bad luck with doors

Ever since we moved in here, the master bedroom door hasn’t closed well. Sometimes you’d have to shut it a couple of times before the bolt would latch; sometimes you’d have to pull upwards on the knob after closing it before it would latch. This was a combination of an original strike plate, a replacement doorknob installed by the previous owners, and a few coats of paint since 1957. Today I decided to fix it (one of those “I’ll get around to it eventually” things).

I checked and tightened all the screws. They’re fine. I take out the strike plate and look at it – wow, a previous owner has taken bits out of it with a file to try to make a replacement knob/bolt fit. Unfortunately, their modifications aren’t working with the current knob.

We went to Lowes, and picked up a Dremel rotary tool kit and two replacement strike plates. Got home, and I realized that one of the new strike plates would work just fine if I chiseled out some wood from the bolthole and moved the strike plate down about an eighth of an inch. Tried it, and closed the door. CLICK! it latched. We didn’t need the Dremel after all.

We then installed some felt pads in the door frame to keep the cats from “bumping” the door at night and making it rattle in the frame. Tested the fit of everything, made sure the bolt would latch. CLICK! yep!

… until we tried to turn the knob again to open the door. Something inside the knob went SPROING, the knob was turning, but the bolt wasn’t moving.

After all of our effort to make the darned door close properly, we were now trapped in our own master bedroom because the door wouldn’t open.

Fortunately, I still had my tools (hammer, couple of screwdrivers) on my side of the door. After about ten minutes, we managed to completely deassemble the doorknob assembly, and got the bolt pulled back from the knob mechanism (otherwise we would have ended up just pulling the hinge pins). Off to Berings we went, to buy another doorknob kit.

Got home from Berings, and I went to install the doorknob. I used the new strike plate that I’d already installed earlier in the day. Then, I realized that the hole in the door was about an eighth of an inch too small for the new doorknob mechanism and casing to fit! Out comes Mr. Dremel and a grinding/sanding bit. Lots of sawdust later, we have a working bedroom doorknob that opens properly from both sides, with the door padded so it wont rattle in the frame when the cats try to get in.

We really just have no luck with doors.