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Old 01-07-2009, 09:38 AM   #1
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


We had a new back door installed in October, since it was off of the sun room and the old door was original, we had to get a custom door and they rebuilt the door frame from scratch. We also had them install a new door knob and dead bolt. Everything was fine until it got really cold around here (early to mid December). Now the deadbolt doesn't work when the door is closed.

If the door is open, the deadbolt will turn completely and functions as it is. The installer is coming back out to inspect what is wrong.

My questions are as follows:
- any guesses on what caused this? we checked to make sure the deadbolt is still aligned with the strike plate and hole in the frame and it appears it's still good
- when they installed the new dead bolt they found the screws had been stripped during shipping (this is what the installer said, I was not present when it was installed so I did not get to inspect it myself). He said he got it installed fine but it would be difficult to remove it and reinstall it. Should I go purchase another deadbolt in case this has caused any issues?

Thanks!

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Old 01-07-2009, 09:51 AM   #2
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


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Originally Posted by jkrodger View Post
when they installed the new dead bolt they found the screws had been stripped during shipping (this is what the installer said, I was not present when it was installed so I did not get to inspect it myself). He said he got it installed fine but it would be difficult to remove it and reinstall it.
'stripped during shipping' sounds like it really meant stripped during installation?

Every door in my house opens and closes differently from June to January. I use lipstick to troubleshoot the problem. Is there any play at all in the dead bolt when the door is shut? If you can wiggle it a little-bit try extending the deadbolt when the door is open and apply a liberal amount of lipstick to the round end and it's edge. Close the door and then work the lock as much as possible - wiggle-it. Then open the door and look where on the door frame the lipstick left a mark. This will let you see if the dead bolt is really lining up with the strike plate.

I would guess you will find from your lipstick investigation that the seasonal change to the frame moved the strike plate out of alignment.

Two DIY solutions and one Installer solutions:
DIY - move the strike plate to the proper location
DIY - enlarge the strike plate opening slightly to accommodate the seasonal change - clearly this will make the lock less 'tight'

Installer - Give a detailed explanation as to how screws get 'stripped during shipping' then fix the bloody door so it works year round.

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Old 01-07-2009, 10:36 AM   #3
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


Door knob packages are sealed, so no little elves (they are around here this time of year) would have had the chance to strip these screws during shipping. BUT.. the installer had a good opportunity to demonstrate why he was so cheap. Replace the deadbolt if the bolts are striped.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:36 AM   #4
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


You might also want to check the hinge side of the door and frame for debris especially low down at the threshold. I had snow/ice in mine last week and it kept blowing open and no one could lock the deadbolt either. The snow had elevated the door just enough that the locks would not engage.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:41 AM   #5
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


I would think the deadbolt is hitting the strike plate. The lipstick method is a good idea. You can enlarge the strike plate hole with a dremel or a small file. I don't think I would move the strike plate unless it was absolutely necessary.

I'd have to throw the BS card to the guys "stripped during shipping" comment.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:33 AM   #6
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


By stripped, he probably means the screw heads. Have him replace the screws. On a deadbolt that is new, there is never a reason to strip them. It is his fault.

Is the door painted on ALL SIX (6) sides? If not, it took on some moisture or lost some and has either expanded, shrunk or warped. It has also voided the warranty from the door manufacturer.

Deadbolts are NOT designed to fit "TIGHT", just fully extended. It probably is rubbing, so you need to relocate it or enlarge the hole. Before this, be sure to check that the door hasn't sagged. IF it did, then jack the door and install some 3" inch screws under the hinges back into the trimmer.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:58 PM   #7
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


Be sure that the hole in the jamb is bored deep enough to accomodate the bolt when it is extended. And be sure that the strikeplate for the knob is set properly. If the knob isn't latching correctly, it will throw the door out of position so that the deadbolt won't line up with it's strike.
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:19 PM   #8
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


wow, thanks for all the responses! A couple of things I should have mentioned in my original post.

1) the dead bolt has a tiny bit of wiggle room, I just did the lipstick test, looks like it's hitting the bottom of the strike plate, the guy's busted

2) I bought the door hardware online so I'm not sure if he'll be willing to fix that, can I buy the replacement screws at a HD or Lowes?

3) about the door being painted - it's a steel door (apparently you can get fiberglass doors custom?) and came primed, we also put two coats of exterior oil-based paint on the outside of the door and on the sides. The inside part is painted with two layers of interior on the inside.
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:55 PM   #9
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


Just take a file or dremel and make the hole in the strike plate a little longer. You can do that without removing it.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:38 AM   #10
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


Sounds like the door sagged. Is there a gap at the head jamb at the strike side? IF so, do the screw idea I suggested first before enlarging hole. It may keep moving and eventually the door will rub on the strike jamb or bind on the hinge jamb at the bottom.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:33 PM   #11
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


ok, my husband corrected me, the screws are stripped because apparently the deadbolt screw holes weren't threaded and that's what the installer said happens a lot.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:39 PM   #12
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


That installer does not have enough experience to know if anything happens a lot. Except maybe the job not working correctly when he is done. Things like this do not happen. Unless you bought a $1.50 lock set.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:14 AM   #13
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Problems with dead bolt in new door


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That installer does not have enough experience to know if anything happens a lot. Except maybe the job not working correctly when he is done. Things like this do not happen. Unless you bought a $1.50 lock set.

Nope, I don't remember how much it was, but I know it's one of those nice lever handle ones and we bought a set for the front door and all the interior doors and haven't had problems with any of those. Anyways, I contacted the seller I got them from and he's gonna send a replacement anyways.

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