Before the hinge decision can be made, we need to decide on how the door will fit the cabinet. There are three basic fits for a door; inset, overlay and half overlay.
- Inset doors are inset into the frame so they are flush with the face of the cabinet.
- Overlay doors are larger than the opening, and the entire thickness of the door can be seen when it is closed.
- Half over lays are a hybrid. They are sized like an overlay but the inside of the door has a groove (called a rabbet) so that only one half of the doors thickness is seen when the door is closed.
Each of these styles of doors requires a different hinge and that must be determined up front. You must also consider the face of the cabinet as well. Will it have a face frame, or will you go with a faceless cabinet where the door is fixed directly to the sides?
Hinges can be broken down into two major categories; butt and European. Butt hinges are what are on the doors in your house, two plates joined with a hinge pin. Not only are they available for all of the door styles, some their options include:
- Different widths (for stock thicknesses) & lengths
- Assorted materials and colors.
- The tips can be balls, urns (more decorative), simple caps or nothing at all.
- They may include spring mechanisms to close the door, although generally they don’t.
European hinges are completely different their features include:
- A range of openings, from 90 up to 175 degrees.
- They are generally self-closing.
- They allow for two or three way adjustments that butt hinges don’t.
- The hinge is hidden when the door is closed.
So now you know that there are more to hinges than you thought. A lot goes into choosing the correct hinge. Style, color, door & cabinet design all must be taken into consideration. And don’t forget, if you buy a cheap hinge, you’ll get cheap results in the long run.