How To Adjust A Ball Catch On A Door (Step By Step)

When we purchased our home, all of the doors were hollow core and an orange oak color. The closet doors were all bi-fold doors, which aren’t my favorite because they can get off their tracks so easily. We upgraded every single interior door in our home and converted all of our bi-fold closet doors to French closet doors.

Master Bedroom Closet Before
Our new closets in our main bedroom

We’ve been here for almost five years and I still love all of the doors we chose for our home. However, the one thing that irks me with our closet doors is when they get “sticky.”

You know what I mean. When you’re shutting a French door and you have to push it with a little extra force to get it to close. That French door tension happens to us now and then and I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

How to adjust a ball catch on a door

Once I figured out how our French doors latch, I realized it was a SUPER EASY fix. Today, I want to walk you through how to adjust the ball catch on top of the door, in case you also have this issue in your home.

Our Doors & Matte Black Door Knobs

my best tips to paint interior doors

Before I get to my super simple DIY project, I want to share the details about our doors and door knobs since we love them so much.

For doors, I went with solid-core 3-panel flat shaker doors. These were an upgrade (about $190 a piece) and they make the entire home look much more high-end. They come with hinges and I went with black for those throughout the rest of the home.

My contractor ordered them through a local door company called Door Depot, so I don’t have the exact link, but if you look locally for “3-panel flat shaker style”, similar ones should pop up!

OUr door knobs

For door knobs, I ended up going with Schlage knobs…specifically the Bowery Knob with Greyson Trim (privacypassagedummy) in a matte black finish.

Since the doors have a lot of straight lines, I liked the idea of using both a round knob and a round trim plate. These also have a gorgeous matte black color which will be a classic look for decades to come! I also wanted a true matte black (not oil-rubbed bronze) and these fixtures were perfect.

My best tips to paint interior doors

All of the millwork and doors in our home are painted the color “Simply White”, by Benjamin Moore, in a semi-gloss finish. I prefer a semi-gloss sheen on doors because it’s durable and wipeable! I can easily clean up smudges and fingerprints from my kiddos.

The Components Of A Closet Door

A ball catch and strike plate at the top of a white closet door

Okay, now onto how to fix your sticky double doors. Grab a stepstool and climb up to take a look at the top of your door. You’ll see some hardware that is called a “ball catch” on your door and a steel strike plate on the door frame above.

The components of a ball catch system for a closet door

A ball catch is a small piece of hardware inserted into the top of an interior door. Ball catches are typically used on doors that do not have a standard door knob (where you can turn the handle). In our case, we have dummy door knobs on all of our double-closet doors.

The ball catch is a steel ball with a spring underneath which, when the door is closed, “catches” (hence, the name) into a small indent on the ball catch strike plate.

If your closet door is not opening or closing properly, then you’ll want to adjust this little metal piece.

If Your Door “Sticks” And Won’t Close

Needle nose pliers turning a ball catch counterclockwise on top of a closet door

Sometimes doors can get sticky and it can be tough to open and close them without force. In this case, grab some needle nose pliers to adjust the ball catch. You’ll spot two notches and you can place your pliers right there to easily adjust the ball catch.

Turn the pliers clockwise a few times to lower the entire ball catch. Check that the door now closes easily. You can adjust the ball height until it’s perfect.

If Your Door Won’t Stay Shut

Needle nose pliers adjusting a ball catch on the top of a closet door

Sometimes the ball catch is too low. In this case, your door won’t stay closed because there is no ball tension. For this, just do the opposite and turn the ball catch counter-clockwise to raise it.

Make sure that the door closes properly when you're adjusting the ball catch

Check that the door now closes properly.

Guys, that’s it! It’s as simple as moving that baby up or down to get a good fit.

How To Replace A Ball Catch – Simple Installation

A new door ball catch system and hardware

Now, sometimes the issue is with the ball catch itself. I was having some issues with one closet door in our main bedroom where the actual ball would sometimes fly out of the ball catch and roll on the ground! It scared me every single time and I’m lucky it didn’t bonk me in the head.

I did my best to try to get the ball back in and found some temporary fixes. However, I ended up replacing the entire mechanism with a new ball catch system. Luckily, this was super easy.

I bought this ball catch hardware online (also available at local hardware stores), removed my old one with a small screwdriver, and put the new one in. It was a five-minute fix and now it works perfectly.

Here’s a ball catch kit if you need to completely replace yours.

A Simple Home Repair!

how to fix a sticky door that won't close

My goal with The DIY Playbook is to give you the knowledge and confidence to fix these things around the house yourself. I know firsthand what it’s like living with these small annoyances and how frustrating it can be when everyday items need repair.

Hopefully, today you learned that most things are pretty easy to fix! You just have to know what you’re working with.

Your Home Playbook

how to change air filter

I’m so excited to announce my latest project, “Your Home Playbook.” It’s a digital download that will act as your home’s diary – a place to log important information, record maintenance tasks, and stay on top of your house repairs.

I’m working on the finishing touches and hope to have it ready to purchase in a few weeks! I cannot wait for you to see it (and use it!) around your own homes.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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