Unhinged: Everything You Need to Know About Cabinet Hinges

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Few homeowners the Upper Valley ask about the hinges used on kitchen cabinetry even though every cabinet and door have a hinge.  Hinges serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.  The three most common types of hinges that are specified for new kitchens the Upper Valley are butt hinges, concealed hinges and surface mounted hinges.

To help make sense of different hinge options, there is some basic terminology to be familiar with to help assure you select the perfect hinges for your dream kitchen.

The leaf is the part of the hinge that extends out from the barrel and is screwed into the door and frame.

The pin is the rod running through the length of the barrel. High-end hinges are shipped assembled with the pins installed.

Leaf width is the dimension of the leaf from the center of the pin to the edge of the leaf.

Open hinge width is the overall dimension of the hinge when the two leaves are open flat.

The arm is associated almost exclusively with concealed hinges.  It is the part of the hinge that extends from the hinge and is attached to the inside of the cabinet.

The cup is the part of a concealed hinge that is attached to the door.

Barrel is the circular, hollow section at the center of the hinge that the pin runs through.

Knuckles are the joining parts of a hinge through which the pin passes through.

Butt hinges, also referred to as mortise hinges, are what most homeowners the Upper Valley associate with kitchen cabinets.  A butt hinge comprises two matching leaves of metal connected by a central pin and barrel system. One leaf of the butt hinge is mortised, or recessed into the door, while the other is attached to the cabinet frame. When properly installed, the two leaves of a butt hinge should sit flush against each other, which allows the door to sit perfectly flush with the frame. Most butt hinges specified for homeowners the Upper Valley are made of brass or stainless steel and can be finished to match the cabinet or other hardware in the kitchen.  Butt hinges can be enhanced with finials or decorative tips that allow homeowners the Upper Valley to put their own personality into their cabinet hardware.

Concealed hinges, as the name implies, are not visible when the door is closed and often are spring activated or provide a soft-close feature to the cabinet door.  Concealed hinges are often preferred by homeowners the Upper Valley because of the clean, modern look that they provide and ease of use.

A third popular cabinet hinge is a surface mount. This is a hinge where one leaf is attached to the face of the door and the other leaf attached to the face of the frame.  Neither side is mortised.  A half-surface mounted hinge has one leaf attached to the face of the door and the other is mortised into the edge of the frame.

What’s the right hinge for the cabinets in your dream kitchen?  That depends on the look, feel and functionality you desire.  To determine what’s best, give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit our showroom at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH.

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