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What It All Hinges On: Cabinet Hinge Options

by Jessica Santina

You probably never put much thought into your kitchen cabinet hinges, unless one broke or came loose. But whether you're refacing your kitchen cabinets or having custom kitchen cabinets made, you'll need to think carefully about the type of hinge you select. It could affect the look of your cabinets, and which features you can incorporate inside them.

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Framed or Frameless Cabinets?

First, determine whether your cabinet hinges attach to the cabinet box, or to a frame that fits around the front edges of the cabinet box. If there is a frame, you'll need a traditional, or exposed, hinge.

Included in this category are barrel hinges, which are fully exposed and self-closing, and knife hinges, which are partially or fully embedded in the frame. Traditional hinges typically open to a nice, full 180 degrees, allowing you to install drawers or certain other features.

Frameless cabinets generally take a European hinge, sometimes called a concealed hinge. These hinges aren't visible when the door is closed. Typically, these hinges only allow a door to open 110 degrees. The beauty of European hinges is that they are fully adjustable. By tightening and loosening the screws in combinations, you can adjust the doors to fit more tightly together or farther apart.

Other Hinge Considerations

Determine how much hinge you want showing. In some cases, nice hardware can be decorative. Take care to select a metal that complements your kitchen.

Also consider overlay, which is how your cabinet doors and faces meet. In some cases, the doors lay over top of the frame or cabinet edge; in others, the door has a cutout along its edge to accommodate where it meets the cabinet. Your overlay also determines the hinge type.

A cabinetry professional can direct you toward the hinge selection that best fits your kitchen cabinets.

About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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