10 Most Common Questions about Kitchen Cabinet Hinges

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When you think about replacing your kitchen cabinet hinges; your first thought may be “No problem, I will head over to my local hardware store and replace the hinge.” However, along the way, you may be faced with a broad range of questions you may not know the answer to.

In this blog, we will explore 10 of the most common questions that may come up when replacing your kitchen hardware hinge. A go-to guide, so you can feel more confident when you go to fix your aged cabinet hinges. 

Questions to consider before visiting your local hardware store:

1. What brand is my hinge and how do I find that out?

2. What are the most common brands of hinges?

3. What is the difference between a Full-Overlay, Half-Overlay and an Inset hinge?

4. What is a mounting hinge plate and do I need to replace it?

5. What are soft-close, self-closing and free-swing hinges and how can I tell the difference?

6. What are screw-on, knock-in (with Dowel) and Toolless hinges? And how can I tell the difference?

7. What is the opening angle of your cabinet hinge? Is it a 45-degree cabinet hinge? A 110-degree hinge?

8. What are the standard hinges for a Lazy Susan kitchen corner cabinet? 

9. What is the standard hinge for a Blind Corner kitchen cabinet?

10. Where can you find your specific type of kitchen cabinet hinge?

1. What brand is my hinge and how do I find that out?

Typically, the brand of any hinge can be found on the arm towards the top portion. Sometimes, if not found here you can also find it inside the hinge cup. If a brand is not found on your hinge; this usually means it is an older brand or a local brand, so it has not been labelled. In this case, you may need to replace both the hinges on the cabinet along the plates with a brand that matches the drilling pattern of your hinge configuration. You can refer to Question 2, for more information on the different brands available.

2. What are the most common brands of hinges?

Kitchen cabinet hinges have a large selection of European-style brands to pick from. The following is a list of major branded standard hinges: DTC, Blum, Salice, Ferrari, and Hettich. For help on where to find these particular brands refer to Question 10.

3. What is the difference between a Full-Overlay, Half-Overlay and an inset hinge?

A full-overlay hinge normally is used on the last cabinet door on either side of a row of cabinets; this is because the hinge allows for the door to sit fully on the cabinet frame. Also, you can find them on single cabinets where full-overlay hinges are used, which allows the door to fully cover the face frame of the cabinet case. Below is a beautiful image to demonstrate the function of a full-overlay hinge.

Source: Nesting with Grace
Source: Nesting with Grace

Unlike a full-overlay hinge which is used on the last cabinet doors in a row of cabinets, the purpose of a half-overlay is for the centre cabinet doors that require to share a cabinet frame and therefore, require a half-overlay hinge to offset the door to only sit on half the face of the cabinet frame. Therefore, half-overlay hinges allow cabinets that sit in between a row of cabinets to share the same frame. Below is an image to demonstrate the difference in function.

Source: Caroline on Design

Now, an inset hinge takes it one step further than a half-overlay hinge; Inset hinges allow a cabinet door to sit flush with the frame of the cabinet. Below is an image demonstrating the function of an inset hinge.

SOURCE: Jane at Home

Source: Jane at Home

4. What is a mounting hinge plate and do I need to replace it?

Mounting plates are the second part of the hinge hardware that is screwed onto the inside of your cabinet and clips together with your hinge. The function that the mounting plate serves is to connect your door to your cabinet with the hinge, as well as to add small adjustments to the door alignment so it can sit properly on your cabinet frame. There are two main types of plates: face frame mounting plates and standard mounting plates.  All plates are available in different thicknesses such as 0mm (standard), 3mm and 9mm. When choosing your plate a good rule of thumb is to check your cabinet case material thickness; a ¾-inch thickness would require a 0mm standard plate height and a ⅝-inch thickness material would require a 3mm high mounting plate. Moving forward, you can adjust where your doors will sit on your cabinet frame by adjusting it just slightly horizontally, vertically and in-depth by simply tweaking the cam adjustments on your plate. Generally, if you are replacing a hinge with the same brand you can keep the plate already installed on your cabinets. However, if you are replacing the hinge with a completely different brand; let's say, you can’t find the exact hinge anywhere, in this case, you will need to replace all the hinges and plates on the entire door.

