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How to Install Hinges For Doors, Gates, and Cabinets

You might not think much abouthinges, but they are important in shaping the functionality and look of doors, gates, and cabinets. In this detailed guide, we'll journey through the various hinge types and their specific purposes and offer clear installation instructions.

Tools Needed for Installing Hinges

2 chrome self-closing hinges on a black marble surface beside a small pile of screws

The following tools are needed when installing hinges:

  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Level

Surface Mounted Hinges

Rustic Wrought Iron Butterfly Hinge

Surface-mounted hinges are affixed directly to the surface of both the door and the frame. Unlike other hinge types that might be concealed or recessed, these are fully visible when the door is closed, often adding to the door's aesthetic appeal.

Types of Surface Mounted Hinges

Surface Mount Hinges: Traditionalsurface mount hinges are versatile and can be used for various applications, from kitchen cabinets to bedroom doors.

Flush Surface Mount Hinges: These are designed for doors that sit flush with the frame, ensuring a seamless look.Flush surface mount hinges are ideal for modern interiors with a desired sleek appearance.

Butterfly Hinges: Named for their decorative, butterfly-like shape,butterfly hinges are often used for vintage or antique-style furniture and doors. Their ornate design makes them as much a decorative piece as a functional one.

How to Install Surface Mounted Hinges

  1. Positioning: Set the hinge onto the door's surface and line it up correctly with the door and frame. For doors that need two hinges, the upper hinge typically sits 5 to 7 inches from the top, while the lower hinge is positioned 7 to 10 inches up from the bottom. Always consult the manufacturer's instructions for precise placement.
  1. Marking: Once satisfied with the hinge's position, mark the screw holes using a pencil. This will serve as a guide when drilling.
  1. Drilling: Carefully drill pilot holes where you've marked. These holes prevent the wood from splitting and ensure the screws fit snugly.
  1. Attachment: Align the hinge with the pilot holes and screw it into place. Ensure the screws are tight, but be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the hinge or the door.
  1. Testing: Test the door's movement once the hinge is securely attached. It should swing open and close smoothly without any resistance or squeaking. If there are any issues, check the hinge alignment and adjust as necessary.

Strap Hinges and T Hinges

Strap and T hinges are distinctive in their design, characterized by a long arm or "strap" that extends from the hinge's pivot point. This design offers robust support and adds a touch of rustic charm, making them popular for barn doors, gates, and vintage furniture.


Strap Hinges: These are long and narrow, resembling a strap. Their elongated design distributes the weight of the door or gate evenly, making them ideal for heavier applications.Strap hinges are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal as much as their strength.

T Hinges: Shaped like the letter 'T,' these hinges have one part attached to the door frame and the other to the door itself.T hinges are commonly used on shed doors, garden gates, and other outdoor applications due to their durability and resistance to wear and tear.

How to Install Strap Hinges and T Hinges

  1. Positioning: Lay the door or gate flat and decide on the hinge placement. For heavier doors or gates, it's advisable to use three hinges: one in the middle and the others near the top and bottom edges. Ensure the 'T' or strap is aligned correctly with the door's edge.
  1. Marking: Once you've determined the optimal position, mark the screw holes with a pencil. This ensures accurate drilling and a snug fit for the screws.
  1. Drilling: Drill pilot holes at the marked spots. These holes guide the screws and prevent potential damage to the wood.
  1. Attachment: Align the hinge with the pilot holes and begin screwing it in place. Ensure all screws are tight, but avoid overtightening, which could warp the hinge or wood.
  1. Testing: Test the door or gate's movement after installation. It should open and close smoothly. If there's any resistance, recheck the hinge alignment and adjust if necessary.

Spring-Loaded Hinges

Spring-loaded hinges are designed with an internal spring mechanism that allows doors to return to a predetermined position after being opened. This self-closing feature is convenient and enhances safety, especially in areas where doors need to remain closed to ensure security or energy efficiency.

Types of Spring-Loaded Hinges


Spring Hinges: These are versatile hinges suitable for various doors, from light residential interior doors to heavier exterior ones.Spring hinges are often used in commercial settings where doors must remain shut for safety or regulatory reasons.

Double-Acting Spring Hinges: As the name suggests,double-acting spring hinges allow doors to swing in both directions and then return to the closed position. They're commonly found in restaurants, kitchens, and saloon-style doors.

How to Install Spring-Loaded Hinges

  1. Positioning: Decide where the hinge should be placed on the door. The hinge's tension pin should face the top of the door for optimal performance.
  1. Marking: With the hinge in the desired position, mark the screw holes using a pencil. This ensures accurate placement and a secure fit.
  1. Drilling: Carefully drill pilot holes at the marked locations. These holes help guide the screws and prevent the wood from splitting.
  1. Attachment: Align the hinge with the pilot holes and secure it using the provided screws. Ensure the screws are snug but not overtightened.
  1. Tension Adjustment: Adjust the hinge's spring tension using the provided tension pin and wrench. Insert the tension pin into the desired hole on the hinge's adjustment ring. Turn the wrench to increase or decrease tension as needed. Always adjust both hinges equally if using more than one.
  1. Testing: To ensure smooth operation, open and close the door several times. The door should close securely and without resistance. If necessary, make further tension adjustments.

Special Function Hinges

Special function hinges are designed with specific purposes, often catering to unique door behaviors or providing particular clearances. These hinges go beyond the standard swing-open-and-shut mechanism, offering enhanced functionality tailored to specific needs.

Types of Special Function Hinges

Bright brass self closing hinge

Self-Closing Hinges: These hinges are equipped with a built-in mechanism that automatically closes the door after it's been opened. Commonly found in kitchen cabinets and gates,self-closing hinges ensure doors remain closed, especially in homes with young children or pets.

Offset Hinges: Designed to allow a door to swing clear of the frame or clear other obstructions,offset hinges are perfect for doors that need to open 180 degrees or those in tight spaces. They're often used in hospitals or on doors with thick frames or moldings.

How to Install Special Function Hinges

  1. Placement: Depending on the hinge type, determine the optimal placement. 
  • Self-closing hinges: ensure they're positioned to allow the door to close smoothly.
  • Offset hinges: measure the required clearance and choose the hinge size accordingly.
  1. Marking: Position the hinge against the door or frame, ensuring it's aligned correctly. Mark the screw holes with a pencil for accurate drilling.
  1. Drilling: Drill pilot holes at the marked spots to guide the screws and prevent potential wood damage.
  1. Attachment: Align the hinge with the pilot holes and secure it using the provided screws. Ensure a tight fit, but avoid overtightening.
  1. Testing: Test the door's functionality. 
  • Self-closing hinges: the door should close automatically after being opened. 
  • Offset hinges: the door should swing clear of the frame or obstructions.

Final Words

Now that you know what type of hinges you need for your project and how to install them, it’s time to buy!Shop Hinge Outlet today for all of your hinge needs.