Learn How to Fix Door Strike Plate In Easy Steps

Key Takeaway

  • In case of misalignment, adjust the strike plate’s position to align it with the latch.
  • Consider the use of adjustable strike plates as a convenient solution for recurring alignment problems.
  • Regularly cleaning the strike plate is essential to prevent debris and paint buildup that can hinder door operation.

As the seasons transition and temperatures fluctuate, it’s a common struggle many of us face – doors acting up, stubbornly refusing to latch or close correctly. Trust me, only a few things are as frustrating as a door that doesn’t close properly, and oftentimes, the culprit behind this annoyance is a misaligned or damaged door strike plate. And if you followed my article on Kwikset Halo installation, I faced this issue there as well.

And since I was able to resolve this issue first hand, I have decided to present here a comprehensive guide on how to fix a strike plate that is misaligned. In this article, we’ll explore the art of restoring these essential components, ensuring your doors operate seamlessly.

Causes of Strike Plate Misalignment

A strike plate, often overlooked but crucial, is a metal plate affixed to the door jamb or frame. When the door is shut, the latch or bolt engages with the strike plate’s hole or recess, ensuring the door stays closed and locked. 

  • Over time, wear and tear can occur due to the repeated use of the door. This can lead to a slight shifting of the strike plate, causing it to no longer align perfectly with the latch or bolt. 
  • Secondly, changes in temperature and humidity can cause the door or door frame to expand or contract, affecting the strike plate’s alignment. These environmental factors can put additional stress on the strike plate and gradually lead to misalignment issues.
  • Another reason for door strike plate misalignment is that you are installing a new deadbolt and the pocket needs to be more deep or wide. 

How to Adjust Door Strike Plate

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to adjust the strike plate to ensure your doors operate smoothly and securely.

  • Step 1: Identify the Issue: 
    Before adjusting the strike plate, assess the problem. Common issues include misalignment, latch sticking, or difficulty in closing the door. Identifying the issue’s nature will guide your adjustments.
  • Step 2: Loosening the Screws: 
    Begin by slightly loosening the screws securing the strike plate to the door frame. This step allows some room for adjustment.
  • Step 3: Adjusting Height: 
    If the issue is a misaligned latch (hitting too high or low), you can adjust the strike plate’s height. For a high latch, remove a small amount of wood from the top of the strike plate mortise using a chisel and hammer. For a low latch, remove wood from the bottom.
    Adjusting Height
  • Step 4: Correcting Misalignment: 
    In cases of lateral misalignment (the latch hitting off-center), elongate the screw holes in the strike plate’s direction to bring the latch into alignment. This can be done using a flathead screwdriver or a drill.

    If the mortise needs to be made deeper, you will need to remove wood from behind using a chisel and a hammer.
  • Step 5: Testing the Door: 
    After making adjustments, test the door by opening and closing it multiple times. If the issue persists or requires further adjustment, repeat the process, making slight modifications until the door functions flawlessly.
  • Step 6: Securing the Strike Plate: 
    Securing the Strike Plate

    Once the adjustments are satisfactory, tighten the screws securely. Be cautious not to over-tighten, as this can affect the door’s operation.

    It is important to regularly inspect your strike plates for signs of wear or misalignment. Maintenance, if done proactively, can prevent larger problems down the road.

Adjustable Strike Plates

Adjustable Strike Plates

For frequent or easily recurring issues, it is wise to consider installing adjustable strike plates. These plates have slots that allow for quick and easy adjustments without the need for chiseling or repositioning. 

These versatile plates enhance security, save time during installation and maintenance, and reduce wear and tear on door components. Ideal for DIY projects and compatible with various door hardware types, adjustable strike plates are an effective solution for improving door security and functionality while simplifying the installation process and ensuring long-term durability.

Cleaning the Strike Plate of Any Debris or Paint Build Up

So, there are chances that the misalignment of your door lock is due to a build-up. Over time, debris or paint buildup within the strike plate recess can hinder the smooth operation of your door’s locking mechanism. This accumulation can lead to difficulty in latching and unlatching the door, creating frustration and inconvenience. 

To remedy this issue, it’s essential to thoroughly clean the strike plate. You can achieve this by using a small brush or a screwdriver to carefully remove any obstructions or residues that have accumulated within the strike plate’s recess.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. Are adjustable strike plates compatible with all types of locks?

Answer – Adjustable strike plates are designed to be versatile and can generally work with various types of door locks, including deadbolts, knob locks, and lever handles. However, it’s advisable to check the compatibility of the specific adjustable strike plate with your lock type before installation.

Q2. How would I know whether my strike plate is misaligned?

Answer – You can determine if your strike plate is misaligned by observing common signs such as difficulty in smoothly latching or unlatching the door, a latch that doesn’t engage securely, and visible wear or scratching around the latch contact area on the strike plate. 


A misaligned strike plate is not an uncommon issue faced by homeowners. However, repairing a door strike plate is a straightforward DIY task that can enhance the security and functionality of your door. 

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily fix a misaligned or damaged strike plate with minimal effort and cost. Remember to inspect and maintain your door hardware regularly to ensure your home remains safe and secure.

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.