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Door Hinge Buying Guide

 

 
 
Hinges are the hardware used to attach a door to its frame, and are the pivot point for opening and closing the door. Whether you are replacing an old door or hanging a new one, hinges are an important part of the structure. They may all look somewhat similar , but there are many types of hinges for various applications. Choosing the appropriate hinge is just as important as selecting your door's knob and lockset, and this handy guide will provide the information that you need to make the right selection.
 

Hinge Types for Doors

 
   Mortise/Butt Hinge  
  The most common type of hinge found in both residential and commercial applications. Contains two leaves joined by a removable metal pin, which serves as the pivot point. When the door is closed, the leaves "butt" together for a neat look.

Where to use?
Lightweight interior and exterior doors.
 
     
   Rising Mortise/Butt Hinge  
  A variance of the standard mortise hinge, the rising mortise hinge will cause the door to raise itself as it opens. This feature allows the door to clear thick or uneven flooring, such as carpet.

Where to use?
Interior and exterior doors.
 
     
   Ball Bearing Hinge  
  Contains permanently lubricated bearings, which allow for smooth and quiet operation. Long-lasting and durable due to minimal stress and friction.

Where to use?
Heavy doors, wide doors, exterior doors.
 
     
   Spring Hinge  
  Features springs that automatically pull the door back to its closed position after opening. Spring tension can sometimes be adjusted. Should be used in any application where a self-closing door is required.

Where to use?
Screen doors, garage entry doors, outward swinging doors.
 
     
   Double-Action Spring Hinge  
  Variety of the spring hinge which allows the door to swing open in both directions, then automatically pulls back to its closed position.

Where to use?
Kitchen & dining room doors, two-way swinging doors.
 
     
   Piano/Continuous Hinge  
  Distributes weight evenly across the length of the hinge, reducing stress and providing more support. Available in long, narrow lengths, often the full length of the door.

Where to use?
Shed & barn doors, fire doors, thin metal doors.
 
     
   Lift-Joint/Loose-Joint Hinge  
  Allows the door to be quickly and easily lifted off the hinges and removed without the use of tools. Removing allows for more space around the door when needed.

Where to use?
Doors with periodic high traffic, doors where large items are frequently moved through.
 
     
   Concealed Hinge  
  Completely invisible while the door is closed. Each end of this hinge is mortised into the edge of the door and jamb, allowing the hinge to only be visible while the door is open.

Where to use?
Lightweight interior and exterior doors.
 
     
   Strap/T Hinge  
  Consists of a long, narrow leaf that attaches the door, which pivots on either a pintle or second leaf attached to the door surround. Can be found in both ornate and simple basic styles.

Where to use?
Heavy doors, wooden gate entrances, barn & shed doors, garage doors.
 
     
   Swinging Door Hinge  
  Otherwise known as a café door hinge, or a butler hinge. Allows the door to open both ways. Rather than abruptly returning the door to its closed position, the hinge allows the door to gently swing back and forth to a close.

Where to use?
Small café-style doors.
 
     

Factors to Consider

 
  Hinge Material – Door hinges come in a variety of materials, the most common being stainless steel, brass, copper, bronze, cast iron, and pewter. Where the door is located may dictate the material that you need. For example, on an exterior door, you may opt for stainless for its corrosion-resistant qualities. Strap hinges are common in bronze or cast iron, as both materials are very rigid and suitable for large, heavy doors.

Hinge Finish and Design – While functionality takes priority, color and design are also important. Hinges are available in a broad range of finishes such as polished and antique brass, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, pewter, black, and rust. Equally, hinges are also available in many different designs. You will find that hinges come in many shapes and sizes, and some may even feature ornate patterns carved into the hinge's leaves and knuckles.

Door Width and Thickness – The size, thickness, and weight of the door will determine the size of hinge that should be used. Use the chart below as a guide to select the appropriate size for your door.

 
     
  Height of the Door –The number of hinges needed will depend on the height of your door. Standard 60" doors typically require three hinges, but anything taller than that may require more. The chart below will provide you with the number of hinges that are needed, based on the height of your door.

 
     

Installation Tips

 
  • The placement of the door's hinges is critical to ensure smooth operation. There should be a 5" distance between the top of the door and the highest hinge, and 10" from the bottom of the door to the lowest hinge. All hinges in between should be equally spaced from one another.

• Leave a small gap between the door's frame and the edge of the hinge's leaf. The gap should be anywhere beween 5/16" to 3/8", depending on door thickness and width of the hinge. Measure and mark appropriately before fastening the hinge to the frame. Too small of a gap will prevent the door from fully closing.

• Trace around the hinge on the edge of the door, and the door jamb, once a location is determined. This will give you a perfect template to make mortising, or chiseling, the wood much easier.

• Separate the hinge before installing. Install the jamb's leaf and the door's leaf individually, then hang the door by joining the hinges back together and reinserting the hinge pins. This is much easier than attempting to fasten the hinge to the door while holding the door up to the jamb.