5. What are soft-close, self-closing and free-swinging hinges and how can I tell the difference?

There are three standard types of closing mechanisms for cabinet hinges. The type you decide to use in your kitchen is generally based on your preference and budget, self-closing tends to be a more economical option, although there is a sacrifice in ease of use. The soft-close is the most modern and popular type of closing mechanism available today, this is due to its hydraulic mechanism that allows a soft, gliding-door closing motion and minimizes the door and hardware from smashing and banging damage over the years. Although soft-closing hinges have become quite popular today, many older homes carry self-closing and free-swing hinges. It is expected that many homeowners find themselves having to replace these styles of hinges because they give out and break or simply because they are interested in upgrading their kitchen cabinet hinges with the soft-close mechanism. Whether you wish to just replace or upgrade, just know that you can request your style of the hinge with any type of closing mechanism you wish. Just remember if you are replacing a self-closing or a free-swing hinge with a soft-close you will need to replace both hinges on your door.

6. What are Screw-on, Knock-in (with Dowel) and Toolless hinges?

What mounting type you are selecting depends on whether you are replacing or selecting hinges for new kitchen cabinets. If you are replacing your kitchen cabinet hinges there are two questions to consider: are you replacing your hinge because the hinge itself has broken, or are you replacing your hinge because your hinge and screws are hanging loose on your cabinet? If you are replacing your hinge because the hinge itself has broken then normally it's a good idea to stick with the original mounting style. However, if you’re replacing it because it is hanging loose then it’s best to switch to a Knock-in (with dowel) hinge. This will provide extra support because the dowels will expand into the holes of your cabinet. You will want to add wood glue into your pre-drilled holes and allow it to sit overnight and harden. Afterwards, you will need to drill a hole a size smaller than your screw size. After this step, you can go ahead and knock in your dowel hinge and it should help it fit snugly again. You can also follow this step for your plates if you are finding them to be loose at the screw. Also, choosing your mounting style can be a personal preference. Homeowners may want a simple toolless approach and this is where the toolless hinge comes in handy because the clip-on mechanism allows for the dowel to retract and expand into your pre-drilled holes allowing for a simple inserting and removal of your hinge without the use of a drill. Lastly, your screw-on hinge is your best option for pricing because you get both your appropriate screws and hinge in one.

7. What is the opening angle of my hinge? Is it a 45-degree cabinet hinge? A 110-degree hinge? Or is it a 135, 155, 165 or 170-degree hinge? The list goes on. 

Now, going back to your high-school days of protractors, math class, geometry, Pythagorean’s Theorem and other “lovely” things; these are the things you’ll need for figuring out the angle of the hinge you need…just kidding. It seems complicated, but it’s not. Opening angles are important to consider when understanding the function of your hinge. The opening angle refers to the specific angle your door will provide after opening. Starting with a 45-degree cabinet hinge, it is an ideal hinge for corner cabinets. The larger your angle the wider your opening; for example pie-corner cabinets or Lazy Susan’s usually combine the 155-degree /165-degree  (depending on the brand you are using) with a 135-degree hinge for the wider opening angle of the door. Refer to question 8 for more information on Lazy-Susan hinges. Here is an amazing link to a video that demonstrates opening angles perfectly. https://hnmo.ca/6708a4

8. What are the standard hinges for a Lazy Susan kitchen corner cabinet?

Lazy Susan corner cabinets, or pie-corner cabinets, usually require two styles of hinges. The first type of hinge requires a wider opening angle of 155 degrees to 170 degrees (depending on the brand you are using) and it is used to connect the first door to the cabinet. The second style of hinge requires a smaller opening angle of 135°; this hinge is also known as a pie-corner hinge and it is used to connect the first door to the second door. Below is an amazing representation of the hinges on the corner cabinet.

SOURCE: Diamond

SOURCE: Diamond

9. What is a blind corner cabinet and what is the standard hinge for it?

Blind corner hinges are used for cabinets that are twice the depth of a regular cabinet and are hidden by an adjacent cabinet; therefore, the cabinet requires a blind corner hinge with the correct opening angle to prevent it from slamming into the adjacent cabinet. Refer to question 7 for more on opening angles. Below is an image of a blind corner cabinet.

SOURCE: Thomasville Cabinetry

10. Where can I find my kitchen cabinet hinge?

You can find hinges at your local kitchen hardware store; however, you may find that only a very specific style is sold. Here at Handles & More, we strive to carry the hinges you need to refit, replace and fix the hinges found in your kitchen! To shop for hinges on our website there is a great filtering process, allowing you to narrow down your search by brand, closing mechanism, application and opening angle. Alternatively, for other brands such as Hettich and Ferrari, you can directly contact them and find their local dealer nearest to you.

Feel Confident In Your Purchase!

With all the questions covered in this blog, we hope you now feel confident when shopping for your kitchen cabinet hinges in the near future. Handles & More is a top provider of all hinge styles on the market and we look forward to helping you out with any future questions on your kitchen hardware hinges.


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