Selecting The Correct Hinge
An entry door, an interior door, a cabinet door, the lid to a toy box, the lid to the keyboard of a piano, a gate, a pair of basement doors and a casement window. These are just a few examples of the many elements in and around a home which function depends upon the use of hinges. When you stop to think of it, life would be a heck of a lot more complicated without this most convenient device.
Keep in mind that not all hinges are created equal. They are available in an assortment of sizes, styles and finishes for a whole host of applications. Thus, when shopping for a hinge, you’ll want to select the one that is best suited to do the job.
It’s no surprise that most hinges are reversible – that is that they can be used with either end mounted in an upright position. However, in the case of doors, some hinges are made specifically for either a right or a left-hand door and, thus, cannot be reversed.
Common butt hinges are most widely used for doors. They are available in both the rigid and loose pin type. In the case or a rigid butt hinge, the pin cannot be removed. Conversely, the hinge pin can be easily removed from the loose pin type by taping it out using a flat blade screwdriver. The single biggest advantage of a loose pin hinge is that it permits a door to be removed without unscrewing the hinges.
Another style of hinge is the lift joint butt hinge. It allows a door to be removed by simply lifting the door high enough to allow one section of the hinge to clear the pin on the other section. The loose joint hinge would be a good choice if the door is to be removed frequently.
Does the bottom of your door drag along the carpeting when you open it? If so, chances are you could use a set of rising butt hinges. They are designed to rise slightly as the door is opened – easily clearing that long shag carpet that should have been replaced years ago!
When decorative appearance is top of mind, a knuckle hinge may be just what the doctor ordered. It is a loose joint hinge that can carry a considerable amount of weight but is so designed that only the knuckle of the hinge shows when the door is closed. Another appearance-sensitive hinge is the flush hinge – used primarily for cabinet doors – the entire hinge can be concealed with the exception of the barrel. A semi-concealed hinge is a cross between decorative and concealed. This type of hinge is attached to the stile in front and bends around a rabbeted joint to be attached to the back of the door.
When decorative isn’t enough, there is always ornamental. Ornamental hinges are almost always reserved for use on cabinets and furniture. H and HL hinges are also often used where a rustic look is desired. Keep in mind that if this type of hinge is used, cabinet pulls should be of the same rustic theme to maintain continuity.
When it comes to a heavy-duty job, reach for the ball bearing hinges. Although they are a bit more expensive, they are permanently lubricated and can make even the heaviest doors a breeze to operate.
Some doors, such as the one from the house to the garage, are required to close automatically. When such is the case, a spring-loaded hinge is the answer. This variety of hinge contains a spring – the tension for which can be adjusted – to automatically close. This type of hinge is a cost-effective alternative the pricey self-closing mechanism alternative.
A couple hinge styles that most people are familiar with are strap hinges and piano hinges. The strap hinge is used primarily on rough projects such as a gate, toolbox or other such project. Just the opposite is true when it comes to the piano hinge. It is used on fine projects such as lids on chests, cabinets or any other place where a hinge or this type might prove superior to an ordinary hinge. Piano hinges are available in a variety of sizes, lengths and finishes.
Next time you’re in the hardware store or home center stop by the hinge aisle and test your hinge knowledge. You might just teach the clerk a thing or two.