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A screen door latch is a piece of hardware which is designed to keep a screen door closed. Many screen doors come equipped with latches, and hardware stores stock a variety of latch designs for people who want to change their latches, or install replacement latches on older screen doors. This piece of hardware is definitely vital for anyone who owns a screen door, as it prevents damage and obnoxious banging.
When a screen door is being used alone, as might be the case in the summer months to promote a flow of air while keeping bugs out, a screen door latch keeps the door secured so that it cannot swing open. This is good for the safety of pets and children who might otherwise wander, and for comfort, as it keeps insects out. The latch may also be able to lock. In other times of the year, when a screen door is used in combination with a solid door, the latch prevents the screen door from banging, which can cause damage to a house in addition to being irritating.
The simplest screen door latch simply a variation on the classic hook and eye design, with users operating the latch manually when they want to open or close the door. It is also possible to find magnetic latches which automatically keep the door closed when it is shut, along with variations on the child lock designs used to keep kitchen cabinets closed. These latches are convenient because they keep the door snugly shut, but they work automatically, so people cannot forget to latch the door on their way in or out.
Other screen door latches are embedded into door handles which are used to open and close the door. Typically, the handle has a push button which is pushed to open the latch, allowing someone to open the door, and when the door swings shut, the latch closes itself. These latches can be locked by turning a key so that the button cannot be depressed. This type of latch can be tricky to install, because it requires the installation of a strike plate for the latch to connect with.
If a screen door latch breaks, the quickest way to repair it is to take the pieces to a hardware store for matching, as the screen door is already equipped for that hardware. If replacement pieces cannot be found, another style of latch can be purchased, but it is a good idea to think about the design of the door and the doorframe to make sure that the hardware will be easy to install.