On the Importance of Correct Deadlatch Installation

Anybody who’s hired me to unlock their door has probably heard my spiel about correct strike placement so that the lock’s deadlatch is functioning correctly. This is particularly important on doors that only have one lock, a requirement for many doors due to fire codes in commercial buildings.

If your strike plate isn’t correctly installed somebody could open your door with a credit card, butter knife or other thin tool. Other symptoms of a poor installation are

  • the gap between the door and the strike plate being over 1/4 of an inch
  • The door doesn’t actually latch, or you have to shut the door really hard to latch it
  • if you push the door it opens without unlocking it

If you think your lock has this problem you’re going to want to fix it. You may not know how to open a door with a butter knife, but you can be sure that there are plenty of drug addicts that do. I’ve seen the aftermath of plenty of burglaries that were caused by incorrectly installed doors and locks and seen the security footage showing somebody with a butter knife or screwdriver opening a door in seconds.

How to fix the problem?

  • Move the strike plate to its proper location. The small part of the deadlatch should not go into the strike hole.
  • Install an astragal or latch protector. These prevent direct manipulation of your deadlatch with almost any tool, even a sawzall.
  • Tighten hinge screws. Sagging doors are a common cause of improperly latching locks.
  • Install rubber dampeners on door frame to prevent both parts of deadlatch going into the strike hole.

Give me a call, I’ll be happy to fix your latching problem.

Published by

Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.