A Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Type of Cabinet Hinge

An essential part of cabinetmaking is selecting suitable materials and fixtures for the project. Selecting hinges for the cabinet door is an integral part as it gives the cabinet doors the support and movement needed to function.

A wide variety of sizes, lengths, and finishes of hinges to choose from for any furniture, whether it is used at home or work. The manner of installation and if it is plain or decorative hinges affect the look of the furniture.

From the design and quality, we will discuss selecting the right hinge from your furniture hinges manufacturer for any cabinet project by identifying the type of hinge, its pros, and cons.

Types of Cabinet Door

kitchen cabinet doors
Source: istock

Inset cabinet doors

The inset cabinet doors are designed to laying flush with the cabinet face, save space, and have a classy look. Inset doors usually have butt hinges, surface-mounted cabinet hinges, or H and HL hinges and strap hinges. The door sits flat in the face of the cabinet; it needs a door pull or knob to open.

Inset cabinet doors must have 3/16″ for one door; for two doors, deduct 9/32″ to fit the hinges between the door and cabinet. It is recommended for any living room and bedroom for its exquisite look.

Partial overlay cabinet doors

With the door and drawer, a half-inch overlay, partial overlay cabinet doors are used in kitchens and pantries. They are standard, traditional, or half overlay, which refers to the amount of frame visible on the cabinet. These doors usually have details or decorative edges to blend into the living space.

The overlay can be matched to specific hinges depending on the cabinet style and how wide it can swing. The hinges are installed at the edge of the frame, and the pivots are exposed, serving as additional accents.

Full-Overlay cabinet doors

Covering the full-face frame of the cabinet, full-overlay cabinet doors ensure minimal aesthetic gaps. The hinges pivots are visible on the side of the frame, and most full-overlay cabinet doors use the five-piece design for sturdiness.

The full-overlay cabinet door hinges are mounted at the face of the cabinet frame, which is easier to install and maximize space. Since there is no need for any complex measurements for clearance, the cabinet frame is the best reference for where to install hinges. Flat wood panels and five-piece doors are the best for this installation.

Face frame cabinet door

Known as the “American style,” they are constructed with a layer of trim around hence face frame. The face frame brings structural support and prevents warping over time. That sometimes has a center stile for stability and provides coverage when both doors are closed. The face frame can support any door, inset, or overlay type.

The solid face frame enables the concealment of the inner corners of the cabinet box, making the cabinet space a bit bigger. The face frame style also has a more formal or polished look in its finish compared to frameless.

Frameless cabinet doors

Frameless cabinet doors are attached directly to the cabinet box for simplicity and enable full cabinet access. The frameless cabinet door is installed directly to the cabinet box with the absence because there is no face frame. The frameless cabinet is a more minimalist and modern cabinet style and is seen in many homes and offices.

By eliminating the frame, the frameless cabinet design solely depends on the cabinet’s sturdiness and a thicker wood for structural support. A variety of door hinges can be applied in this setup, depending on the cabinet walls’ thickness. 

Common Types of Cabinet Hinges 

types of cabinet hinges
Source: Maxave

Soft Close Hinges

What are soft close hinges?

Soft close hinges provide a smooth and silent swing motion when closing to avoid slamming the cabinet doors.

Pros

  • Prevents impact when closing the cabinet
  • Making the cabinet last longer
  • It can be applied to classic and modern cabinet design


Cons

  • Expensive compared to regular hinges
  • It needs a professional to install
  • Requires precision to be installed correctly


Self Close Hinges

What are self closing hinges?

Self closing hinges contain a spring system that pulls the cabinet door back to the cabinet. This hinge aids in closing the cabinet doors with just a simple push.

Pros

  • Easy to close
  • Durable design
  • It avoids injuries like fingers being trapped when closing the cabinet


Cons

  •  Difficult to adjust
  • Requires frequent cleaning
  • Needs a broader clearance to operate that leaves gaps


Wrap Hinges 

What are Wrap Hinges?

Wrap hinges wrap around the door and frame, offering better support. They are commonly found in heavy doors and those that don’t have knobs.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable
  • Easy to install


Cons

  •  Visible when open
  •  Not for formal design aesthetic
  •  It may not be suitable for lightweight doors


Butt Hinges 

What are Butt Hinges?

One of the simplest hinge designs consists of two plates, and pivot butt hinges are the most common of all hinges. One plate is attached to the door, and the other plate is on the cabinet.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • A popular choice for many homeowners.


Cons

  • It is not suitable for heavy-duty use
  • Easy to break
  • Very plain design


Face Mount Hinges

What are Face Mount Hinges?

Face mount hinges are installed at the door to the face frame of the cabinet. Face-mounted hinges can be found in cabinets and other furniture.

Pros

  • Installation is a breeze
  • versatile type of hinge
  • It comes in a variety of materials


Cons 

  • Suitable for lightweight doors only
  • Not adjustable


Surface Mount Hinges

What are Surface Mount Hinges?

Surface mount hinges are installed at the surface of the cabinet or door. Surface mount hinges give a clean look to any furniture.

Pros

  • Straightforward installation
  • Neat aesthetic


Cons

  • Difficult to align
  • Does not have enough support


Strap Hinges

What are Strap Hinges?

Like a butt hinge, strap hinges consist of two plates and a rod or bar in the middle. The plats are mostly made of metal from steel to brass.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Versatile can be both for interior and exterior doors
  • Can be adjusted


Cons

  • Hard to mount
  • Visible when the cabinet is opened


Overlay Cabinet Hinge

What is an Overlay Cabinet Hinge?

