The constant use and harsh slamming a storm door endures can lead to a storm door latch that stops working properly, making it hard to open and close the door. Fortunately, the latch can be repaired rather replaced most of the time. Here are the steps required to get the job done properly.
Step 1 - Check the Door Hinges
If your storm door hinges have come loose, that could account for your storm door latch not working properly. Loose hinges will push the door out, resulting in a latch that doesn’t match up with the strike plate. Make sure that the screws that secure the hinges are tight. If they are loose, tighten them.
Step 2 - Inspect the Strike Plate
The strike plate is where the door latches to stay shut. It is a metal plate that is attached to the door frame with a hole dug out of the center for the latch to sit in. Sometimes the screws securing the strike plate can become loose, causing the door to not latch properly. If this is the case, tightening the loose screws should make the door latch properly.
If the wood from the door frame sits higher in the strike plate opening than the actual strike plate itself, this could also cause the door not to close properly. You can use a hand chisel to knock out the extra wood, but a much easier solution is to use a drill to grind down the exposed wood. Once the excess wood has been removed, the storm door should latch properly.
Step 3 - Move the Strike Plate
If grinding down the exposed wood did not work, you may have to move the strike plate up or down so the door will latch properly. Close the door slowly, paying attention to the latch. Does it look like it isn’t centered in the strike plate? Is it sitting too high or too low? If this is the case, then remove the strike plate and reinstall so that it is lined up with the latch. When you do this, you will also need to re-chisel out the holes where the latch sits.
If the storm door still won’t latch properly, there is a chance that the latch is fine and the problem is with the door frame. Over time, the wood on a door frame can warp, stopping the door from latching correctly. If this is the case, you may have to replace the door frame.