jammed or broken.
  • Check the strike
    • Look to see if there is something stuck inside the strike.
    • Make sure the strike hole is big enough for the latch.
  • Check for misalignment, your door could be sagging
    • There will be a gap, and your door will not hang properly around the perimeter.
    • The door could be warped, or the frame could not be level. This would tilt the door to where it hits the top or the bottom earlier when closing the door.
    • If the alignment is inconsistent, you would need to shim a hinge.
  •  Check to see if your closer is working properly
    • The closer could have been overextended and is not working properly.
    • The closer could need an adjustment based on seasonal changes.
  • Weather-related Issues
    • Determine if the door is not latching during specific times of the day, like when the sun is directly on the door.
    • In some instances, doors will not latch strictly because of thermal bow. During inclement weather conditions, this can expand or contract the door to the point where the latch does not align with the strike and causes the door not to latch.
    • There could be ice build-up that is causing malfunction.

Repair Options

  • Shimming
    • Place support under the door to relieve tension.
    • Unscrew the hinge(s) that is being shimmed (most likely the top and bottom hinge)
    • Add a shim where needed (the shim could be made of various materials such as plastic, wood, steel, etc.).
    • Screw the hinge back onto the door.
    • Check the latch and the gap to see if the alignment is fixed and the latch closes.

Additional steps include reworking the strike or replacing the hardware. For tips or replacement options, contact our technicians; we are here to inform and help at LaForce!