How to Fix a Door that Won’t Stay Closed – 7 Simple Steps

Adjusting a door can be very annoying if it doesn’t stay closed. This issue can hamper your privacy and put you in an unwanted situation.

So, how to fix a door that won’t stay closed? We have a few solutions for you.

If your front door or bathroom door doesn’t stay shut, it might be happening for several reasons.

You might think that the main culprit is the doorknob or the latch of the door. But most of the time, it happens because of the displacement of the strike plate.

It can also occur for the incorrect alignment of the hinges.

7 Step Guide on How to Fix a Door that Won't Stay Closed

Also, if an expert did not do the installation of the door, the door might show issues like this. Sometimes, doors of old houses show a similar kind of problem.

It happens because of the excessive use of the doors and slamming them hard. So, if you have a door that won’t latch, follow these steps to get the solution.

7 Steps to Fix a Door that Won’t Stay Closed

Step 1: Collect the necessary tools

You will need a few tools to fix your door. You will need a screwdriver if you want to tighten the hinges of your door.

Then you will need scissors to cut the papers that you want to place between the door hinges and the frame.

You will also need a flat-file to resize the strike plate. To move the strike place at the right place, you will need a hammer so that you can tap it against the door frame.

You will also need a chisel, pencils to mark, etc.

Step 2: Tighten the door hinges

Sometimes, a door won’t stay closed simply because it has loose hinges. It is a very common problem, and the solution is straightforward.

Take a screwdriver and tighten the door hinges.

Step 3: Examine the gap between the frame and the door

If your door doesn’t stay shut, you will see a difference between the frame and the door. This gap is the main reason for the doors not staying closed.

It can be happening for the poor installation of the door in the first place. However, if you can close the gap, the door will stay closed.

You will see a difference which will be even from the top of the door till the bottom. If it is not even, find the side which has a wider gap.

For example, if the top of the door has a wider gap, unscrew the hinges from that level.

Step 4: Fill in the gap between the door and the frame with a heavy paper

Now, you will need some pieces of heavy papers. If you have index cards, that will do the job as well.

With the help of a scissor, cut the papers so that it fits between the frame and the hinges.

Then, take the paper and place it between the framework of the door and the hinges. Hold it tightly with one hand and screw the hinge over the paper.

It is a trial and error process. If the door still doesn’t stay shut, you will have to add another layer of paper between the frame of the door and the hinges.

Do this until the door remains closed.

Placing the index card between the door and the frame will make the gap between them narrower because it will increase the gap on the other side of the door.

Step 5: Lubricate the latch bolt

Examine the latch bolt and see if it is sticking. To remove the stickiness, you can lubricate the latch bolt with silicon.

Step 6: Resize the strike plate with a file

After closing the door, you might see that the latch is too much tight or too much loose.

If the lock is too tight to close, take a flat file and resize the strike plate so that you can close the door comfortably without pressing it too hard.

Step 7: Place the strike plate with the right alignment

Your door might not stay closed because of the misalignment of the strike plate. At first, remove the strike plate.

Take a chisel and resize the area. Then, reattach the strike plate. Make sure the latch and the strike plate is aligned correctly.

If the gap between the latch and the strike plate is less than one-eighth inches, you don’t need to remove the strike plate.

Take a flathead screwdriver and place the head od the screwdriver against the strike plate. Then tap it several times with a hammer.

Check if they are placed in the right position. If the door still doesn’t stay closed, tap the strike plate again so that it moves.

Ways to Fix Doors that Won’t Stay Closed

Additional Tips To Fix a Door That Keeps Opening

  • You can easily find out the gap between the strike plate and the latch. Mark the latch with lipstick and stick a white paper on the frame of the door. Then close the door. It will put a mark on the white paper, and you will be able to measure the gap quickly.
  • Before going into any step, always check the door hinges. The problem you are facing might be resulting from loose hinges. You can correct it easily with a screwdriver.
  • If the misalignment of the door is because of other reasons – like an uneven floor or a cracked wall, you will need to look for another solution. In such a case, you will need to call an expert because you cannot fix your uneven or crooked floor as well as cracked walls.

Following the steps above, you can find a proper solution. You won’t need a handyman and spend money just to repair your door.

With the correct tools, you can do this by yourself. The whole process is done through trial and error because it is hard to find accurate measurement.

If you are seeing the same issue with your front door, it is better to call a handyman.

Because front doors are usually more substantial than other doors in the house, so, you might face more difficulties while doing this.


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