February 27, 2023

How to install strike plate on door frame

To install the strike plate on your door frame, mark the strike plate location where the lock bolt hits the jamb, drive nail heads in the scribed area using a nail set and drill a hole on the cross mark. Make the mortise for the strike plate using the chisel and screw the strike plate in place. Use screws to secure the door and prevent it from swinging open. This article will give you more tips on installing the strike plate.

Determine the type of strike plate needed

Different strike plates have benefits and downsides depending on your specific needs. To determine which type is best for you, look at the pros and cons of each strike plate. To figure out the size of the door latch, consider the size of your door and the place where the latch is installed. To find your perfect door latch size, measure the case and backset sizes (Handlestes.com).

Go with a sturdier latch that can stand up to some moderate pushing from the other side of the door. Regardless of which type you go with, make sure to take your time installing so that you do not have to re-position the latch with unsightly screw holes.

To determine what size strike you will need, measure from the center of the screw holes on the prepared jamb to the edge of the trim and then add ¼”. If your trim measures 1-1/2” from the center of where the screw holes are, order a 1-3/4” extended strike.

Consult the manufacturer’s specifications if you cannot measure the existing latch and holes in the door frame. The strike plate reinforces the door frame around the latch hole. It gives a correctly-sized hole for the latch and a lip to help guide the latch to the latch hole. It also keeps the bolt from trashing your doorframe.

Gather the necessary tools and materials

Safety glasses or goggles

Safety wear keeps you out of accidents and mistakes. You have to protect your eyes, ears, and body. The particles released when drilling will get into your eyes, and the noise from the drill may affect your ears.

Utility knife

You can use the utility knife to remove the excess shims so your strike plate properly fits the frame. Score the shim with your blade where it meets the frame. Bend it at the line so the extra section snaps off. Use the knife with a grip to prevent hand slippage. To remove the old strike plate, use a knife to pry it from the door frame.


When fixing the strike plate, you need a hammer, a box nail, a fat nail punch, and a small wood. Any hammer will do. Use a hammer to knock out the strike plate. 

Nail set

A nail set gives you more leverage.


The drill has to be compatible with a 7/8-inch or 1-inch bit. Use the 7/8-inch spade bit to drill two partially overlapping 5/8-inch-deep holes, centered above and below the midpoint. Square up the sides of the mortise with a chisel, if necessary.

Screwdriver and screws

Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry up any nails stuck in place.

Install the strike plate

  1. Mark the strike plate location where the lock bolt hits the jamb. Make a cross mark 11/16 inch in from the edge of the jamb for interior doors or 7/8 inch for exterior doors. Center the strike plate on this mark, and screw it in place. Do not make the screw tight. Use the utility knife to scribe a line around the strike plate. Remove the plate.
  2. Use a nail set to drive nail heads in the scribed area. Drive them deep enough that they will not be hit by the drill bit or the chisel.
  3. Drill a hole on your cross mark through the jamb. Make the hole as deep as the length of the door lock’s bolt. Drill a hole in the jamb to accept the door lock bolt. Make a deep mortise in the door jamb to accept the strike plate.
  4. Make the mortise for the strike plate using the chisel. Make straight cuts on your scribed line perpendicular to the jamb, and inside your scribed lines, make multiple cuts about 1/4 inch apart. They should be equal in depth to the thickness of the strike plate. Use a scraping motion to remove the material from inside the scribe lines.
  5. Screw the strike plate in place.

Test the latch

Test the latch after installing the strike plate to ensure it is functioning and aligning with the strike plate. Sometimes a strike plate is not well-installed correctly. Small foundation shifts can make it slightly misaligned. You may also notice wear on your strike plate, hinting whether the latch sits too high or too low.

Use a lipstick test to help you diagnose the issue if you are having trouble. Get an affordable tube of lipstick, mark your latch, and then attach the masking tape to your strike plate. When you shut the door, the lipstick will mark where the latch meets the strike plate so you can determine whether it is too high or too low.

When doors fail to close, sometimes it is because the striker latch on the door does not fit into the striker plate on the jamb. There is a small metal plunger on the side of the door that should fit precisely into the hole on the metal plate. If it misses it by an inch or less, the door will not shut. If you force it shut, it sticks or binds. Some parts on the door or the jamb might have loosened enough to throw off the alignment.

Push the door shut. Listen for the click when the striker enters the hole on the jamb. If you do not hear or feel the door shut tight, force the door by pushing on it more firmly. If it shuts when you force it, the striker stops before it enters the plate.

Open and close the door. If it will not shut, or it shuts too tight and binds, colors the striker latch, checks the marks and continues filing until the latch pops into the plate and is snug. It should not be too tight.


In conclusion, follow the steps above to install a strike plate for the security and function of your door. Make sure the strike plate is secured tightly with screws. Test the strike plate before use to avoid mistakes made. Collect all tools needed before you start the process. The strike plate needed is based on the type of latch and the door frame. If you have grasped all the necessary, you may as well get started.

David D. Hughes

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