Upgrading the Door Latches on Mechanical Doors

6 Materials
1 Hour

I've been working on making over my laundry room and there is one area that has always bugged me in this room.

The metal doors that hide the mechanical (the furnace & water heater) parts of our home! They came with these tough to open latches (see before photo) that did not open easily. You would have to yank the doors open and pray you didn't damage them. So, I changed them to magnetic catches that work beautifully on the metal doors. Here is how I installed them.

The Mechanical Area

These are the metal doors that hide the furnace and water heater.

The BEFORE...latches that were not user friendly.


  • Drill with a small bit
  • Countersink drill bit
  • Impact drill with a bit that fits the pattern on your screws
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Magnetic door catches & screws (I used heavy duty)
  • Wood (I used poplar 1/2" x 1.5")
  • Straight edge
  • 180 grit sand paper
  • Miter Saw
  • Paint & paint brush

First I laid out my new magnetic catches on my board and measured and marked out the size I wanted each spacer to be. I went with 2 inch spacer blocks.


I needed spacers because my magnetic catches would not reach the metal doors.

I cut all my spacers using a miter saw.

I sanded them with 180 grit sand paper. After wiping them clean of sawdust, I painted them with a white paint I had on hand.

To attach the magnetic catches to the spacers I started by marking where I wanted the screws to go.

To insure my spacer blocks didn't split I drilled through them with a drill bit before attaching them.

Then I screwed the screws (included with the magnetic catches) in & secured the magnetic catch to the spacer block. I did this for all 4 blocks before moving on to the next step.

Once all the magnetic catches are attached to the spacer blocks I changed out my small drill bit for a countersink bit.

These are larger because the screws are bigger. These screws will attach the block and magnetic catch to the drywall.

Using the pre-drilled holes made it very easy to attach them to the drywall. Using the countersink bit allowed the screws to be flat with the blocks.

Here you can see I used 2 per door. One on top and one near the bottom of the door.

Both doors now open and close with less effort. Using the magnetic catches on the metal doors was the perfect solution.

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 1 comment
  • William William on Feb 22, 2021

    Good creative solution. Those friction fit latches were cheaply designed with the expectations that doors would not need to be opened often except for servicing the mechanicals.