How to Choose Overlay Hinges

Written by joseph mars
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How to Choose Overlay Hinges
A proper hinge ensures a door opens and shuts smoothly. (hinge image by musk from Fotolia.com)

Overlay hinges are found on cabinet doors and have a frame wing wrapping two sides of a cabinet frame, allowing a door to overlap the frame. There are four types of overlay hinges: full overlay, half overlay, 3/8-inch inset and full inset. Determining the proper hinge depends upon whether the cabinet has a frame.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

    Choosing an Overlay Hinge

  1. 1

    If your cabinet door has a frame, then three types of hinges can be used: full overlay, 3/8-inch inset or full inset. If your cabinet door has no frame, then the available hinges are frameless full overlay, frameless half overlay or frameless full inset.

  2. 2

    If your door is framed, open it and look at the top inside corner. If the door is fully overlapping and sitting on top of the frame, a full overlay hinge is needed. If the door is partly overlapping the frame, with the door snugly fitting into the face frame, a 3/8-inch hinge is required. If the door lines up directly with the face frame or connects to the face frame, a full inset hinge is the right choice.

  3. 3

    If your door is frameless, open it and look at the interior. If the door is totally overlapping the cabinet's edge, a frameless full overlay hinge is needed. If the door is partly overlapping the cabinet's edge, with space dividing the door between the cabinet's edge, a frameless half overlay hinge is required. If the cabinet is overlapping the door and its side is visible from the outside of the door, a frameless full inset hinge is necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Phone ahead or visit a hardware store's website beforehand to ensure that they have the right hinges in stock.
  • Inset hinges require recessing of the wood before they are placed into the cabinet's edge and attached to the door.
  • Determining the number of hinges for the door requires the height and weight of each door. More hinges are needed for taller, heavier doors.

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