Overlay hinges allow the door to cover the cabinet frame opening completely. It provides full motion for better access to the cabinet.

Pros

  • It comes in different sizes and designs
  • Permits full coverage of most openings
  • It gives a clean look
  • Fully adjustable


Cons

  • It may not be compatible with specific cabinet designs.


Concealed Cabinet Hinges

What is a concealed hinge?

Known as the European hinge, concealed hinges are generally used for cabinets. Referred to as the invisible hinge and is primarily famous in modern cabinet making.

Pros

  • Maximum of 180 degrees swing
  • Fully adjustable


Cons

  • Difficult to adjust in alignment and swing
  • Hard to uninstall for replacement


Corner Cabinet Hinges

What are Corner Cabinet Hinges?

This hinge is used to connect two panels at a right-angle orientation. It comes in flush-mounted and surface-mounted types.

Pros

  • It is well-suited for doors.
  • Comes in two types according to the cabinet design


Cons

  • Unstable support
  • Not for beginners


Demountable Hinges

What are Demountable Hinges?

Lift-off or detachable hinges are necessary for cabinets that need frequent cleaning for sanitary or maintenance. These hinges are built heavy-duty to withstand regular use.

Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Durable design


Cons

  • It needs a professional to install
  • Expensive to replace


Finishes of Cabinet Hinges

custom hinge surfaces
Source: Maxave

After selecting the type of hinge needed for the product, it is now time to select the finish of the hardware. The hardware’s finish influences the furniture’s style and protects against corrosion and scratches. You may choose from different finishes available in the market.

Hinges may come painted with a special coating that is scratch-proof and rust-resistant. One is ceramic paint that stood the test of time. However, this paint is applied in a process that includes primer and several coats. After the layers and layers of coat, the piece is baked in an oven for the ceramic to harden.

Plating is the most common and popular among cabinet makers, and it is an old technique that plates a specific metal with another type of metal to protect it from rust. Depending on the process of plating on how long the plating will last. It gives the hardware a classy accent to the cabinet that may compliment other hardware like knobs, handles, or decorative inlays in some high-end furniture.

Some of the most popular platings are chrome for their satin finish, suitable for office space. Brass is another metal that is easy to plate and gives the fixtures a yellowish-gold-like shine, which is excellent for display cases and ornate cabinets. Antique brass, however, gives a vintage look to furniture. On the other hand, Nickel is either polished like a shiny silver color or satin to mute the luster. The oil-rubbed bronze finish provides an antique look over time as the oil dries.

When making a cabinet, remember the best finish complimenting the finished furniture. The hardware must match the wood or plywood for homes and office space, whether wood-stained or painted. Finishes also act as rust protection to make the hinges last longer.

Selecting the finish is essential to protect the hinges and create the look for any furniture project. A different finish will give a significant change to the furniture. So it is imperative to supply the same finished fixture for uniformity of the piece of furniture.

Tips for Cabinet Hinge Installation

cabinet hinge installation
Source; Maxave

After choosing the hinges for the furniture project, the next step is installation. Properly installing hinges is vital to function well and last longer. When installing the hinges for beginners or homeowners DIY enthusiasts, you must consider the following.

Measure Twice, Drill Once.

Having the correct measurement ensures proper hinge installation. There are a variety of hinges and the manner they are installed. But remember to consider the hinges’ spacing and clearance for the hinges to move. It is essential in carpentry to always measure twice.

Cabinet and Cabinet Door Alignment

Making sure that the cabinet door is parallel to the cabinet face for proper hinge alignment is crucial to avoid the door being crooked and that the hinges can swing freely.

Marking screw locations

After figuring out where to place the hinges, mark where the position of the screw is needed. Marking where the hinge screws will be placed prevents misalignment.

Putting Pilot Holes

Making pilot holes before installing the hinges is a precaution to avoid splitting the wood. It is done by drilling a small hole before installing the screw, ensuring the wood will be intact when the hinge is installed.

Test fitting

Before tightening the hinges, it is good practice to test fit the hinges to ensure it is moving freely and the alignment of the door and cabinet is correct before tightening the screws.

Choose the Right Cabinet Hinges for Your Project

office cabinet hinge
Source: Maxave

Selecting cabinet hinges for a furniture project requires some design and a cost-effective decision that will make the project affordable but does not compromise the look and quality of the cabinet.

For individual projects

Individual projects have more attention to detail, with a specific design, materials, and dimension. Essential to any project that makes it possible to finish on time is the cost and availability of the materials and hardware needed must be determined for everything to be available and on the budget. When choosing the cabinet door hinges, depending on the door style and weight is crucial to select the door hinge that can support and swing open and close.  

For business

Buying bulk is the best option for businesses and professional cabinet makers that requires a significant stock of hardware not only limited to hinges. Going directly to the manufacturer to buy bulk cabinet hinges is highly recommended for professionals. Considering the cost, quality, and duration of the delivery ensures that the workshop or hardware store gets the best supply on time.

Conclusion

American type cabinet hinge
Source: Maxave

Cabinet door hinges have various selections for different styles of cabinet doors. Pairing the right hinge for the cabinet ensures good quality and exquisite style. Whether hidden from sight, exposed from the front, at the side, or detachable, hinges are necessary hardware for any cabinet door to provide protection and access to the cabinet’s contents.

For high-quality furniture hardware like cabinet hinges, make Maxave the brand you trust. With over a decade of experience, we lead the way for innovation in the furniture hardware of tomorrow. Maxave offers a comprehensive selection of durable and expertly crafted cabinet hinges. So hurry! Get in touch with our experts to assist with your furniture shop or hardware store order.

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