This morning I installed a new door latch and dead bolt on my front door. I used the same brand of door hardware, and all the pieces went into place. I even reused the existing latch mechanism because the new one would have required that I chisel out a new elongated mortise on the door edge. However, I did replace the corroded strike plate.
After everything was in place, I shut the door and found that the door latch would not engage the strike plate. That seemed very odd, since I had left the old latch in place. Then I looked closely at the old strike plate and found that the last installation had gone very badly. The workman (a former homeowner perhaps) had placed the strike plate too low. It appears he fixed the problem with a hammer and chisel—he banged away on the lower edge of the opening on the strike plate until the latch could slip in. This guy really should have called the man (to quote Sheriff Andy Taylor).
I tried putting the old strike plate back into service, but, alas, for some reason the door still will not latch. Short of replacing the entire door, how can I undo this little mess? By the way, the dead bolt works just fine, so I can at least secure my house.
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