Posted on: November 21st, 2018
This post covers everything you ever needed to know about door hinges, from the history behind them, the types available and how to fit them.
From a historical perspective, door hinges have been found in archaeological sites of periods as far back as 5500 A.D. In fact, crude mechanical devices of stone and wood, resembling hinges have been found in excavation sites dating before the Bronze Age.
In the Medieval times, hinges were most commonly made of wrought iron, which progressed to brass and steel in the Victorian era. At present door hinges are primarily made of stainless steel because of their superior corrosion resistance.
In essence door hinges are mechanical bearings that connect a door to its frame. However, not all types of hinges are suitable for every type of door.
Regardless of the metal or alloy used for manufacturing, currently there are twelve types of door hinges:-
1. Butt Hinges
These are the commonest type of hinges available because they have a wide range of use. From doors, both internal and external, to cupboards, casement windows etc. butt hinges are found practically everywhere.
Butt hinges are also known as Mortise hinges because of the need to mortise, or recess, the hinge in the wood before fixing them to the door and the door frame. Traditional butt hinges contain a shaft through the central spine connecting the two halves of the door hinge, but to increase the strength of the hinge, ball bearings can also be placed in the spine.
2. Security Butt Hinges
These are exclusively used when the hinge is placed externally, so as to prevent thieves from unscrewing the hinge and removing the door from its frame. In this type of a door hinge, when the door is closed, the two halves of the hinge interlock and prevent the door from opening even if the hinge pin is tampered with and removed.
This is another modification of the traditional butt hinge. In this configuration, the two halves of the door hinge rotate either clockwise or anti-clockwise along the central spine depending upon whether the door is a push-type or pull-type.
Furthermore, the door is lifted up from the floor when it is opened, which removes the need for a wide gap between the door and the floor, unlike traditional doors.
4. Continuous Hinge
These hinges are also known as Piano hinges because they were traditionally used to secure the top of grand pianos. They are usually one metre in length, but can be reduced in size depending on the need.
The extended length of the continuous hinge allows them to provide more support at the hinge joint. But they cannot withstand heavy forces, which is why they are usually used in light-weight doors.
5. Barrel Hinge
These hinges are called so because the central spine is made of two hollow cylindrical pivots. The pivots have rod-like extensions on them that is drilled and screwed into the door and the frame. They are used in places which sustain heavy foot-traffic because they are very sturdy.
6. Flag Hinge
These hinges are used for doors that rotate 360 degrees. Available in either right-handed or left-handed configuration, the hinges are very strong and can withstand heavy use. They are also made of corrosion resistant alloys because they are commonly used as external doors.
7. Concealed Hinge
This is a type of hinge most commonly used in kitchen cabinets and drawers in modular kitchens as they are not visible externally. The only requirement is a large (usually 35 mm) diameter hole in the wood for fixing the body of the hinge.
8. Tee Hinge
They are shaped like a tee, with a wide triangular part for the door and a thin, narrow and rectangular part for the frame. They are most commonly seen in timber sheds. But they offer very little security as they can be easily unscrewed.
9. Double Action Hinge
This type of hinge is called so because they can be opened in either direction. They are strong and sturdy and are good for heavy doors. They are most commonly used in the commercial set-up.
10. Butterfly Hinge
They are called so because of their design. In fact, butterfly hinges can be very pretty as the connecting halves are usually made in various intricate patterns. They are often used on light-weight doors, especially jewellery boxes.
11. Flush Hinge
These hinges do not require a recess to be cut into the wood of the door and the frame, unlike butt hinges. They are easy to fix, and are used on light-weight doors.
12. Friction Hinge
These hinges are placed on windows that are double glazed with uPVC. And have the advantage of not needing to be secured when open. The only problem is that manufacturers of these windows make them suitable for only certain types of friction hinges, thus making it a little difficult to replace the hinge.
See Infographic below for all the main types we stock
Butt hinges are the commonest hinges, therefore, the following step-by-step guide is for easy installation of these hinges on any door of your choice:-
1. Place the hinge plates on appropriate locations on the door and the door frame, and mark the outline with a pencil. Most light-weight doors require two hinges, one at the top and the other near the bottom. Heavy doors will require a third hinge midway between these two.
Tip: Make sure the hinge plates lines up exactly on the door and the frame.
2. Measure the thickness of the hinge plate and use a box-cutter to score the outline till the appropriate depth.
3. Remove the wood within the outline to create the recess. Smooth the floor of the recess for a better fit of the hinge plate.
4. Next, place the hinge plate in the recess and mark the location of the screws. Then drill these locations to create the pilot holes.
5. Use a screwdriver to fix the hinge plates to the door and the door frame.
Tip 1: Make sure the arm of the hinge is at 90 degrees to the door.
Tip 2: Do not adjust the screws unnecessarily because it may make it difficult to secure the screws.
6. Line up the door to the frame. Use some support for ease of installation. And then connect the two halves of the hinge before sliding in the shaft.
7. Test the door to see if it is working appropriately and oil the parts regularly.
Door hinges can last a lifetime if the right hinge is chosen for the job and fitted correctly.
At Absolute Hardware we have been supplying top quality door hinges of all types and sizes at unbeatable prices for over 50 years. We have a wealth of experience so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions before purchasing your hinges.
Please see our full range of door hinges here, or call our Sales Team 0121 728 9789.