That is NOT how your sliding glass door is supposed to lock!!

There are things that well trained and practiced home inspectors can find on homes over and over.  Many times these are issues that relate to components that are or have worn out.  Water heaters are a great example because

there is not a whole lot you can do to prevent them from wearing out (short of changing the anode rod).Other things relate to the difficulty of proper installation.  Sliding glass doors for instance, many people that can read a level and drive a nail with a hammer can install a sliding glass door.  However getting the door to latch properly takes a higher level of patience and/or skill.

The wall plate must be in a precise position to allow the lock bolt to clear as the bolt is thrown.  If the wall plate
is too high, the bolt will come in contact with the wall plate and not open fully.  You have probably seen the sliding doors that you must open the lock partially while the door is open, then close the door, and finally close the latch.  While this does get the job accomplished it is not proper.
If the wall plate is too low the latch will not engage at all and the door can be opened with the lock fully engaged.  This is seen less often but is also not proper and a stick in the door should not be relied upon! 

The wall plate could also be in the wrong position side-to-side.  This is likely the cause of most of

the installation defects that I encounter.  If the position of the wall plate will not allow the bolt to clear properly and up and downadjustments do not improve the situation the plate may need to be shimmed to allow proper operation.
Once the wall plate is in the right spot to allow you to close the door, then throw the bolt and have the bolt engage it is time to install the 3” or better “security screws.” This is another item that I see missing over and over.  The long screws tie the whole door frame to the wood frame of the home.  This is much better than relying on the vinyl frame and provides a more stable lock. 

Hearing about contractors that state, “this is how the door is designed to lock,” is the worst and I must explain to my client’s that it is time to find a new contractor.

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Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

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