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How to Cut Door Jamb for Strike Plate [6-Step Solution]

A poorly snipped door jamb can only lead to a poor strike plate installation. It impacts the compactness of the strike plate, rendering it troublesome to use.

How to cut door jamb for strike plate?

Draw horizontal and vertical lines on the door jamb to mark an estimated area for chiseling. Position the strike plate over the estimated drawing and align it accurately. Drill holes along the vertical lines. And chisel out a small hole for the strike plate. Secure the doorjamb with a fixing screw.

Not satisfied with the short answer? Let’s go through this detailed article on this topic. 

You’ll learn how to properly cut door jambs for strike plate installation.

How to Cut Door Jamb for Strike Plate?

Ensuring a perfectly cut door jamb is vital for a compact strike plate installation. Clipping off too deep can make the latch bolts struggle to lock. A less deep cut will make your strike plate stick out awkwardly.

So it’s very important to set the right balance when cutting off the door jamb. Here follow the 6 steps to cut your jamb for strike plate installation-

Step 1: Marking the Door Jamb

Your first action will be to figure out where the bolt contacts the jamb. A clever trick is to apply some toothpaste to the face of the latch.

Once you close the door, the toothpaste will leave a mark on the jamb. As simple as that!

Align the door with the door jamb. Get a pencil and mark at the door jamb where the latch bolt hits the jamb. Mark the two ends of the latch bolt on the door jamb.

Draw an estimated outline for the inner strike plate on the door jamb. This outline will be the area you’ll have to chisel. Draw the estimated position of the inner part of the strike plate. 

Step 2: Position the Strike Plate

Position the strike plate according to the drawing. Make sure the inner section of the strike plate is accurately aligned to the drawing.

Use masking tape to temporarily stick the strike plate to the door jamb. You can also use clips appropriate for the job.

Doors in residential housings need to be durable. That means the strike plate has to be able to withstand high day-to-day usage. 

If that’s what you’re looking for, check out these strike plates we recommended below-


These 1″ x 2 1/4″ would be the perfect fit for any residential door. They are designed to endure high-frequency usage and friction.

Step 3: Sketch the Outline

With the strike plate in place, draw an outline of the outer section of it. Use a charcoal pencil to make distinctive sketches of the outline. 

You can also use a utility knife to scribe the outline.

Step 4: Drill Holes in the Jamb

Drill holes along the vertical line of the inner plate. Your drilled hole should at least be as deep as the reach of the latch bolt.

Measure the length of the protruding portion of the latch bolt. Take a hole saw marked according to the measurement and drill a hole in the jamb. 

Your latch bolt will enter this hole when the door is closed. Try locking the door to check if the latch fits perfectly inside the newly drilled hole.

The latch might not line up with the strike plate if the screw hole gets eroded. In that case, moving the plate fill hole can fix the issue.

There might be one or two nail heads popping out of the scribed section. It’ll only come in the way of the drilling operation. Hammer the nails deep inside the jamb before drilling.

Step 5: Chisel Out the Door Jam

Chisel the outer area of the strike plate and make a deep hole. This is the mortise where the strike plate will sit tightly in.

You’ll be required to chisel the jamb according to the thickness of your strike plate. Choose the appropriate chisel for the thickness and scrape the marked area.

Step 6: Secure the Strike Plate

Drill the spot where the plates will be screwed in. Fit the security plate first in the recessed part of the door jamb. Screw the security plate tightly in place.

And now, install the strike plate over the security plate. Screw the strike plate tightly and you’re done!

Open and close the door a few times to check how the strike plate fits. You might have to do it again if you’re to expand the jamb for storm doors. Follow the same steps to cut your door jamb for the strike plate.

Additional Tips

A lot of small detail is overlooked oftentimes while installing strike plates. Skipping over them can negatively impact the end product. 

Keep a note of these few things while performing the operation:

  • Don’t assert too much pressure on the strike plate while screwing it in. It might crack from excess pressure. 
  • It’s best to practice scraping on scrape wood before you try out chiseling the jamb.
  • Picking the right chisel size is very important. Your depth of the cut will be highly impacted by it. So choose the appropriate chisel according to the thickness of the strike plate.
  • Remove any stuck drill bits from the jamb before securing the strike plate.


Question: When to replace a door frame?

Answer: You might need to replace your door frame if it faces rotting issues. High moisture can cause breaks and cracks from heavy usage. In that case, you should replace your door frame immediately.

Question: What is the cost of replacing a door jamb?

Answer: You might need to count a hefty fee of $360 for replacing your door jamb. The labor cost for this operation can average up to $7 per linear foot.

Question: Will lubricating the strike plate extend its lifetime?

Answer: Lubricating the strike plate will reduce the friction between the door and strike plate. This will reduce wear and tear of the strike plate as well as the door lock.

Final Words

That should cover everything you’ve to know about how to cut door jamb for strike plate.

Always wear protective equipment for handling power tools. It’s best to leave the task to a professional woodworker if you’re not confident.

That’s everything. Have a great day!