Your commercial door isn’t closing properly, and it seems like the latch isn’t catching. This is a security issue for your business and may make using the door very inconvenient. What do you do? Calling a commercial door technician is a wise decision. But, if you’d like to try to fix the door yourself or just want to understand more about what could be going wrong with your business’s door, read on for a quick explanation of the possible problems.
Look at the Strike Plate
The most common cause of a commercial door that isn’t latching properly is that the latch and the strike plate are misaligned. The strike plate is the metal plate on the inside of the door frame. It surrounds a small gap in the frame where the latch is supposed to end up. Sometimes the strike plate was simply installed at the wrong height, so the hole isn’t where it needs to be in order to let the latch catch. If so, you should be able to see this visually. For some doors, the simple solution is to move the strike plate.
However, there are many other issues that might cause the strike plate to be misaligned with your hardware, and moving the strike plate may not resolve them. The potential issues include:
- There has been damage to the hardware that has moved the latch.
- The building is settling, shifting the door frame out of place.
- The hinges are loose or damaged, so they are not holding the door straight.
- There has been damage to the door frame or strike plate itself.
Some of these issues can be fixed by your door technician, and others will call for replacement of the hardware. A professional can tell you what you need.
Lubricate a Stuck Latch
What if the problem is not about alignment? Sometimes the latch isn’t popping out after you let go of the handle, meaning that it cannot catch in the strike plate. The issue here is that the latch is stuck. Sometimes, lubricating the latch with some WD-40 or a graphite spray is all the door needs to start working again—and you can try this fix yourself.
Other Latch Mechanism Issues
You lubricated the latch, and it didn’t work. What next? Something has gone wrong with the interior mechanisms which move the latch. For this issue, you’ll need to speak to a commercial door technician who can take a look at the workings of your hardware and diagnose the issue.
Should You Replace the Hardware or the Door?
If there is an internal problem with your latch, the odds are that you’ll need to replace the whole lock or handle. While you’re replacing your hardware, it might also be in your best interests to replace the door itself. Should you choose to?
- Damage: If there has been damage to the door itself from the hardware issue or the building shifting, you should replace the door.
- Age or condition: If the door is very old or was already in poor condition, it is wise to replace the door.