The 10 Types of Hinges Every DIYer Needs to Know

When it comes time to upgrade a front door, build new kitchen cabinets, or even fix a toy box, homeowners have a wide range of hinge styles to choose from.

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Strap Hinge

Strap hinges offer an attractive way to hang gates and very large doors, like those on a barn or similarly styled entrances. Constructed of all types of materials, from stainless steel to brass, they can be merely functional or elaborately decorative. Strap hinges are produced in heavy-duty, light-duty, and even purely ornamental varieties known as dummy strap hinges.

Butt Hinge

Butt hinges, or mortise hinges, are commonly found on residential doors. Generally used in sets of threes or fours, they are mortised into both the door and frame, and joined together with a pin that may or may not be removable.

Spring-Loaded Hinge

Need the door to shut automatically behind you? A spring-loaded hinge will do the job. These hinges can be configured to hold the hinge open or closed, with varying degrees of tension. Spring-loaded hinges are often required by code at entrances to pools or garages.

Concealed Hinge

Concealed hinges are most often used on cabinet and furniture doors. As the name suggests, they cannot be seen from the exterior of the cabinet. Concealed hinges can be self-closing and are generally fully adjustable in pitch and roll by means of two screws on each hinge.

Piano Hinge

Also known as a continuous hinge, the piano hinge gets its name from its original use on long piano lids. Piano hinges, however, are not just for pianos anymore. They are excellent anywhere a long hinge is needed, like on a storage bench or toy box.

Offset Hinge

An offset hinge allows you to widen a doorway easily and inexpensively. The hinge swings away and moves the door out of the opening, increasing the passage’s width by up to two inches in some cases. Those few inches are a big deal if you’re trying to create more comfortable access for a wheelchair or walker.

Overlay Hinge

Overlay hinges fold into themselves, reducing overall thickness. They are often used in kitchen cabinetry to make doors lie flush with the cabinet facing.

Hidden Barrel Hinge

A hidden, or concealed, barrel hinge is an outstanding choice for attaching lids to boxes. Just drill the proper size hole and insert the hinge. When the box is closed, the hinge is completely invisible from either side. 

Scissor Hinge

A scissor hinge can either lift up or drop down, and is used to control the opening of cabinet fronts as well as lids on things like cedar chests, hampers, tool chests, and radiator covers. The hinge opens and holds at a predetermined angle, requiring the application of pressure to close again.

Gate Hinge

For something with a high radial load, like a metal or wooden gate, a gate hinge may be in order. The hinge comprises an L-shaped bolt that inserts into a barrel that is attached to the gate. The bolt rotates in the barrel to swing the door open and closed.