door-lock-repair-pic3Adjusting doors to locks is needed when the door is out of alignment.The first thing to do is look at the door from the inside when it is closed. There should be an even gap across the top and down the latch side. This gap occurs between the door and the frame or jamb. It should be about an eighth of an inch and be consistent.

Some related information can be found in the articles 'How To Fix a Door', 'Fixing Interior Doors' and 'Repairing Exterior Doors'.

If the door is tight against the frame at the top and there is a gap at the bottom, the door is sagging. If the door is hitting the floor, it will still be indicated in the margin along the latch side. Is the gap wider at the bottom and narrower at the top? Yes, then the door is sagging. If the door is sagging you need to make a door lock repair.

Open the door back up and remove the two inner screws for the top hinge. How long are they? An inch or less? This means that the hinge is only being supported by the door jamb itself, not the framing lumber for the wall. Are the screws long, say 2 ½ to 3 inches. That's good, all you will need to do is tighten them up. This door lock repair might be that easy.

If you have long screws, make sure the heads are not stripped. For short screws you need to obtain some 3” number 8 screws. Square or Torx drive are better, but phillips head will work.

Install the long screws, angling them slightly toward the center of the jamb. Snug them up and then check the margins again. Still sagging? Tighten them a quarter turn at a time until the margins are even and the door closes properly.

door-lock-repair-pic4More is not better in this situation. If you over tighten, the door will bind in another direction. Tighten until the margins are even and the door closes easily and then stop. Make sure the strike and the deadbolt are lined up with the mortises and strike plates.


A properly aligned door will allow the lock and deadbolt to work correctly. This was not quite a door lock repair, but it got you to the same place, a working door.