Before you determine what type of hinge you need, you’ll want to take note of any other hardware in the room. Your hinges should match that material.
How Many Hinges?
You will want to have enough hinges to keep the cabinet door stable. The appropriate number of hinges is determined by the door height and weight.
- If your cabinet doors are less than 40" high and weigh less than 11 pounds, two hinges will be sufficient.
- For a cabinet door between 40" and 60" high and a weight of 12-20 pounds, use three hinges.
- Four hinges are recommended for doors 60"- 80" and 29-33 pounds.
- If your cabinet doors are 80" - 85" and weigh between 40 and 48 pounds, use five hinges.
Look at the how your cabinets are constructed. This will dictate what type of hinge you need to purchase. Frameless or European cabinets have flush or insert doors and concealed hinges. Hinges attach to the inside of the cabinet and the cabinet door directly. There are three types:
- Full overlay door, in which the door covers the entire cabinet end panel.
- Half overlay door, in which the cabinet door covers approximately half of the cabinet end panel.
- Inset door, in which the cabinet door is flush with the cabinet end panel.
Face-frame cabinets have a wooden insert on the face of the cabinet. Hinges attach to this frame and the cabinet door. There are three types of these as well:
- Flush door, in which the door is completely flush with the face of the cabinet.
- 3/8" inset door, in which the door overlays the frame and the hinge fits into a lip.
- Overlay door, in which the door completely overlays the frame.
There are two types of hinges. Mortise hinges are permanent and fit into a cutout in the door and frame. Non-mortise hinges are screwed onto the door and frame.
Select a Style
Now that you have determined material, quantity and cabinet construction, it is time to determine the hinge style. Keep in mind that some hinges will be right or left specific, so be sure to order the right type to match the direction of your cabinet doors.
Each hinge has four parts. There is a frame wing, which attaches to the frame, and a door wing, which attaches to the door. The knuckle connects the two wings and allows the pieces to move while the pin holds the hinge together.
In addition, hinges can be fully-concealed, so you cannot see the hinge from the outside of the cabinet, or semi-concealed, so that you can only see the knuckle of the hinge.
- European hinges are popular on full-overlay and insert doors and can be used on face-frame cabinets.
- Insert hinges should be used on a door that overlays a face-frame and has a cut out on the back edge.
- Offset hinges are designed for offset doors.
- T-Style hinges have a vertical piece that attaches to the door frame and a horizontal piece that attaches to the door.
- Overlay hinges are for face-frame cabinets where the doors completely overlay the frame.
- Partial wraparound hinges are for face-frame cabinets appropriate for flush, insert or overlay doors.
- H-Style hinges are for flush doors. They have one side to attach to the frame and one to the door.
- Butterfly hinges are designed for flush doors. Wings are mounted to the outside surface and can be more decorative than hidden hinges.
- Flush hinges are designed to be used with flush doors and can often be recessed or surface mounted.
- Knife hinges are inserted into a slot routed into a cabinet door.
After you have determined what hinge will work best with your cabinets, be sure to measure carefully to install. Consider purchasing a hinge drilling guide or enlist the help of a handyman.
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