The simple definition of a hinge is a movable joint mechanism that allows a section of a fence or wall, called a gate, to swing open, allowing access from one side to the other. Regardless of the gate or fencing used, there is a wide range of hinge types, styles and finishes available for almost any application. Understanding the hinge types can help you choose a hinge that's right for the design.
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Pivot or Double-Action Hinges
A pivot or double-action hinge is designed with an L-shaped lag bolt or strap with a vertical pin that secures to the gate post, and a strap carrying the gate that has a looped end that hinges on the pin of the post anchor. This is one of the oldest and simplest gate hinges available.
Strap hinges are essentially two identical metal straps that extend onto the surface of the gate and adjoining fencing and use a sealed pin at the pivot point. Strap hinges are a preferred hinge for an antique-look and offer some of the strongest support, working well for wider or heavier gates.
A T-hinge is essentially a strap hinge on the gate-mounted side and a shorter, vertical hinge leaf for the post. They work well for narrower gate posts or wall-mounted gates, and are available in a wide selection of rustic or antique finishes.
Spring hinges use an internal spring that is placed under tension as the gate is opened and closes the gate by releasing this tension. This type of hinge can be equipped with a single spring cylinder, called single-action, for gates that only swing in one direction to open and close, or a double spring cylinder, referred to as double-action, that allow the door to swing up to 180-degrees and closes the gate from either side of the opening.
Leaf or Butt Hinges
These hinges are very similar in design and appearance to standard residential door hinges, having two matching leaf plates and available with both fixed and removable hinge pins. Butt hinges can be surface-mounted or mortised into the gate and post, and work particularly well for metal-framed gates because the heavier metal leaf can be welded, as well as attached with screws.
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