How to make a door close easier?

We have an interior door that should always be kept closed. I installed a self-closing hinge, and when you let the door go it gently swings shut. Instead of latching, though, it hits the latch (not sure if that’s the right name, it’s the sloped bit that protrudes from the door and catches in the jamb’s door-hole) and gets stuck ajar. I added a second self-closing hinge, and now the door closes strongly but is still thwarted by the latch. The latch compresses a bit, starting to slide into the door, but then stops it from closing.

It’s not particularly strong compared to other doors in the house. I’ve hit it with both WD-40 and graphite, but nothing changed—it’s not sticking or stiff due to friction, it’s the spring that’s keeping it open.

Is there a way to get to the spring? Do they make basic, interior doorknobs that close easier than others? Should we just abandon the basement and nail the door shut?

I’d try a new doorknob. Ask the guy at Home Depot for the best one in your application.

Is it important to you that the door latches? If not, you might just consider taking the latch out. In fact, as long as your considering replacing the whole assembly anyways, I’d start with that. It’s be a good way to make sure it’s actually the latch and it’s not getting hung up on the jamb somewhere.
Take the knob and latch off. If it doesn’t close, it’s probably a problem with the door. If it does close, either put the knob back on without the latch or get a new latch/knob with a lighter spring.

That spring-loaded triangular part is called a latch bolt. It hits the strike plate and then goes into its hole there.

I assume you can close and latch the door by hand – that is, the latch bolt will go into its hole and stay there. If not, the strike plate and door are not aligned to each other – usually it makes more sense to work on the strike plate if this is the case. If it will latch, try greasing the strike plate where the latch bolt hits it. In some cases, filing a slope into the strike plate will help.

I’m sure you can get a latch assembly with a weaker spring, but I’d sure try the above items first.

The door leads to the basement steps. The Dudeling has just learned to walk. The Dudeling has just learned to pull doorknobs. You can see where this is going. Or rather, you can see where we don’t want it going.

There are doorknob covers and the like to keep him from opening it once it’s closed. But even though we’re careful and he’s always watched, we want to be sure that any time someone runs to the basement for an implement of destruction or a fluffy bunny, the door always ‘clicks’ shut.

With a slight push the door shuts and latches well enough. It didn’t a while ago (you had to pull up on it slightly), but a Dremmel made short work of expanding the latch-hole so it clicketty clacks without a problem. Just the spring inside the latch bolt (thanks!) is stronger than the umph the spring-hinges provide.

We did try greasing the strike plate. Okay, not greasing per se, more like soaping, but it didn’t have any affect (though it now has something of an affectation). Do I walk into Lowes and ask for their interior doorknob with the weakest latch bolt spring? Sounds like I’m asking to get a funny look. Is there a knob with an accessible spring that I can weaken myself? Should I skip Lowes all together and go to Bed Bath and Beyond and invest in enough pillows to line the staircase?

Look at the strike plate, what condition is it in. Are there groves from the latch striking it. Is the strike plate tight is the door frame? Is there an angle to the front edge of the strike plate?

If there is enough space tape the latch back and see how the door closes. If you can not tape it back remove it and check how the doo closes.

Another thing to try…The screws on the edge of the door. The ones above and below the bolt. Loosen them. Just a quarter of a turn or so. Sometimes that little bit of tension on the entire system makes a difference.
As far as what to get at your local big box hardware store.
Look for something for an interior door (closet). One that says “light duty” and probably the cheapest one you can find.
Beyond that you might think about investing in an actual door closer instead of spring hinges or (not to sound snarky) just getting in the habit of closing the door.

A door closer like the screen door/storm door variety I assume?

That’d be a pretty good idea as it would always close and it would provide a small amount of force to open it so that the Dudeling won’t get into too much trouble just yet.

Is this a locking basement door with a key lock? Those have a little beefier spring on them as they are an entry way door lock. As mentioned before, an interior door, one without a lock, will presume light duty. Like with a closet door.

That or something along the lines of this.
Something I just thought of though. If this is a really light weight hollow core door, part of the problem may just be that there’s not enough momentum for those spring hinges to push the latch in. Make sure if you do try a door closer the part on the door gets mounted near the edge so it’s in the wood frame of the door and not the panel (if it’s hollow).

The strike plate is a bit worn close to the bottom of the latch hole.

Everything is tight. Then I loosened everything, then tightened/snugged it back up, but the results are the same.

Taped it up, but it poked through the tape a bit. Went back and did a better job and the door closed fine but obviously didn’t latch.

We do make a habit of keeping it shut, but with a nanny, housekeeper, and (seasonal) gardener tramping up and down the stairs—not to mention the assorted less-than-mindful-of-instructions-in-laws and our own absentmindedness—we want to be able to relax a wee bit knowing that the door is clickity-clack shut just in case someone forgot.

We had something work years ago in another house. There it was to keep the dogs out of a room, but it shut and latched without a problem, all with the addition of a spring hinge.

This door is a regular basement interior door with no lock on it (what I’m seeing is called a “passage knob”). It sounds like trying a light duty interior door might be in order. I was hoping just the spring would be a replaceable part or accessible. Once I have a new knob here I’ll take out the old one and experiment a bit.

Unless the door latch requires the Hulk to engage then the door closing mechanism needs to be adjusted.

If you really want to be sure the door closes, you need an actual door closer, like the one Joey P linked to. These things are pretty easy to install and adjust.

The good commercial grade closers have two adjustments - the first one controls how quickly the door is swung from open to almost closed, and the second takes over when the door is almost closed and pulls it in to latch. They also cost a good bit more than $25. The cheap one probably just has one adjustment that you’ll need to play with to find a happy balance of closing and latching vs not slamming shut.

That is a clear indication of a misaligned door. The problem is on the other side of the door – where the door is attached to the wall by the hinges. Adjust them. Often just tighten the screws or replace them with longer ones. You need to make it true, so that the latch plate hole is exactly opposite the latch bolt.