Asked on Apr 14, 2018

My dead bolt won't lock.

by Louise

My neighbor fixed a sagging door for me and then the dead bolt wouldn't go into its hole. I found a solution on YouTube. It said to put lipstick on the end of the dead bolt, close the door and try to turn the dead bolt. When the door is opened, the lipstick has marked where the hold SHOULD be. I found that the hole needed to be a bit more to the left. Took off the strike plate and cut away some wood. But then the screw holes for the strike plate were no longer in the right place, so I attempted to make new ones for the screws. The wood at the top broke away so there was no way to screw the plate into the wall, so I took it out. The lock works great now. 😃 BUT of course, it looks horrible. I'm thinking I'll have to fill the hole with something and then make a new hole for the dead bolt. But what to use? The second photo shows where a handyman filled a hole the other day on the other side of the door where a small part of the wood had rotted away. He was supposed to return the next day and sand and finish his job, but surprise, haven't heard a word from him in three days. This pinkish stuff is something he said was similar to Bondo for cars. Ideas??? (And while I'm asking a question, does anyone know why only ONE photo can be added at a time? It used to be that more than one could be added. One at a time is super annoying.)

  9 answers
  • Carol Thomas Carol Thomas on Apr 14, 2018

    Here is another person that had same issue and received several great options to repair it. Best wishes.

  • Sharon Sharon on Apr 15, 2018

    Personally, I would pull off the whole piece of wood, get a new piece of door jam, a strike plate and use a chisel to make a nice neat replacement. That looks so splintered, someone would be able to just kick the door in even with the deadbolt on..... I know cause thats what happened to my back door when I first moved in.

    You could buy a longer strike plate and try to neatly chisel out an area to fit it in....

    If the door is sagging, I would work on the hinges to get it closing properly first. I used this trick on mine....

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Apr 15, 2018

    Louise, I don't know where you live or what your situation is, but if the area around the lock AND the other exterior side of the door was/is rotten, you've got a problem. Sharon in Oregon (above) is right, this door is offering you little protection. If you can afford it, go get a new pre-hung door. If you can't afford it, the repairs listed above will place a band-aid on the problem. It would appear that weather and age have just simply worn everything out. Understand that you need to start saving to have the situation resolved with a replacement. Your safety is paramount.

  • Louise Louise on Apr 15, 2018

    The sagging has been remedied and that's what caused the dead bolt not to engage anymore. I'll check out the link about the new strike plate. Thanks.

  • Little Granny Little Granny on Apr 15, 2018

    My NEW door and jams had the same type of hole when the installer left and I didn't know what to do. I searched the internet and came up with this item and it works great plus the screws go into the original 2x4 cased opening and very safe. A would be burglar would be kicking to the frame instead of door casing. Here is what I bought at Lowes.

    • Louise Louise on May 01, 2018

      I checked this out but it won't work on my door. From the center of each hole to the other is 6" on the one above but my centers are 6.5", possibly due to the age of the house? I've found that other things, like screws in cabinet pulls, are a different width than ones in stores. ☹️

  • 19698379 19698379 on Apr 15, 2018

    I once lived in a house that had a door that hung crooked like you were talking about. I told the landlord about it, but he ignored me and I eventually moved out. Later, I found out the building had termites and that the reason the door hung crooked. I am not a expert in this areas, though.

  • Louise Louise on Apr 15, 2018

    My house was built in 1979 and I've been told that sagging is typical because of the house settling. And my entry door is metal and heavy.

  • Louise Louise on Apr 15, 2018

    I asked the handyman who made the repair on the other side of the door about replacing vs fixing this one and his suggestion was to fix this one. This is a nice, sturdy metal door, but I might end up replacing it, anyway.

  • Louise Louise on May 01, 2018

    Question. What if I have a repairman cut this piece of wood out of the doorjamb and replace it with another one, then cut new holes for each lock?