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Entry Door Won't Close Tight

GaryW52's picture

Hello, All.  I'm a newbie to the forum.  I just installed a Feather River fiberglass entry door.  I installed the new lock set, dead bolt, strike plate and dead bolt strike plate in the pre-routed locations on the door and frame provided by the manufacturer.  When I close the door, it doesn't make as tight a seal as I think it should.  I can see a little daylight around the weather stripping on the door knob side.  I would normally try moving the strike plates forward to make the door sock up tighter.  Before I go through my usual macinations (trying to close up the old strike plate screw holes on the frame to re-drill new ones), does anybody have suggestions or tips on making the door close tighter?  Many thanks.

(post #73463, reply #1 of 14)

How's the slap of the door?

Can you adjust the strike leg of the door to get it to close?

Can you rock the butts to close the gap?


(post #73463, reply #4 of 14)

Thanks very much for the quick reply.  Sorry,  but you lost me on the terminology.  I don't know what the slap is, the strike leg, or how to rock the butts.  If you have time to lay this out for a weekend repairman, I'd appreciate your help. 

(post #73463, reply #10 of 14)

Don't feel so bad Gary,  I've been a carpenter for decades and I didn't understand most of what he said, 

On the brighter side,  yes, I've used those thermatru adjustable strike plates many times and they work fine.  Just make sure you have shims behind them or you're either gonna be bowing the doorjamb out of whack right there when you try to tighten it down, or you won't be able to tighten it enough and eventually it will go out of adjustment.

The one downside of this is, by the time you get the strike adjusted correctly, the deadbolt probably will no longer be lined up.  so, you're gonna be righ back where you started from with having to either move the deadbolt strike plate, or getting out the ol' file or dremel and hawging the hole out a litle bit.

  This is why I like to use door jambs that aren't pre-mortised for the deadbolt.  I like to get the door and the strike adjusted perfectly and then mark where the deadbolt needs to go.

So ,  BjR...  Howzabout helping us out on some of that colorfull vernacular terminology?

What does 'slap" mean?  And what about "rock the butts" ? 

I'm always looking to learn new techniques, or even just new names for common techniques...

" If I were a carpenter"
" If I were a carpenter"

(post #73463, reply #11 of 14)

Thanks, Mark.  Appreciate the confirmation on the adjustable strike.  That's what I'll do.  I don't mind hawging out the hole for the dead bolt strike and moving it.  It's what I was planning on doing.  I'll make sure the shims are behind the jamb to prevent bowing and pre-drill my holes. 

My Brother-In-Law suggested trying this forum on a number of occasions and I thought I'd toss one out to see if a soulution came back.  And it worked.  Like most folks I just want the butt-to-rock-tight-to-the-strike-leg-so-the-door-slaps-right.  ;-)  BjR if you're still out there, I'd really like to know what those terms mean, or if you're just having some good natured fun.  Everybody have a great day.

(post #73463, reply #13 of 14)

Think he means door slab? Rocking the butts is using a cresent wrench to bend the knuckles on the butts to adjust the door alignment in the jamb or buck.

Another thing that comes to mind is the hing side weather stripping. If the butts are set to deep or the w/s to tight on the hinge side it can get pinched a little and spring the whole door off the stop on the strike side.

I 've not worked with f/g doors but any of them with integral weather stripping can be checked with a simple playing card. Standing outside the door, close it while holding a card on the edge of it so the weather strip catches the card. You should be able to just barely move the card up/down/across the face of the door. To tight and you can't move the card and to loose it falls out or slides real easy.

It is easy to think that a prehung door unit is right from the factory. Most are pretty good, but there are always those Friday and Monday runs that are just close enough to pass the QC inspection. Those are the ones that give you fits,trying to figure out what is screwed up.



(post #73463, reply #2 of 14)

You could use an adjustable strike plate.  I've installed some Therma-Tru doors that came with them.  I've never seen them for sale around here, but I did find an online retailer here:


(post #73463, reply #5 of 14)

Wow, thanks!  I wondered if somebody made an adjustable strike plate.  I'll keep that in my hip pocket if nobody else comes up with a better solution.  Many thanks for the link!

(post #73463, reply #9 of 14)

Thanks for the info and link! I didn't know such an animal existed, but have been frustrated through the years adjusting strike plates by removing the strike plate, filling the old holes and rescrewing.

(post #73463, reply #3 of 14)

On a steel door the thing to do would be to replace the regular weatherstripping with magnetic weatherstripping. Won't do any good on fiberglass, though.

First make sure the door is reasonably square to the frame (about same gap all along the latch edge). If that check is OK then the thing to do is to get an adjustable strike.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. --James Madison

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #73463, reply #6 of 14)

Thanks, DanH.  Appreciate the suggestion.  You're the second who suggested the adjustable strike plate.  I wondered if they stay put or if they go out of adjustment with use.  What do you think?

(post #73463, reply #7 of 14)

Had one on our front door for ten years now. It hasn't budged. (And my wife would let me know if it did.)

The connection between the two parts of the plate (at least on ours) is via a ridged area so that the two interlock. They can only slip if the screws get real loose.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. --James Madison

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #73463, reply #8 of 14)

they work...



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WOW!!! What a Ride!

Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #73463, reply #12 of 14)

On those doors , when they are delivered ; a little packet comes with it. they usually contain little "peel and stick" wedges that are the same material as the weatrherstripping (Q-LON) . Make sure you install them. ... Makes a huge difference , believe it or not . make sure you pull back the "Q-LON" and stick it as close to the stop as possible. That's it ... If you still have the daylight, then check for the strike plate adjustment, but remember that you are dealing with "compression weatherstripping" , too tight = no good in the long run. If you still have day light , either the door ,or the frame is worped. Or your cross-sight is out.

(post #73463, reply #14 of 14)

Oh, for Pete sake.  I tossed them, but I know where they are.  Proof once again that real men "should" read instructions and not be ashamed to ask for directions!  I'll apply them before adjusting the strike plate.  Thanks for the tip.  I like this forum and will post questions again.  Very helpful.