How to install a concealed hinge on a cabinet door

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the most functional and attractive innovations in cabinet hardware is the advent of concealed door hinges. The dominant advantage, aside from being hidden from view, is that these hinges are much stronger than conventional screw-mounted hinges for face frame cabinetry and provide better support for any size door.These hinges install easily and they allow the cabinet door to be removed or adjusted with only a screwdriver.

Measure the vertical height of the opening where the door is to be installed and mark the centre point on the hinge side vertical face of the opening. For reference in this procedure, the horizontal wood pieces of the cabinet face frame are “rails” and the vertical pieces are “stiles.”

Mark the vertical centre line of the hinge side of the door at the outside edge with a light pencil line. This line will be used to align the door with the centre mark determined in Step 1 to layout the hinge locations.

Measure the hinge locations on the inside face of the cabinet face frame’s side stile by measuring two inches up from the bottom and down two inches from the top. Mark both of these locations and use a hand square to carry the marks horizontally across the inside edge of the stile.

Position the cabinet door to be installed perpendicular to the cabinet opening and align the centre line on the door, marked in Step 2, vertically on the centre line of the stile marked in Step 1.

Transcribe the top and bottom hinge location lines marked in Step 3 onto the door. Use a hand square to extend these lines approximately three inches onto the back (or inside face) of the door.

Align the centre line of the hinge layout template provided with the hinges with the hinge centre lines marked in Step 5. Use an awl to mark the centre point of the hinge mortise hole, designated on the template, at both hinge locations.

Rest the door face down on the drill press table and secure in place with clamps. Use the Forstner bit recommended in the manufacturer’s specifications for the hinge mortise, mounted in the drill press, to drill the hinge mortise holes in the back surface of the cabinet door at the centres marked in Step 5. Be certain to set the drill press to the correct depth recommended by the manufacturer’s specifications provided with the hinges to prevent damage to the exterior door surface. Use a piece of sandpaper to clean any splinters or chips from the mortise holes.

Insert the hinge assembly into the mortise holes drilled in Step 7. Use a hand square against the door’s top and bottom edges to insure the hinge screw holes are aligned parallel with the vertical edge of the door, then attach the hinges to the door with the two screws provided.

Extend the hinge arms of both hinges and position the door perpendicular to the opening, aligning the centre line on the door edge, marked in Step 2, with the centre line on the cabinet’s vertical stile marked in Step 1.

Mark the centre lines of both hinge arm mounting holes on the inside edge of the cabinet stile. Use a hand square to carry these marks horizontally across the inside edge of the stile.

Use an awl to mark the horizontal centre point of the hinge mounting hole lines marked in Step 10. Mount the upper and lower hinge mounting plates on the inside edge of the stile, centring the mounting screws in the holes marked with the awl. Use a electric drill with a 3/32-inch drill bit to drill a shallow pilot hole for each screw, then tighten the screws until the mounting plates fit securely against the wood.

Hold the cabinet door perpendicular to the opening , slide the hinge arms over the mounting plates and slide to where the ends are flush with the inside edge of the mounting plates. Secure in place with the hinge arm screws provided. Tighten until snug.

Close the door and check the door alignment with a level on the top and side edges to verify the door is plumb and level. To adjust the door height, loosen the mounting plate adjustment screws, adjust the door to the desired height, then retighten the screws. To adjust the side-to- side alignment of the door, loosen the adjustment screws on the hinge arms, align the door and then retighten the screws.


Use an electric drill and 3/32-inch bit to drill a pilot hole for all of the hinge screws to ease installation and prevent splitting of the cabinet face frame. Be careful to make all pencil marks on the cabinet face frame and the door only dark enough to see to allow easy erasure at the completion of this procedure. Drill a test mortise hole in a scrap piece of wood to verify the mortise depth and diameter, as well as the hinge fit in the mortise, prior to drilling the cabinet doors to insure proper size and fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • #3 pencil
  • Hand square
  • Hammer
  • Awl
  • Drill press
  • Forstner bit
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Electric drill
  • 3/32-inch drill bit
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Concealed mortised cabinet hinges
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About the Author

Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.